I’m deliberately being controversial today but recently there has been a great deal of talk about girls and how quickly they are growing up. As a mum of 3 young girls I always listen to these things with great interest although not always agreement.
I was saddened to read an article recently on why we should not be describing young girls as ‘beautiful’ and instead calling them smart, intelligent, funny even. It got me to thinking about beauty and what it really means.
Personality and friendliness, happiness and your whole outlook on life can shine through in your attitude and be more attractive and beautiful to others than any face lift, or classic prettiness. I found this anonymous quote which sums up my beliefs (they may not be yours) about beauty, which says simply, ‘Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.’
I take on board the seriousness of the pressure on us all in society to conform to a norm of appearance and I recognise the damage that airbrushed pictures, skinny models and unhealthy Hollywood diets are doing. I worry that my girls will succumb to the pressure to diet and I hear the warnings about teenage anorexia and bulimia, but we mustn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
When I hear the cry of women battling with their weight I often hear them say, ‘I just don’t feel attractive’. We can’t stop the need to feel attractive, the desire to look in the mirror and like ourselves and by not mentioning it we simply make it the elephant in the room.
To make a change and to support our young girls and women we need to change the definition of beauty to include curves and natural beauty. The radiant glow of healthy skins, the sparkle in the eye of animation when we talk about issues we care about and a caring, positive and interesting personality that we have developed through education and reading.
Of course we should also be valuing our young women for their intelligence and achievements but we have to be realistic. To me beauty and intelligence go hand in hand – beauty is not only about what is on the surface but the whole person. I hope too that my girls will light up a room as they enter it, just by the confidence they have and their personalities.
As with everything in our children’s lives, we cannot protect them for ever. Just as we must let them go to friends alone, use the internet under supervision and scrape their knees we have to allow them to wear nice clothes, experiment with make up and wear their hair in sparkly bobbles. It’s all about balance.
And as those girls grow into women like us we must remember that we are not defined by our looks, clothes or weight. We are beautiful women because of who we are, because of what we believe in and because of our own self belief.
To read the article that sparked this post click here and to tell me your thoughts please comment in the box below.