Bonding Over Beauty Isn’t So Pretty

Do you bond with your girl over beauty and the process to achieve it?

Shouldn’t we be bonding with our girls over applying Band Aids to skinned knees, wiping dirt or finger paint off faces, fixing lopsided pigtails messed from running around all day, unhooking a dress caught in the branches mid-climb of a tree, and shaking dirt out of softball or soccer uniforms? How did our generation of moms get this so, so wrong?

Some occasional play make up or a night of pedicures never hurt a girl, but is that all we limit it to? Or are we drinking the Kool Aid and sharing the glass with our daughters? How much of your daughter’s toys, clothing, books, and screen media focuses on prettiness?

A preschool teacher told me that yesterday she heard one four year old ask another four year old if she wanted to come over after school for a make over. As a one-time event, this is probably no big deal. But what if “beauty” is all the girls ever played together? What else are they missing out on? What stories, adventures, and skill building are they rushing right past?

Could something that seems harmless now, day after day after day lead girls to obsess and despair over their looks? Hate their amazing, healthy bodies during what should be one of the most carefree times of their life? Strive for beauty so greatly they pay to have their sexual organs butchered to achieve a false ideal in order to attract and keep boys’ sexual attention?

It sounds extreme, but as my colleague Soraya Chemaly points out in her post on the subject, girls as young as three years old are changing their eating habits to avoid becoming “fat”. Three. Years. Old.

Girls need the time and space to be little kids. As parents, it should be our goal to allow them this space.

When does innocent fun stop being innocent and become a major problem?

When does innocent fun stop being innocent and become a major problem?

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