Last weekend I spent the most amazing day with 50 women talking about real beauty and how we have let the media define it in their terms. We have bought into it. Our daughters have bought into it. We spent the day reveling in ourselves and our uniqueness. It was a wonderful experience. The whole time I kept thinking…. I wish my daughters were here to see this. An amazing group of women, ages 25-55, all shapes and sizes, discussing real beauty. One of the presentations brought up the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty Video. It has been around for awhile, but is a great reminder of the illusion that is presented by the media.
Has your daughter seen this video?
About 8 billion dollars a year is spent in the health and beauty industry. That is a lot of money. Especially when people are having a tough time making ends meet. Now I am not saying to throw away your favorite lipstick or the business card of your favorite plastic surgeon. I am just asking that we look at the images the media are selling to our children (and us), and start a conversation about what is real and what isn’t.
As part of Dove’s campaign, they teamed up with girl scouts and created the Uniquely Me program. Many schools have offered this outside of scouting, and girl scouts presents it several times a year in different communities. Dove also published a report Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteems. The report sites that:
- Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members
- 62% of all girls feel insecure or not sure of themselves
- 57% of all girls have a mother who criticizes her own looks
- More than half (57%) of all girls say they don’t always tell their parents certain things about them because they don’t want them to think badly of them
- The top wish among all girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, which includes more frequent and open conversations about what is happening in their own lives
- Reality vs. Perception: Low self-esteem significantly impacts girls’ overall feelings about their own beauty
- 71% of girls with low self-esteem feel their appearance does not measure up, including not feeling pretty enough, thin enough or stylish or trendy enough (compared to 29% of girls with high self-esteem)
- 78% of girls with low self-esteem admit that it is hard to feel good in school when you do not feel good about how you look (compared to 54% of girls with high self-esteem)
- A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs
If you would like to read the rest of the report, go to http://content.dove.us/makeadiff/ser_report.html.
We can tell our daughters that they are beautiful, but do they really believe us? After all we are their mother’s and we are supposed to tell them that, right (and after a certain age they just shut out our tone of voice anyway)? How do we get through to them? One way to start is to dispel the myth that all the images that they see in magazines are real. Make some lemonade, sit them down, show them the video and then start the conversation. What is real beauty? Let them define what it means to them, and in turn, take a look at what it means to you!