Thursday, June 25, 2009


Is it wrong to tell today's girls that they're beautiful? Are we in a post-image age? I tell my girls all the time how smart they are, how strong they are. I want them to know their worth as people, not only as girls. I want them to know their assets beyond beauty. Though they are, without doubt, beautiful, I don't emphasize it in our conversation. We talk about their might and their muscles. We talk about how quickly they learn new words, how well they remember moments past.

There is an ideal: that we will raise the next generation of humans to value others without judgment of beauty. But there is also the reality: that these girls, as they grow, will be complimented and teased, cat-called and whistled at, mocked and scorned -- for reasons of physical circumstance.

How, then, do I insulate their hearts? By repeating until they believe intrinsically: that they are smart, that they are strong, and yes, that they are beautiful. The stronger I dam up their confidence the harder the hits will have to be to damage their confidence. The stronger I make them feel, the more I protect them from meanness, from verbal ugliness.

And yet, it's a fine line: I want my girls in Keens or sh*tkickers, not in Princess shirts or high heels for toddlers. But I want them to feel comfortable in their brutest Vikingwoman wear; no, I want them to feel beautiful as invincible Vikingwomen. That's, as I see it, the best of all worlds, and my prayer for them: that they will value their intellect and their strength and their beauty, that their myriad assets will not ever be weapons in the arsenals of outsider but tools for furthering their own happinesses.

Because they are truly beautiful, both within and without.

Thank you, for making me think. Pin It