What’s your beauty legacy?
As a mum to a nearly 8 year old daughter (and a nearly 2 year old daughter) I’m very conscious that my words and actions are absorbed and remembered, so I try to be very careful when it comes to self-esteem, self-confidence, body and beauty matters.
About 18 months ago, my (then 6 year old) daughter came out with “you have to be skinny to be pretty” which really scared me, as we don’t talk about weight or dieting at home, so this has come from peers and the media. That day I vowed that I would be doubly careful about what I said and did in front of my girls.
Dove has recently launched a self-esteem campaign to encourage women to see the beauty in themselves for the next generation of young women. I am lucky enough that my mum never spoke negatively about her own physique or beauty, so I grew up without hang-ups. My aim is to pass that on to my own girls now.
Dove has found that how women feel and talk about beauty has a profound effect on the self-esteem of girls around them, meaning it is so important for us mums of daughters to think very carefully before opening our mouths.
Dove’s research* reveals that 69%**of women say their child has seen them engaging in negative body language habits, with more than a third of mothers (34%) admitting that their child has mimicked their negative beauty behaviours. With these statistics in mind, Dove wants women to pledge their positive beauty legacy by sharing who in their life inspires them using #FeelBeautifulFor.
Whilst I am constantly telling my girls they are beautiful, it’s not exactly something I say about myself! Fortunately I’ve got a wonderful husband who tells me I’m beautiful several times a day, even when I’m make-up-free and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, so our daughters are growing up hearing these positive words (he tells them they’re beautiful too!). Now whenever I get ready for a night-out L, our eldest, tells me “you look beautiful Mummy”. And every time instead of saying “no I don’t”, I accept my husband’s and my daughter’s compliments and I simply say “thank-you”.
Dove invited me to think about what my beauty legacy is, and so L and I made up our own lists about what we think is beautiful about ourselves, and what we think is not beautiful. L also made a list about what she thought is and isn’t beautiful about me. Here is the result….
I’m so relieved that L’s only hang-up is a scar on her arm, and that she doesn’t seem to have a clue about what I don’t like about myself. This reassures me that I’m doing something right.
So what can you do?
Dove has created a variety of self-esteem building materials and activity guides for women to discuss with young girls (aged 7-17) in their lives, so they can take steps to improve their self-esteem. The full range of 1:1 workshop files can be downloaded here.
Dove have also got a great video about the beauty legacy that us mums are leaving our young daughters, which I highly recommend to all women who are some kind of role model to young girls.
Finally, why not try the same exercise that L and I did in the video? What do you and your daughter think is/isn’t beautiful about yourselves? The results may surprise you….Other than that, keep positive people and let’s encourage our girls to grow up with self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect.
* Dove Girls’ Self Esteem Research 2010 and 2013
** 2014 One Poll survey of 2,000 UK women aged 30-55 who have a relationship with a girl aged 7-17.
Disclosure: I was remunerated by Dove for my time in taking part in this campaign, however this is a campaign I feel very strongly about.