Wednesday, April 18

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Nonsense

Okey dokey...and now the post I originally had planned for today. Thinking back to my post about the mostly-naked smoker hater, I thought I would mention a positive ad campaign, one that does not objectify women but celebrates them in all their shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty is quite possibly the greatest ad campaign ever. I hope that they keep it up for the next 1o years so that I can Tivo them and play them for M. to counter the effects of any Bratz/Barbie/Disney Princess crap she may be exposed to. If you have not seen this already, here is an ad I think every girl should be required to watch:

Brilliant, no?

And the thing is, I think M. is beautiful. Ridiculously, wonderfully gorgeous. I tell her every day how pretty she is. What a perfect and lovely specimen of girl-child I created. But I worry about this. Because even if she does grow up to be the most stunning woman who ever lived, I do not want her thinking that this is what is important, that her looks are what make her special. While on the one hand I want her to have a strong self-esteem and not worry about her looks, maybe telling her how pretty she is is not the way to do this. I need to start saying, "You're so smart!" "You're so strong!" or "You're so funny!" (Granted, I do say these things, but they get a lot less air-time than "You're so pretty!")

Of course, the real answer to creating a strong sense of self-worth in my daughter is creating it in myself. Girls learn to be unhappy with themselves because their mothers teach them through example. And right now, I am not happy with myself. At all. I hate my scarred and disfigured stomach. I hate my body that never works like it is supposed to. I hate that I still can't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I hate being unemployed. Basically, I value myself very little right now, and I need to fix this before I start rubbing off on M. The thing is, I'm not sure how to.


ErinBW said...

I think being aware that you have those issues is the first step toward modeling a good self image for M. For us, negative body talk has been banished from our house. I don't stand in front of the mirror and poke and prod the parts of myself I'm not happy with. C is at the point where she is copying everything I do. If she sees me devalue my body it will set her up to believe that is what women do: devalue and critisize their bodies. I don't want to set her up to revisit my insecurities and personal demons.

I'll probably always be insecure about my body, but I have decided not to give voice to those insecurities in front of my little girl.

The Giant said...

Erin's comment is eloquent and right on.
And between MIke and I the Bean has become our "beautiful & brilliant girl," which seems to solve the conundrum. Besides isn't every brilliant woman a beautiful and amazing soul?! (And yes, my dear, that means you too)

Doug said...

It's good to cultivate M's intelligence and strength in addition to her beauty; I have no doubt that you'll do fine in rounding her in those areas.

More important, she'll see her father admiring her mother for the mind and spirit in addition to the body, and she'll learn a great deal from observing that, whether you tell her anything or not.

However, and I don't mean to be blunt, everyone knows that guys want to be the funny ones, so funny women never get the guy; they end up being lesbians.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

On the plus side for that, they do remarkably well when it comes to getting their own talk show.

Just keep reminding her: Smart chicks are hot!

And then don't let her watch TV or go on the internet until she has graduated college...

Kerry said...

That is great. Hadn't seen it before. Thanks.

twoknives said...

The ad campaign does look good to begin with. But Dove's parent company, Unilever, actually shares the data they collect from young girls for the "Self-Esteem" campaign with marketers who need insight into this market. And in India and other countries, they sell a skin-lightening lotion, promising women that lighter skin will get them husbands and jobs. If you'd like to see more,

Mrs. Hewson said...

Oh, that shit is just so wrong. but yet so cool to know that all of those beauty ads are totally fake.

I'm so super insecure about my body, that now I've gotten to the point where I look at pictures from 3 years ago, when I thought I was disgusting, and think, man I wish I could look like THAT again!

But the video doth make me thinketh.