Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the wall... Talking about Beauty.

This article by Emily Heist Moss which was shared on The Good Men Project blog was one of the most impactful pieces I have read on fatherhood and the importance of our behavior and speech to our daughters. Being a good father means thinking about what we say and how we interact with the world around us and remembering there are little eyes watching us... closely. The piece focuses on self image and how family and fathers in particular can shape our daughter's opinions of beauty.

"So how is a good dad to avoid adding to the barrage of corrupting messages your daughter receives every day? Start close to home. Think about what she hears from adult women around her. Do her mother, older sisters, or aunts discuss looking fat in front of her? Do they pinch themselves, complain about how they look, or crash diet? Does her grandmother tell her that she needs to watch her figure? Girls’ and women’s bodies are unfortunately considered open to “constructive criticism” from strangers and loved ones alike."
Nothing in this article should discourage us from telling our daughters, or any other girls in our lives we may be impacting, they are "cute" or "beautiful". However, it is very important we offer other compliments more often. We must teach children we value their independence, athleticism, intelligence, and kindness, to name a few, far above their appearance. I also think this is an important lesson for children if we expect them to grow up to be respectful of people of other races and cultures... much of the discrimination in our world seems to stem from society's exaggerated focus on the importance of physical traits.

Reading this piece and thinking about the advice and the issues discussed within reminded me of the powerful Dove videos that came out a while back and is certainly worth revisiting:

Being a good dad, means a whole lot more than just doing "what feels right"... if we are serious about influencing our children in a positive manner, it is going to take a whole lot of patience, studying and the will to apply what we have learned.

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