I told my daughter this morning that alot of people had been writing. “What do you mean?” she asked. I said well alot of people felt it was important to write about beauty to tell you many folks struggle with the same things in the dressing room. Many folks feel the pressure of that reflection staring back at them. You know 8 year olds. It was a fleeting moment in the dressing room recently and for her and it’s already passed. The girl is strong and confident and ready to conquer any task… but I know it could come up again at some point. The comments and notes people are leaving is proof of the fact that this is a discussion worth having. When companies get caught photoshopping their kids models apparently to make the outfits more desirable, like one company did this week, this is a discussion worth having. If you’re seeing this for the first time, the dadmissions B.E.A.U.T.Y project stands for “by empowering and understanding today’s youth”. I sat on the playground with my kids and just started playing with the word and the idea this weekend of how a dad can convey this message to his daughters… opening up a dialog about what beauty is. But this is really a discussion for all kids, girls and boys. Below are some of the many more essays and comments left from people. I hope you’ll join the discussion by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or finding me on Facebook at dadmissionsthebook.
I recently saw your post on Facebook about your daughter thinking she is “fat”. I’m 19 years old, and have been the same weight since 7th grade. Same pant size and everything. My father raised me. He’s a man, how does he deal with this kind of issue?! I can only imagine the thoughts and the heartache you and my father feel. I understand what you’re daughter is going through. But, I believe…. The way to make her feel somewhat better, is to tell her, and reassure her that she is beautiful. There will never be another beautiful girl like her. Everyone is different. Every person, in the earth has some sort of quirk about them. And in order to rise above all the hate, tell her to love. Love them because they might not know how it hurts
When I first read about your B.E.A.U.T.Y project, I cried. I cried and I cried and then I got up off of the couch to contribute. Here is a dad, a man, a parent, who wants to actively be a part of shaping his daughters into *beautiful* women. Beautiful, not in the physical sense, but beautiful inside that only comes from loving yourself and having a healthy view of yourself. Loving yourself is contagious and your girls will, without a doubt, spread this wherever they go! What woman WASN’T that girl? What woman DIDN’T hate something about her body? I had glasses from Kindergarten, I was overweight in school, I didn’t get good grades, I didn’t wear pretty clothes and for years, YEARS, I struggled with the repercussions of that. Bullying in every sense of the word. From others and from myself. Only now, at 31, do I realize what a key role my parents could have played in shaping me to believe that my physical appearance wasn’t WHO I WAS. I’m not going to say that I love everything about myself now but I’m well on my way. You’re not only helping your daughters with this project. You’re helping me, and my daughters. I refuse to be my mother. I refuse to make my children believe that they are somehow less worthy of the world because of their looks, good OR bad, because of my indifference or lack of presence. I still get acne, but whatever. Sometimes I struggle to fit into my favorite jeans, but whatever. I. Will. Not. Let. It. Run. My. Life. So thank you, thank you for doing this because if I can help ONE little girl. One, two, twelve, fifty, a thousand(!), I’ll know that that(those) little girl(s) will not be 31 and struggling with what being beautiful means to them. They will already know and they will be able to enjoy their life and what they’ve made from it.
First, what an incredible project!
What lucky girls to have such a loving and supportive Dad.
Reading the stories so far has been up lifting. As a teenager I was ‘beautiful’ as far as looks go. I struggled with eating to maintain the image. Starving myself to remain skinny.
But what does beautiful mean? It is not our physical presentation to the world. True beauty is when our soul shines through. When you find something you love, do it. Whether it’s sports, music, art, language, being outdoors, find your passion. When you find your passion the light of your soul will shine through your eyes and your smile. The people who truly love you for you will see this and it will be undeniable. Engaging in your passion will make you strong and confident, and that is beautiful!
Sadly so many of our young people are forced into this way of thinking. We have to let them see physical beauty is fleeting and help them work on having good self-esteem.
My 7 yr old son has been saying he is ugly for two years now. He is so insecure that he won’t wear certain things in fear he’s going to be made fun of or the other kids won’t play with him. It breaks my heart to know my 7 yr old is going thru this at such a young age.
My daughter is eleven and is going through this same thing. It’s heartbreaking when we go to the pool and she sits next to me wrapped in a towel and watches girls her own age scream and giggle with confidence in their bathing suits while she sweats sitting in her low self esteem. I tell her all the time that she is beautiful and perfect. I don’t know what else to do.
I absolutely love this! Your old navy story nearly broke my heart We have been going through similar things in my family as well. I have twin 9 yr old girls who have been very conscious of their bodies, other peoples bodies and all the differences along the way this past year or so. We do our best, but we still have days like your sweet, beautiful daughter did in front of that mirror.
I remember waking up one morning and looking in the mirror. I was in high school at the time. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. But I remember hating who I saw. Not because I was over weight, but because I was trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be. That realization has shaped the rest of my life. I pissed off a lot of people when I stated being me…. That journey has led me to where and who I am.
My 6yo boy has issues with being called too skinny. He eats like crazy but is super active. My daughter is 3 and I make a point not to talk about my weight in their presence.
Its sad that these young girls and boys feel looks are important all they see now a days are skinny women on magazines thinking that’s how women should look we are all beautiful in our own ways god made us all different and unique… your daughters are beautiful young ladies have them look in the mirror and tell them “self I am beautiful I am smart I am unique and I am perfect just the way I am”.
It is heartbreaking to hear them discuss bring fat at 8 years of age. My 8 year old is having the same issue. Her two best friends are “bone skinny” so she feels fat when she compares herself. It breaks my heart
I agree that boys face this, too. It is different, but no less serious.
I struggled all throughout my childhood with insecurities about the way I looked…always feeling like I didn’t measure up to others. Its sad to me that even at the age of six, my daughter has had some issues with this as well though I do my best to encourage her. She is actually more confident in herself than I ever was so I must be doing a few things right. A few tips that have helped me….don’t say anything negative about yourself and the way you look in front of your kids, we never talk about dieting but encourage healthy food choices/lifestyle, we have no beauty magazines in our house at all, we comment on other peoples inner beauty (for instance….that person is so kind-what a beautiful heart they have) and lastly we’ve talked about how God doesn’t make mistakes so he made you perfectly beautiful just the way you are. I wish you the best with this issue and pray your daughter will realize her true beauty.
Wonderful! You have my support! I have 3 girls, 17, 10 and 5… It’s a constant struggle, the older they get, to let them know they’re gorgeous inside and out no matter what. I even have a boy who struggles with weight and is very self conscious. It is tough, and kids can be mean… Society is mean.
Very well written and yes I will share this post .. Society as a whole has to change their way of thinking.