How about we stop vilifying pretty. Appreciating our own beauty from the outside does not make us dirty/wrong/sexist on the inside. Hear me, daughters? Feeling pretty — from the inside out — is good. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
But Jill! You just went to Dove’s #GirlCollective event!? You know, the national movement to squash myths that girls (and women) must look a certain way to be successful and worthy?!
Why yes. Yes I did. And all the well-put-together, powerful women speaking in that bustling room confirmed that feeling pretty has little to do with your outside appearance. Feeling and looking pretty from the inside-out comes from self-confidence, strong sense of self and a drive to be the best we can be. This includes being happy with our looks, no matter what color/size/shape. Feeling pretty comes from the inside.
So, I tackled this wacky notion of raising our daughters to feel pretty no matter what on LA’s FOCUS TV with Shirin Yadegar of LA Mom Magazine. (Hang tight, we do a shameless plug of my book for first time pregnancy first… lol.) WATCH:
And oh! That old blogpost I mentioned in the vid about raising a vain baby? Here you go, cut & pasted just for you, mama (from 2011):
“Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” I guess my childhood obsession (Snow White) goes deeper than I thought. I’ve recently concluded I’m raising a vain baby… and I don’t want it any other way.
It all started innocently: When LadyP was a newborn, I’d stand in front of the mirror holding her over my shoulder (upright, to burp her) and watch her reflection to see if she was spitting up, crying, still alive, etc. That simple act quickly turned into me catching her gaze and making her smile by singing, bouncing and making funny noises (as we both stared into the mirror at each other). The more I’d play, sing and dance with her though the reflection, the more she laughed and loved it. We’d lock eyes and it was an instant party. I’d sing and choreograph entire musical numbers off the top of my head while holding her and “performing” for ourselves in front of the mirror. It passed the time, made me laugh and made her happy. I was her own personal sideshow act (still am).
When she was a few months old, I soon noticed that our mirror playtime became more than just playtime. She’d catch herself in any mirror we passed, whether at home, at the mall, in a restaurant… and get dramatic if I didn’t stop and let her gaze at herself for a little while. Two seconds in front of any mirror and she’d get a big smile on her face and coo at herself. If I turned her back towards her reflection, she’d struggle to crane her neck all the way around in order to see herself. She’d find the mirror in her jungle-gym, roll over to it and giggle at herself. The only thing that would calm her down as she screamed bloody-murder during her baptism was the mirror in our church’s choir room. I wish I was kidding.
Great. I’m raising a vain girl. Just what the world needs. But after more thought, I’m realizing it might not be such a bad thing. Too many girls and women struggle with happiness because they don’t feel secure with themselves. I think I speak for a lot of moms saying that we strive to raise daughters who are confident from the inside out. Looking in the mirror – and liking yourself – is something that so many of us struggle with from time to time. I have in the past. You might right now. We all do at some point.
I do NOT want my daughter to struggle — if I can help it.
She’s only a baby, but LadyP is happy when she looks in the mirror.I can only pray it stays that way forever. Life coaches often tell us to stand in front of our mirrors – every day – and say what we like about ourselves. Positive affirmations and liking yourself are good things. Loving yourself is not shallow, it’s the foundation for achieving success. And my baby’s got it all figured out. Already. Keep that, little girl.
Obviously, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance… but that’s what us moms are there for (to make sure no one crosses it). With any luck and some good old fashioned moderated mirror-time, we can all live happily ever after. “Mirror, mirror on the wall… YOU’RE the cutest of them all.”