I thought the same thing about the author’s photo at the top of the page. Raising two girls and a boy, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. But the message is so contradictory to the bust-flowing-over sequined top she is wearing. Certainly one does have control of one’s profile pic.
A. The Flood drowned huge numbers of innocent animals and probably many young human babies (Genesis 7:21-23).
B. If you interpret Genesis 1: 30 to mean that there were no animal carnivores until after the Fall or the Flood, then it was God who decreed that animals should start hunting and eating other animals, through no fault of their own.
C. John 1: 3 states that God created everything that exists. Presumably "everything" includes Free Will, and Evil.
D. The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, then punished him for being stubborn (Genesis 4: 21).
The first thing that I noticed after reading this fantastic article is that there is a photo of a woman with her cleavage out, wearing an almost sultry expression, with her arms in a “power” pose to the immediate right of the article. Huh. I thought I knew what your overall message was after reading the article but the photo has left me confused.
Thank you so much for sharing this extraordinary point of view. I read a few comments and had to chuckle. I love how people still refer to the “you are a pretty cute little girlygirl!” as necessary and I also think being told that you are pretty is important, but not because it is for the kid itself, but for her needs to fit in society. Its hard to be different and not to hear “Oh you are so pretty” is hard on anyones self esteem but the point you made is far more important! The looks are the easiest to control, how intelligent you are is not. Beautiful smart Women are rare but very important. If it comes to the looks some of us are not as blessed to be able to see individual beauty as it is. They compare everything to the model standards that the media keeps holding in front of everyones face.
If the intelligent kind of humans would start to equal out the intelligence vs beauty thing the world would slowly start to get better. Intelligent people discuss Ideas, dumb ones discuss people.
I think that some personalities just focus more on the appearance thing even if nobody around them is emphasizing appearance. If you have one of those children, when they start really worrying about it, you have to emphasize that however they look is good enough, and encourage them in other enrichment activities.
It isn’t that she’s over concerned with appearance, she is secure within herself. Because she is secure, she tries new things, (she’s an intermediate fencer) gets up in front of people with no stage fright, knows her own mind but respects others, is compassionate, loving and beautiful inside and out. She’s smart, (her favorite subject is science), artistic, energetic and I think she will find her calling in life as a movie director, circus ringmaster or CEO of the world! I am so thankful for the gift she is and the privilege I have in being her Mom. I have the opportunity to model to her that true beauty is about the whole person and making friends with who you are.
This is a fabulous article. As a young adult watching my many siblings grow up, I agree with much that was said.
However, as many people have already touched on, I think it is about balance. I was always praised for intelligence, and I still have trouble believing I am beautiful, embracing my femininity, and being “girly.”
If a girl is only conversed with about her mind, beauty will be harder for her to see in herself. The same is true of a girl who’s beauty is the only thing recognized.
Balance is, I believe, an important thing to consider.
As great as the message that you’re sending is, I think it is also important to let children-not just girls-know how pretty/handsome they are, because even with brains being valued over beauty, one day they’ll be around their peers that value beauty over brains and they will start to compare themselves to others, just like their peers, on the same societal images of beauty, just like their peers. So yes, we should make sure to engage them in conversations about more important things than looks, but we should also not completely disregard the idea of complimenting them on their looks either.
This article is great and inspiring, but speaking of appearances, did the photo attached to it really need to be a white, blue-eyed, blonde girl?
I loved this article, but felt a little sadness at the same time. it is wonderful that you went and talked to the child in that way, but if she doesn’t get that a lot at home, ( and maybe she does) , then a drop in the bath will not cool the water.
I agree girls grow up much too fast these days. How I hate to see a 10 year old striving to look 15! and the parents who lament and boo hoo over it, THEY buy the clothes. Or just give up, saying it is only clothes not important.
It IS important. Girls are developing earlier, in many ways now. 8 and 9 years olds getting their periods, and developing much younger. I believe that is a very strong reaction to the meat that society eats today, which is full of hormones and anitibiotics.
We need to teach girls to value something besides looks. I agree. However, it was the most important thing when I went to school, and I am 60 years old. OH it was easier to make friends I think, who then accepted you for you, but there were always the accepted ones, the cool ones. The pretty ones, who had all the right clothes, at least the popular clothes that everyone wanted. That much has not changed. It is past time for us all to do something about it. So everyone, keep dropping in your spoonful, because with enough spoonfuls, eventually it will cool the bath.
Also, to react to some comments, my other question is how damaging can it really be for a 3 month old to be told they’re cute? That kid isn’t reading. I’m frankly not convinced they even qualify as sentient. So while I can even see why at a year and up one should start focusing on intelligence or other talents, I am not convinced that calling a baby intelligent instead of cute will really be doing anyone much good.
This is a really interesting and thought-provoking article. I want to address some of the above comments, because I am curious about how the fact that it’s going against the societal norm plays in later in life. One of my friends is smart as hell, and even at 28, still has a huge complex about how no one ever told her growing up that she was pretty. Her self-esteem really is screwed up beyond belief. As a larger lady with esteem issues, she often mentions how damaging it is to hear, “You’re so smart!” over and over, and never a compliment about her physical looks.