There are many things that define each of us – a sense of humour, a burning passion, our ethics and, inescapably, our appearance.
There is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward and being well-presented boosts the confidence of many people, but at the same time we need to make sure that our girls are comfortable in their own skin as well; it is, after all, the only one they’ve got.
Against a backdrop of TV romances, airbrushed ad campaigns and celebrity social media accounts, it’s no wonder young women sometimes feel they can’t measure up.
Take a recent campaign by Dove, one of a small number of brands speaking up about beauty standards. It is confronting to see so many women define themselves as average. Is this how we would rate ourselves? How we would rate our daughters?
Teaching our girls that their bodies are special, unique and most importantly the tool for them to achieve great things – whether it be writing inspiring words, offering a comforting hug, playing a symphony or running a marathon – is a responsibility we take very seriously at the College and one which is addressed through multiple touch points including Kahunui, HUB and Life Education Trust Programmes to name a few.
So what exactly is it that we need to be doing now to help our girls feel body confident now and in the future?
Show your daughter that you appreciate and value your own body – nourish it, care for it and compliment it. Show your daughter that you like your smile or your height, after all she might just inherit that trait from you and your perception of it.
Talk About Unrealistic Images
Explain the concept of airbrushing to your daughter and give examples of where she might see this. Before and after images make a great comparison tool, but even these need to be treated carefully. Most of us don’t have stylists, makeup artists and flattering lighting to make it through the day.
Be Age Appropriate
It’s a fine line – we want our girls to be aware misleading images and unrealistic expectations, but at the same time she shouldn’t need to worry about these things until they are relevant to her. If your daughter is at an age where magazines are becoming important to her then this is the time to broach concepts such as styling and airbrushing, Again, Dove has a great video that addresses the myth.