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Do you believe it's wrong to tell girls they are beautiful?

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:53 PM
  • 35 Replies

I Won't Stop Telling My Daughter She's Beautiful

by Jeanne Sager


mirrorQuestion time: do you tell your daughter she's beautiful? I do at least once a day. Sometimes more. Never less. The responses vary. Sometimes she tells me I'm beautiful too. Other times she says, "I know."

She doesn't say it smugly. It's more a simple admission of fact, the same answer you'd give if someone said, "It's raining outside" or "There are eggs in the fridge." She accepts that she's beautiful because for as long as she can remember, I have told her it's true.

And yet, among a certain set of parents, what I'm doing is just this side of abuse.

What's with the backlash against beautiful? According to some, telling a girl she's pretty focuses too much on her looks. Some will say you risk raising a girl who is vain, others that your daughter will be lacking confidence in the more important areas such as academics or athletics.

Just a few weeks ago, blogger and mom Devan McGuinness railed against the people who tell her daughters they're beautiful, stating, "I worry that this typical conversation will influence my girls into thinking that they are only noticed for what they look like -- only after that will someone will take the time to get to know them."

Before that, it was Emma Heist Moss on The Good Men Project warning us that "no matter how old your daughter is she is receiving messages from every angle that tell her that her primary path to success is being beautiful."

The arguments are valid and yet shortsighted. They carry with them an assumption that when a girl is told she's beautiful that it's the only thing she hears.

In some houses, that is the sad reality.

In our house, it couldn't be further from the truth. We also tell our 7-year-old that she's smart. And funny. And silly. And that sometimes she's a little bossy (hey, she needs to hear it from somewhere).

She's hardly lacking in boosters in the important areas of her life, and yes, that includes someone telling her that she's beautiful.

What we look like is still part of us. It may not be the most important thing; but if you say it doesn't matter at all, you're either lying or deluded.

Parents you could tell your daughter all those things and not mention her looks, but as a woman who spent much of her teenage years (and some of the adult ones too) battling an eating disorder, I have to warn against it.

Everyone wants to hear that they're beautiful, even young girls.

As a mother, it's my job to step in, to be the one who makes sure my daughter hears it. If I don't, who will? Who will step up to make sure my daughter feels comfortable in her skin, feels happy with every single part of herself, not just her brain or her strong legs?

Do you believe it's wrong to tell girls they are beautiful?

by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:53 PM
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Replies (1-10):
GirlWSemiAuto
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM
3 moms liked this
I think it's perfectly fine, so long as she's also hearing how brilliant, hilarious, strong, clever, kind, compassionate, brave, and loving she is.
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kbear1992
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM
I think it's awesome if I ever have a baby girl I will tell her she is beautiful everyday! I was never told I was beautiful except by my grandmother who I rarely saw. So I had so many self couscous issues because I didn't believe I was beautiful. Then when my df came along I never believed him but he showed me how beautiful I am and I love him for it. But I wish I would have heard it from my dad or mom..
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polkaspots
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM
Why wouldn't anybody tell their daughters they're beautiful? And smart and funny and silly? The same goes for boys. Except I usually say pretty for her and handsome for him.
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AMR320
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM
I tell both my girls that they are pretty. I also tell them that they are smart, kind, funny, and all around amazing. I see nothing wrong with it.
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Mommy4-27-08
by Silver Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM
We call our daughter beautiful but we also let her know how smart she is and she also does sports and we praise her for how good she does in sports as well.
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k9l1c5
by Platinum Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:18 PM

I don't think it's wrong. People spend a lot of time tearing others down when it comes to looks... I think people should tell others, especially little girls, that they are beautiful more often.

brittany208
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I agree with the author completely. If I had a daughter, I would tell her she is beautiful ALL the time, but I would also tell her how smart and funny and creative or whatever else she was too. Her future DH better be tellling her the same thing alllll the time too, so she might as well get used to it now! With all the "not good enough" message out there--I would be sending the "beautiful" (and everything else) message loud and clear!

tristahope
by on Apr. 2, 2013 at 3:46 PM
Quoting GirlWSemiAuto:

I think it's perfectly fine, so long as she's also hearing how brilliant, hilarious, strong, clever, kind, compassionate, brave, and loving she is.



This...

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MaddieLainesMom
by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2013 at 4:43 PM

I tell my daughter everyday how beautiful she is, but I also tell her how smart and funny and how proud I am of evrything she accomplishes. I don't think there is anything wrong with boosting my daughter's confidence in her looks. At 6, she's already edging on being concerned about how she looks. But that's not because I tell she's pretty, it's because of how soceity emphasizes looks. So, I try to give people things to compliment her on besides her looks. Instead of hearing people approach my daughter and say, "Well, aren't you cute?" Although, she loves it. I try to get in and say, "Yes, she's adorable, but she's also working really hard at dance class and learned about the state of Tennessee at school today." While I love people complimenting my daughter on her looks, it's not the only thing I want them to talk to her about. For me, it's all about balance. My daughter is beautiful, but she's also smart, hard working, a wonderful dancer, the funniest 6 year old I know, and silly as all get out! 

MistyMoo
by Amber on Apr. 2, 2013 at 4:44 PM
I tell my daughter everyday that she's beautiful, sometimes multiple times a day
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