Two years ago, when I was pregnant with miss Zoey I was attending school. I was studyng “Home and Family Living” a fancy name my school has given to all Family and Cosumer Science majors. I arrived early to the classroom and I was there, waiting for my Family Process class to start, when I decided to look at the syllabus just to find that our lecture on that day was going to be about clothing. Clothing really??? I first thought that by the end of class I was going to become an expert doing laundry or maybe I was going to learn how to hem a pair of pants. Who knows, I wasn’t interested anyway. I just had to show up at least. What I didn’t know was that on that same day, my teacher was going to teach an outstanding class about, well, clothing, and I will never forget it.
When my professor was a young single woman, she and her sister had a life changing conversation. Her sister was very concern about the way she was choosing to dress, and her husband has brought up to her that he felt uncomfortable around my professor whenever they got together. My professor didn’t see it coming, but she took her sister’s words at heart and began to recognized her poor choices in clothing, but most importantly, she started changing the way she dressed. Then she said to the class: “Clothing helps us build relationships.” Then she continued explaining that when we dress poorly, we make people uncomfortable around us. Then she asked something like this: “What type of attention will you get from a man who is trying really hard not to look anywhere else other than your face?,” “what type of relationship are you building in this case?”
I think we all have been in a situation when we see girls and wish they were a little bit more covered. I may be a little too paranoic, but I have been very close to offer a coat or a towel to young girls just because I feel terribly bad for them and their poor choices, or even to protect them from men who are not looking at them for who they really are. It really makes me sad to see how the woman body, the same that is able to give birth, to care and nurture others, is also being sexually objectified!
Then I think about my girl, my 2 year old girl, and I think about all the things she will have to face when she becomes a teenager. And I think about how anxiety about looks begins at an early age and holds girls back from reaching their full potential. And how 72 percent of girls (ages 10-17) feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful. And I think, and think, and think… How can I raise a daughter who believes in her beauty?
I know that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s self-esteem, and I plead to all you mothers to help raise confident, and beautiful girls who radiate their natural beauty through clothing that speaks of their own worth. And if you don’t have girls, I encourage you to raise boys who will become gentlemen who will respect women for who they are and not for what they are wearing/showing.
And my heart feels happy to hear that brands spend time and money helping us, mothers to teach our girls to recognized their unique beauty, yay! Dove has put together a campaign called Vivemejor.com to access free tools to motivate and inspire the girls in our lives.
Lastly, I would like to share with you the video my teacher played at the end of class on that day:
To learn more about Dove’s campaign on beauty and self-esteem visit: http://bit.ly/QGE4WY to download a flyer with ideas and questions for the girls around you