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Boosting Girls’ Self-Esteem, for the Right Reasons

Pretty as a princess

Is being pretty bad for girls' self-esteem?

Momlogic has a guest post from a mom worried that her daughter’s self-esteem is based too much on beauty. The girl is 6, and she’s all about how pretty she looks in new dresses, “Like a model, Mommy!”.

This mom is worried: will her daughter grow up to be the kind of vain, vapid woman who values herself only for her beauty? Are the fashion magazines around the house and TV shows mom watches rotting her kid’s brain?

Maybe. Or maybe 6-year-olds just like to play dress up.

My girls are 3 and 6, and they dress up all the time. They parade around the house singing and dancing and talking about how absolutely fabulous they look. Sometimes they look absolutely fabulous. More often, they are wearing mismatched socks, gowns made from mom’s old club clothes tied in place with Grandpa’s neckties, and face paint that would make a clown blush.

In other words: they are not conforming to popular standards of beauty. And they’re pretty happy with how they look.

Mostly I think this is a good thing. There are no fashion magazines in my house, and no TV, yet the kids know who Lady Gaga is and think Glee is like a TV version of High School Musical. Popular culture seeps in, and with it popular images of beauty.

I’ve held my 4-year-old while she cried because she’ll never look like a Disney princess, and consoled her when her imaginary friend, Harry Potter, broke up with her.

But for the most part I think the kids are OK. My own childhood was much more immersed in Barbie, beauty products and cable television than my kids are. I didn’t grow up to be a fashion model: I grew up to be a feminist, a journalist, and a woman who doesn’t know how to shave her legs or shop for clothes.

What matters more than an early fascination with being pretty is, I suspect, the rest of life. What does your daughter see you do? Do you value her curiousity, her mind, her play? Do you love yourself for who you are, not how you look? Those things will shine through even the glitziest princess costume.

Photo: ctd2005

More by Sierra Black:

I Flunk Being A Girly Mama

Why I Don’t Miss Homeschooling

How Smartphones Made The Playground Fun

Stepmothers: Do You Really Love Your Husband’s Kids?

10 Ways To Squash Sibling Rivalry

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