What message are we sending our daughters?

Think about the last few conversations you’ve had with your “Mom” friends.  What topics of conversation almost always come up?  I’m guessing that diet and exercise is one of them.  Does the number on the scale in the morning determine how you feel about your day?  Yourself?  Seriously–how much do you stress about how you look?  Here’s an even bigger question–how much of your attitude about these issues gets transmitted to your daughter(s)?

The other day, I was taken aback by a picture of a mom who looks…well, too thin.  (How many of you are thinking RIGHT NOW, “I’d rather be too thin than too fat!”?  lol)  Seriously, though, it made me think about what standards I have for myself.  I know the right words to say–I am concerned with being active and eating right–being healthy is more important than being thin, etc, etc.  BUT is that the value that I’m passing on to my daughter?  Or am I teaching her that being thin is everything–even when that thin is too thin?

Truthfully, I’d rather look like that high school version of me–the me who ate toast for breakfast, an apple for lunch, and broccoli and fresh bread for dinner and ran every day (yes–that’s all I ate most days!).  I would rather be too thin than what I am now…but that’s not what I want for my beautiful daughter–I want her to establish healthy habits and to be beautiful because she is who she is–active and healthy, not artificially thin, and with a beautiful heart.

An article in Success Magazine this month focuses on “Your LOOKS.”  The article combats the notion that most of us (regardless of what we SAY) have about beauty–that it’s about makeup and fitting into your skinny jeans–and says that “beauty isn’t some vapid and superficial pursuit that exists solely to sell products…beauty, my dear, appearance-obsessed friend, is health.”  Hmmm…Health is beauty.  That’s an interesting thought.  The authors (Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen) claim that beauty was the way that people assessed the health of their possible future mates–it indicated health.  (Interestingly, the article goes on to discuss ways to keep looking young, which seems to contradict their earlier statements…but that’s another blog post.  lol)

The video (Warning:  it’s graphic) below has been circulating on Facebook, and a friend shared it with me after a conversation about this topic.  Our daughters (and us, too!), as you will see in this video, are inundated with images that tell them they need to be super thin, big breasted sex objects whose best quality is not what lies within their hearts or minds, but what men can see from the outside.

Yes, if you’re like me, you monitor what your daughter(s) watch, listen to, read, etc.  But my point really is–in the world she lives in, does my daughter see me supporting these images with my own choices and values–or does she see me living out something else, something that is honoring God and my femininity?  Because, despite what we are told, we are the biggest role models in our daughters’ lives.

Megan is looking at me to see how I interpret these images and messages from the media–and not just what I say, but what I DO.  Do I show her WITH MY ACTIONS that health and inner beauty are the most important thing (by being active and choosing good foods and focusing on being a better me) or that my weight and what I look like are the most important thing to me (by being obsessed with the scale and dieting)?  I don’t think she needs to see more women in office, etc, to understand true beauty and her worth, but she needs to see me living out these values every day.  Because how I allow the media to change my actions and values is how they will change hers.

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