There is this crazy new idea going around that parents shouldn’t tell their little girl she is pretty. It’s a ridiculous one.
It’s like some bored asshole with a couple master’s and a doctorate was just looking for some attention and money and needed to come up with something to bitch at parents about and thought, “What is something a lot of parents do or say that I can bullshit enough reasons up that they will in turn feel bad about their actions, even if they were doing it with best intentions?” The answer to this thought, “Telling your little girl she is pretty.”
1 Reason Parents Should Always Tell Their Daughter She Is Pretty
1. They truly believe she is. Every little girl is pretty and they need to know it!(Soon enough this world will be telling her differently.)
- The world can be a mean place, young girls and boys can be vicious (I know first hand) and the teasing usually comes in the form of making fun of appearance. Whether these kids are jealous or just assholes they will usually attack the way someone looks first. (Adults do it, too.)
- Every little girl and boy needs to know that their individual look is pretty. Tell them they are pretty so no one can convince them otherwise.
- These experts seem to assume because a parent is telling their daughter she is pretty that they can not also be telling her she is strong, smart, and independent. You can tell her she is pretty in the same sentence that you tell her she is a boss! (not bossy, but a boss: a person that runs the show)
- We will never live in a world that isn’t obsessed with looks. So maybe this idea would work in another universe, but here on earth people are visual and drawn to certain looks. (FUN FACT: While this really has nothing to do with telling your daughter she is pretty or not… it’s proven men and women are instinctually drawn to certain physical attributes. History is loaded with stories of powerful men attracted to beautiful women. The Trojan War was fought over a beautiful woman. Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church to be with a beautiful woman. Benedict Arnold reached out to the British and offered to be a spy and betray his colonial cause after one month of marriage to his beautiful, English loyalist wife, Peggy. Coincidence? Throughout history beautiful women have made men do crazy things. #hailtotheV )
3 Reasons Experts Say You Shouldn’t Tell Your Daughter She Is Pretty
And why they may be wrong
It may seem obvious, but is easily forgotten, that teaching girls that appearance is the first thing we notice about them gives them the powerful message that looks are their most important quality.
Appearance actually is the first thing you notice about someone, before you can shake a hand and notice a firm grip or make small talk and realize how funny someone is, you notice their appearance. If I go in for a job interview dressed in my PJ’s chances are, based on my appearance, I won’t even be allowed into the interview (I’m not Mark Zuckerberg after all ) You don’t have to be the prettiest person in the room, but you do have to make an effort in the looks department.
Shallow praise linked to looks can have a negative effect on a girl’s ability to deal with adversity. These off-the-cuff remarks can imply that looks, goodness, talent and even intelligence are things you either have or don’t have.
Seriously? How can telling a girl she is pretty even start to imply that talent is something she either has or doesn’t have? How long did this asshole have to sit and think about a way to relate the two?
I remember constantly being told as a kid to work hard for something that I wanted to achieve. If I wanted to be talented at something I had to work hard. (Fact of the matter is though, in some cases people either have a talent or not, but that is not related to telling a girl she is pretty and it doesn’t mean she can’t work hard and get better at a talent.)
Again, I will tell my daughter she is pretty, just like I will tell her the more she studies the better her grades will be, just like I will tell her the more she practices the better her talent will be.
Telling someone they look nice or pretty is not shallow praise and is not something to feel guilty for doing. As much as those experts want to not put an emphasis on looks, when someone feels they look good, they feel better about themselves. It is just life. A woman can be pretty (and know she is pretty) and also be strong, independent and successful.
These innocent comments to a daughter can make her think her self-esteem is linked to certain traits or attributes. She may grow up valuing being pretty more than being strong and independent
Even if a little girl isn’t the standard definition of pretty why shouldn’t she know that her individual look is a blessing and that it is beautiful. Let her know that beauty can be both on the outside and the inside and each individual is pretty in their own unique way.
In today’s image obsessed world girls will be bombarded with picture perfect “pretty” women everyday, unless the home is without a TV, computer, even a newspaper a little girl won’t be able to avoid the pictures. Avoiding telling a little girl she is pretty won’t prevent a problem, it will create a problem. If a person hears something enough times they will start to believe it. Should beauty be related to self-confidence? No, but with almost all people it is.
So if a little girl hears other mothers and fathers telling their daughters they are pretty, smart, and strong and that little girl never hears she is pretty from her own parents will she think, “Oh well, looks don’t matter.” or will she think, “Mom and Dad never tell me that. Am I not pretty?” I can’t be for sure, but it’s not something I want my daughter to question. There is no need to give your daughter a complex. I mean, even men like to be told they are handsome.
I grew up with my brother and my male cousins being my best friends. I wanted to be a boy and be treated like the boys and I feel I was for the most part. (I even tried to pee standing up. It was a major fail and I got yelled at for making a mess, but I was dedicated to the cause.) I didn’t want to be that pretty little girl and wasn’t made to think looks were the most important thing, but that didn’t matter. When I went through an ugly duckling stage and got made fun of for my crooked teeth or lack of boobs (both changed drastically, thank goodness) it hurt.
So whether a parent decides to tell their little girl she is pretty or choose not to, eventually her self-esteem will be affected due to her looks. It is inevitable and a shame, but it’s life. There is absolutely no problem building a little girls self-esteem by telling them they are pretty, just make sure that it’s also added that they are strong, that their abilities are limitless and that they can do absolutely anything they put their minds too.