When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, click here. Grade 6 Up-This collection of short stories, all by granddaughters, is really a collection of memories, with some liberties taken. Many of the writers were able, often for the first time, to see their grandmothers as women of a different time who profoundly influenced their lives.
The 12 selections are moving in many ways. An old painting in the basement allows Cynthia Leitich Smith to see her grandmother for who she really is, and to see herself in a new light as well. Minfong Ho shows how her grandmother's life in Singapore, so completely different from her own in upstate New York, is still so strongly connected. Diane Stanley uses her grandmother's own words to describe a very unusual childhood. Beverley Naidoo pieces together a picture of the mentally ill grandmother she met briefly before her death.
Ji-Li Jiang and Alma Flor Ada share stories of women who were politically and socially active until their deaths. Each story except for Beverly Cleary's is followed by a brief author's note bringing a bit more insight to the story.
Simple but evocative pen-and-ink drawings suggest old family photographs rescued from a dusty album. While this anthology features characters who are several generations removed from today's readers, many of the concerns are universal and the appeal should be broad. The selections, written by some of the best-known authors of children's books--among them, Beverly Cleary, Diane Stanley, and Jean Craighead George--vary in viewpoint.
Some are written from a confused child's perspective, some from a reverential adult's. In her beautiful essay, Minfong Ho muses about the difficulties of leaving a homeland behind and wonders about her grandmother, who also left her birth country. Cynthia Leitich Smith discovers her grandmother's free, vampy past.
Many of the stories read like letters of praise, gratitude, and love to grandmothers who died before the words could be said. But some, such as Gail Carson Levine's excellent selection, make layers of family tension real and recognizable. A fine collection that will encourage teens to reflect on their own families and recognize the individuals behind the family roles.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. Read more Read less. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. A beautiful collection of kids' bestsellers. Teach them, entertain them and have loads of fun with this collection of shorts, rhymes and much more!
Terry Treetop and the lost egg: Join Terry Treetop for another adventure. Adorable rhyming and 18 beautiful colorful illustrations that children simply love. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up. So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls.
One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? Try this the next time you meet a little girl.
She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.
Author Bio Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Often times, she has a message in there. She has shirts with peace signs on them, and of course ones with horses. I agree with you. I think telling kids they picked a great outfit or have great taste is unisex. Plus, it reinforces individual decisions. Yes, and you can also make it specific. So if a girl or a boy, for that matter looks good, tell them so. If you like their taste in books, tell them so. If they do really well at school, tell them so.
I think a critically important point in the article is that the author restrained herself from making her first comment and compliment appearance based. Her first effort was to find some non-appearance related common ground to start the conversation. If a 15 year old dresses well; fine, acknowledge it, good for her, she probably had some say in the matter. Hi Katie, I thought this article was very good and it really makes me think about what we admire in little girls, I think we need to have a balance in how much emphasis we put on how they look.
This is great and spot on. But certainly by the time I was 12 I was worried I was fat. Maybe you could gently guide the adult to a new way to interact with any child, really, by asking your girls to tell the person what their reading now or about a subject that interests your girls. I think this is a great idea. As a parent, we could help by introducing our child by name and an interest.
I think that is a great suggestion. It reinforces to our child ren that we recognize and honor their interest as well as encourages the adult or kid for that matter to engage them. As a father I often compliment my daughters and son because I want to help build self-esteem, be it around their outfit, artwork, politeness or anything else. I am going to be much more mindful of what I choose to highlight now based on this article.
I love the message. I have twin girls that are about to turn four years old. They love to dress up. My sister-in-law shared an important thought with me when our daughters, who are only 6 months apart, were very young. So I have tried to emphasize that fixing their hair etc.
But I appreciate the message here, and I hope to integrate this more deeply into our lives daily. I want reply to what you said because I think there is a nuance here that is important. I appreciate what you are saying that your twin girls are beautiful, without adornment like nail polish or accessories. However, the point of the article goes beyond that.
We are looking for other valuable qualities in our daughters, like perseverence, kindness, empathy. In my opinion it would be better to refrain from calling girls beautiful as much as possible.
When calling one beautiful, I consider the loveliness of their mind and personality, as well. People have beautiful minds, they honestly do, and I would absolutely use the idea of beauty as praise for the innate qualities of a person. In fact, I highly suggest it…because the only way we will ever steer the idea of beauty away from relating solely to physical appearance is by using it to describe what should be valued: As a child, I was not told I was beautiful.
So please realize that your plan to never call a little girl beautiful may backfire. I have to agree with Holly. I have no issues valuing my intelligence, abilities and myself as a person, but am most shy in the physical beauty area something my parents never focused on. However I think the article makes an excellent point and completely agree girls and women need to value themselves on MORE than looks. I absolutely agree with Holly and Alyssa. Would that someone had ever called me pretty growing up instead of only smart.
I think the smart message has gotten through. I too, was not encouraged as a little girl by my Mother or told I was beautiful or important or smart. I too, was dismissed and dressed in clothes that were the first mismatched outfit and quickest pair of clothes to hurry up and get me ready.
Beauty, is not only outside but inside too! The point is about sexism. Do you talk to boys about their beauty, or do you discuss other things? Men are generally not judged on their appearance. Women always are judged on their appearance. Hopefully, your strategy for your daughters will give them more self-confidence and have less stake in their appearances, however, societal pressures will still have a great affect on how they value men and women.
It is difficult to counter this. And on their interesting thoughts, their interests and so on. For their appearence, mind, and soul. They share their love of gaming, reading, playing, jumping etc.
And tell me that I am beautiful too. I have a lovely niece age 8. She is also beautiful, clever, funny, hard-working and interesting to be with. So I tell her the same things, and listen to her stories, thoughts, and dreams. So, basically, all children need to be beautiful. Tell them that they are! They also need to hear that they are interesting. So tell that too. The reward is an insight into their thoughts and beliefs, which are often deep and philosophical.
I actually was thinking about this as I read the post. I call them handsome or gorgeous and girls gorgeous or sweetie. And it is more about personality than looks. Little boys are definitely judged by their appearance, but I think that fades as they get older. Actually, yes, I tell my boys they are handsome a lot. I have to agree, Holly. You can do as much damage to a child by not telling them that they are beautiful, as you can by emphasizing, intentional or not, their looks.
I tell all my children, 1, 4, and 5 years old, girl and boy alike that they are beautiful. Thats about as wrong as you can be. This sure explains the growing disparity between boys and girls. Boys lower rates in grades, GPAs, graduation rates, employment, salary, college education, higher imprisonment, etc. Perhaps you are modeling a new perspective. I was visiting with my four-year old twin nieces just a week ago and had given them matching outfits for back-to-preschool.
I quickly disabused her of that notion, pointing out that her identical twin would be wearing the same clothes! We do need to have a heightened awareness of our words, and the effect they have. Thanks for your perceptive insights! I think it is great that you used that as a teachable moment. Obviously, you would have to use different terminology than the word arrogant. I am pretty sure a pre-school would tune out a lecture like that for the most part. I do like the idea of the article though, not making your first or only observation of a little girl you come in contact with be related to her appearance.
I have a soon to be 18 year old and we have had an ongoing dialogue about what it means to be beautiful. And the way one looks is wayyyy down on that list. Beauty comes from within. Physical beauty should not be what defines anyone. Thank you for this good article! My English is not so good, but good enough to understand the theme. This i think too: How sick is it, if just little girls are classified about how they are looking, not what the like or can or read and so on….
Your post was shared by a friend on facebook. I am a first time reader and appreciated your comments very much. Nonetheless, I often use every opportunity with the girls to talk about interests and hobbies, but I realize that I too have sometimes fallen into the ice-breaker routine.
Your article has given me a good reminder to be more thoughtful in the future. What do you like right now? Good thinking there, Latina Fatale. The mistake you are making is to enforce the idea of being physically beautiful is important.
The emphasis on physical beauty either it is true or it is from a kind heart in order to be nice is what causes the problem. I have a 3 year old daughter, and even though she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in life of course to my eyes , I refuse to say to her that she is pretty, but I always tell her that she is funny, or smart, clever, or genius. So, few weeks ago she asked me if she was pretty enough to be a princes, since her cousin is told by her parents that she is a pretty princess, and to be pretty is a requirement to be a princess.
So since she never heard that compliment from her parents, she was questioning the reason. So, I took her to the zoo. I showed her the peacock, and the some other female animals, and I asked her if she think they are pretty, and she said yes, and I asked her if she thinks they are clever, and she said no. So there it was, the answer to the question. So dear Perno, next time you see you nieces, compliment them on their wits and character rather than their prettiness. I know I came late to the party here but I think I just need to point out one thing that I found disturbing reading the below posts….
I think that if a child has to ask if they are pretty they are starting to have doubts that their parents think they are. And while it is important for them to know they are clever and such, I think lack of being told that they are pretty affects them as well. There should always be a balance. Tell a child they are pretty because every person desires to hear that they are occasionally. Let them know they are more than just a pretty face but never make them feel as if they are not pretty because you refuse to tell them so.
How is a child to feel if another child calls them ugly if they never have anyone to tell them they are pretty? This will cause them harm in the long run too and we need to find a happy medium rather than one extreme or the other. Notice when an extra effort is made for a special event Wow… you clean up nice! Or even when one gets a new hair style Who knew that a hair cut could accent your pretty face?
My kids, now grown, were always complimented on their appearance — I had to point out their generous, loving natures- , latest volunteer work, good grades, good teamship- to others, so they had other things to talk about than the way they looked. Either way we have gotten a bit off topic.
To stay off topic, we call them peacocks for males and peahens for females. Thinking about it a little more, bringing in examples of other organisms children will know or learn about gives them a larger context for many things and can establish relevance. I think the thing here is to consistently reinforce that other things are far more important, but I think treating beauty as distinctly different from other qualities actually underscores its importance.
I also think that permanently withholding a compliment that every other mother in the universe is willing to share with their child at least occasionally is not so much enlightening, but actually downright cruel. The problem with beauty is that though there is no way to measure it, and its parameters are not defined, it is still used to categorize women. We have to use our hearts to find the beauty in everyone… and to know that she is beautiful, no matter what she look like.
But really, I think her method was brilliant. The parents are the first line of defense — Though, come to think of it, I would love for her to show her that males can also be pretty enough to be pretty princesses. There are male AND female peacocks; both have large tail feathers but the male peacock has the bright colors. Actually, Aytisi was correct. The female is called a peahen, and their young are called pea chicks. This is the same way that chickens are classified: Crazytrains you completely missed the point of what Perno was saying.
There is no reason to never compliment your childs appearance, especially if they are at an age where they are trying to find their own style and identity because appearance is a part of that do I want to wear jeans or do I want to wear dresses?
Why would you try to use animals to explain that? One can indeed be smart, clever, creative AND beautiful. Not a thing wrong with that. What would of been the harm in that? And from the anecdotes she relates, it seems that was much appreciated. But if, as is inevitable, the little girl is wondering about her looks, how she is perceived, then of course a compliment is appropriate.
Dodging the question will absolutely convey a negative result. For me this was just a little girl wanting to hear her mommy say she loved her and thought she was as pretty and the other little girls parents thought their daughter was. Why avoid it all together? Please, add some balance to life!!!
Please note this is an assumption based on the info in the comment above. I would say to encourage them to be beautiful and intelligent. It does help their self esteem as with boys being called handsome as well rather than not being sure if they are ugly. It happens with both men and women. I am not suggesting to get make up kit or focus the majority of compliments on looks, but build up their self esteem about their physical attributes as well. So that she knows she is pretty but that her other qualities are what really set her apart.
The first sister, a beautiful girl, all her life, heard her parents talk about how smart her sister was. The other, a brilliant mind, heard only about how beautiful her sister was.
As adults, the first sister thought herself to be stupid, and the second sister thought herself to be ugly. Just talk to children like you would talk to an adult. Girls are intelligent and able to do anything that they want in life, as long as there are parents behind them with encouragement and love. Well, she had two brothers to play with and instead of ballet , she is a 2nd Black Belt in Taekwondo and competes in local and national competitions.
She is smart, she is beautiful and she is strong. She is also doing something that she loves and works very hard with her coach to be the best that she can in her chosen sport. She is taking pre-ap classes and some 9th grade classes while in the 9th grade.
She is now my idea of what a girl should be, strong, smart and passionate about her life. Stumbled upon this article and completely relate. I am only 20, but I used to nanny for this family that was all about looks, status, and being 1 at everything. The mother was obsessed with having the best beauty products, the best handbag she had a collection , expensive clothes, the latest apple product, and even commented that I was valuable because of how pretty and young I was.
Their 7 yr old daughter was warped into this thinking and while her mother meant to do well, there clearly is going to be body issues and self esteem problems for this girl when she grows up. I could only do so much as a nanny without over stepping my boundaries, but I completely agree that adults should learn how to talk to little girls.
I think parents should educate themselves better on this issue and realize that what they do effects their children greatly. I have a young son, 14, who is very conscious of his appearance. Has been since he could talk. He has a lot of girl-friends that I take home from school and I am always asking them what they learned in school today. One positive thing and one negative thing. And how they can work through the negative. They are all teenagers and I want to help them to love themselves they way they are.
Thanks for your words. For those of us who work in the beauty industry, it is easy to get caught up in appearance perfection. It is sad to see the upcoming generations so focused on that physical perfection.
This is a great reminder for us to teach these young girls that they have so much more value than how they look, and to nuture those special qualities that hover beneath the surface waiting to be nurtured!
This made me sad… bc I am realizing that I do this with my own daughter. She is 4 and very girly… she loves dressing up and twirling around for everyone to tell her how pretty she is. But I need to make more of an effort to concentrate on the more important things. Its funny how life gets so busy that you miss the obvious. Thank you for this… very inspiring. Congratulations, you made a conscious decision not to pay someone a compliment that they probably would have loved to hear.
There are however, damaging pressures on young girls and women and older ones to be all about looks, and all about airbrushed, unachievable looks at that. A counterbalance is essential. Personally I would MUCH rather someone show me genuine interest in my interests than make some shallow formulaic compliment about external presentation. The former actually take some effort. She gets that enough, but I want the message to be that her intelligence, curiosity, artistic abilities and other skills are equally valuable.
I remember Oprah telling the story abt a woman teacher maybe? She was only 5 or so and had not been told that before. I completely agree with Kathy — I have three daughters, and believe me, I will go to the ends of the earth to ensure they are valued for their brain, their interests and what positive contributions they can bring to the world, as I agree with the article that these are of utmost importance.
However, I see nothing at all wrong with paying a compliment to my daughter when she has mastered choosing a nice outfit or brushed her hair into a nice braid that she has been working very hard to master! Of course we want to raise self-confident daughters who are sure of themselves inside and out, and by myself and my husband telling them we, as their parents, think they are beautiful, by no means does them a disservice. It is just another way we show them how loved, valued, and appreciated they are, both inside and out.
They are whole people, beautiful and intelligent, inside and out. This piece is ALL about paying girls compliments. Just choosing the compliments that can help inspire them to realize their full potential. There is nothing wrong with being beautiful as a 20 something I constantly wish I was more beautiful. But the compliments that mean so much more to me are ones about my accomplishments and my successes.
It is so much more valuable to be praised for something I worked for rather than for looking a certain way because I chose a good color for my skin tone or was born with good jeans. Plenty of people will tell a little girl she is beautiful. Not enough people will tell her she is smart, and talented, and independent. I scanned the whole comment section to find you.
Did you take down that meanie head writer? Do you feel better now? You are insulting someone who stated their opinion. A troll is someone who 1 deviates so far from the article and never makes a relevant point regarding the article that there comment is a waste of time and 2 still demands a response. Your comment adds nothing to the discussion and you end with a question — thus trying to quench your attention-seeking thirst.
You are a troll. I hope to have a daughter one day, and I pray that it will be possible to give her a clear mindset outside of superficial worries.
I am 30 years old and see my family parents, aunts, uncles, etc. I am sure if I told them this they would be horrified. I think it shows our societal unconscious obsession with being skinny. I really hope and will make a conscious effort when I have children to NOT talk about weight and appearance. Meghan, I share the exact same feelings, particularly when it comes to weight.
I am happy with it but I also know how dangerous body obsession can be and as it is so often the first thing many people comment on. I know this is clearly an issue on her part but it makes my blood boil. I also hope when I have children I do not ever make them feel that weight and whatever society deems as the most pretty makes them feel any more or less beautiful. I get a little frustrated that everyone tells my 5-month old niece how pretty she is, but hardly anyone tells her that she is smart, brave, strong, etc.
I do her numbers and letters with her every day, and I tell her how smart she is — I feel like I have to counteract all the other body-based messages. It may not always feel that way, especially at your age. I realize that your post is almost 2 years ago, and that you might never see this…but just in case you do, I want to let you know that your post brought tears to my eyes.
You are now 17 and probably entering one of the last years of high school. I remember being so fixated on appearance in high-school that it was painful.
Here are the points that I should have realized then: I am now working on my Ph. No scientist sends mug shots in with their research write-ups. He thinks the whole package is beautiful, but he always says that he has never been interested in someone who lacks intelligence. For as smart as I was in high-school, appearance was the one place where I woefully idiotic. I also had a constant stream of people telling me how pretty my younger sister was.
It took me awhile to mentally overcome that conditioning. Beauty — true beauty — comes from passion in your life and interests. Intelligence will give you that passion.
This is such a great article! Otherwise, great article with a great message. Not to mention the fact that the commenter you replied to is, in fact, wrong. There was no error. I understand that you probably mean well, just be aware that doing so usually does more harm than good. Had the author actually made a little spelling mistake it would hardly have made the message any less professional or clear.
Possibly I am doing the same thing now. We are all prisoners of our own socialisation. I like some advice I read above which is that the best thing is to actually treat the little girl like a regular human being and try to forget unless it becomes necessary that they are a little girl or a little boy. I have had this habit my whole life of just treating the little ones with the same respect and care I would anyone else and as a result, most kids seem to love me to death.
The very worst of all IMO is people who dress up their little girls like princesses and let them wear crowns to the supermarket etc. I think this article is great, but I can say its also important to let little girls know they are beautiful.
I grew up always being told that I was smart and because of how society is we tend that we are either smart or pretty. I think the problem is with the narrow definition of beauty. Everyone is beautiful, not just on the inside but on the outside physically, too, if we look at them the right way.
I try to point out that beauty to my daughter as well as pointing out all of the other great things that she and others bring to the world. Beauty is more than skin deep, however. I will share this theory to many friends and family for I feel this topic is not discussed enough!
When my little cousin was three through five, I convinced her that she was a runaway tiger from a local zoo who was being raised as human. When she was five, she wrote her first story.
I was a character in it. Nothing makes me prouder. BUT, who says we have to say something right away, right? I love your example of asking a question instead of starting off with a compliment. Making comments about how someone "shouldn't be wearing that! I loved this, so I read it twice. I wonder if the parents work hard to give their daughter a balanced view already, and you pleased her so much because you interacted with her on the level she is accustomed to.
I just wonder if her parents unmentioned, save for giving the party you were a guest at are being given a fair shake. I did not read here that she was offering a new perspective. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. As a mother who tries to do it differently too, I am fully aware that there can seem to be a bigger impact from wandering strangers. But that is only because the foundation is strong and that the affirmation of culture is in numbers.
Fabulous article, thank you very much. It made me really think and realise we have a long way to go. But we are on the path and that is what counts. That was my first thought upon reading it the first time. My daughter is extremely bright and she gets plenty of comments from my friends to that effect and that makes her visibly happy. Comments about her appearance also make her happy.
Generally chatting with her at all when there are other adults you could be chatting with sends her over the moon. She gets lots of honest, thoughtful conversation and lots of encouragement. Probably all Maya typically hears from non-relative guests is how pretty she is. Thanks for the thought provoking article. I have blogged about it to day on my childhood development blog. I was picking out Christmas presents for my little nieces a couple of days ago and I hit on a brilliant idea, dress up clothes!
When I went to the store there were lots of fairy clothes and princess dresses but there is no way that I could buy those for them. I ended up buying a fire chief and doctor outfit. I did the same when my niece turned 3. I totally agree with the issue of a girls image of herself. Part of this is that girls clothing is made to fit skin tight, as if an 8 or 10 yr.
Then girls clothing sizes change more rapidly than boys. Whereas if a boy in 6th gr. I am on facebook if you would like to talk further about this. Clothing is made in every country imaginable these days, and one size 10, 12, 14, is not another. I myself can take four pairs of the same size and style of jean in to a dressing room and have each and every one fit differently.
What size do I really wear? Girls and boys need to be taught how to dress. I read your article, which I thought was great, and then I followed the Amazon link to your book. My spirit sank when I saw that inspead of sporting a classy, toned-down cover — as a book of the academic gravity I was under impression yours is deserves — it show a huge photo of a woman you? How can you expect society not to treat women as props when even your book, which supopposedly goes against it, does the same thing?
As a writer, I refuse to allow any misleading or harmful content into my work. By harmful, i refer to any content that deviates, or damages the overall point of my piece of work. Raising two girls and a boy, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. But the message is so contradictory to the bust-flowing-over sequined top she is wearing.
What the author chooses to wear and how the author chooses to look are contradictory to the idea she presents that we need to stop emphasizing to little girls and all women the primacy of appearance? I think people who let their children become overweight should be prosecuted for child abuse. I think that it really gives girls confidence.
I also agree that parents are the key. The reason is that we spend more time with our peer group than our parents. Culture, values, self image, etc all tend to veer toward the peer group we grow up with more than what our parents taught us.
I think that it is important to acknowledge that all of the dichotomies are false. It is not that the media did it to the girls, nor is it that the parents did it to them.
There is an underlying theme in the narrative that women are victims. At some point we have to concede that women do it to themselves.
Might they have received some bad advice along the way? But every individual is responsible for their own choices in forming their identity, and the most important thing about accepting responsibility is that with it comes the authority to make changes. Tell them that the world is a treasure trove of fun and valuable attributes that they can have as many as they want of, all they have to do is decide what they desire and go get it.
I know this is probably a bit late to respond, but my parents never pushed girly clothes on my sister and I when we were younger, and they actually tried to keep us from wearing make-up as long as they could. We were both skaters and my sister ended up in basketball, volleyball, and tennis. I was encouraged to become a hockey player after I quit skating. Whenever my parents got worried that I might actually have some type of issue, they sent me to the doctor or counseling.
I went to a gym times a week on top of practicing for 2 hours times a week when I was a skater and still ended up on the cusp of being overweight. It actually really upsets me that you would say that parents should be prosecuted for child abuse because of an overweight child. That right there is part of the problem. I pretty much was an overweight child because I was going through puberty.
I stopped eating and continued to gain weight. I ingested next to nothing and still put on pounds. You know what my parents were feeding me when I bloated up with puberty weight? What my coach suggested my sister and I eat. I was limited in the amount of candy I was allowed to eat. We had to sneak it if we wanted any. I ate yogurt and applesauce for lunch at school. Yet I still bloated up to lbs. It was in my genes and it was supposed to happen. My parents did not abuse me in any way, shape, or form.
Fat is a human and domestic animal phenomenon that only started occurring since agriculture. Things that come in boxes? Things that are processed or otherwise manufactured outside your home? If your food has words on it, you are consuming an unhealthy diet. It is not good for you. Often high in sugar. Pumped full of chemicals that stimulate the appetite and decrease metabolic processes.
She was stricter on me than the rest of my siblings, and was more likely to call me names and mistreat me. Also I think my hand-eye coordination developed at a much slower rate than the people around me. I was bigger than a lot of the kids my age, but I was also taller and more physically developed than they were too. A few thoughts—I appreciate the message of this essay. However, as now-grown child who was never once told she was pretty by her mother a small flaw among a million blessings , I take every opportunity to tell my daughters how beautiful they are.
I think telling girls they are lovely predates the current pop culture fixation on image. I had this exact experience too and I had the same thoughts as I read through this.
I had lots of appearance issues. Unfortunately, I was kind of left to fend for myself through the rough awkward years of adolescence and young adulthood. While she and my father were incredibly supportive on all other fronts, having ZERO guidance or encouragement during the time when I was growing and changing left me awkward, uncomfortable, and lacking totally in any kind of self-confidence precisely when my female peers were starting to find their way.
Lynn, I think this is a good point. So when my hypothetical future daughter goes out on the field to beat the opposing team, I can tell her that a determined face and stance are good visual weapons to convey dominance. When she goes for a job interview, I can advise her that studies have shown that women wearing a certain amount of makeup are perceived as more competent, and we can shop for sharp, professional working clothes together.
But in all those cases, appearance should be treated as just one more tool that you use in order to achieve your goals, not something that defines you. Thank you so much, Nicole for pointing that out. Nicole, I am so glad you said this. And disheartened by how many comments I had to read before coming across yours. Similarly, I was a child who was told by pretty much everyone that I was smart, accomplished, clever, witty… every compliment that theoretically counts.
But I was never told I was pretty or beautiful. And that is the one that sticks. In my adulthood, I have often been told that I am. Not in my heart of hearts. It sounds cheap and insincere now. They are not mutually exclusive.
Girls can be both clever and pretty. And we want to and should believe that we are both of these things. I meant to add, that my mother always told me that I was pretty. And during my early teenage life she continued to do so she died when I was fifteen , because like most teenage girls I had poor self esteem.
I never fell into destructive behavior, but then those were different times. Apparently she did her job, and she did it well.
The point is, negative, hurtful comments can sometimes cause as much, if not more damage. Although I agree that in the society in which we live today, the over emphasis on beauty is out of proportion. Smart, clever and independent is great and I THANK my parents for that but theres nothing wrong with a compliment to boost self-confidence and esteem in the physical department once in a while.
My mom cared a lot about me not looking too girlish, because being girlish was not accceptable for her. I was only praised for good grades and other accomplishments. Still, would you tell your son over and over that he is handsome?
My mother wanted me to feel better so I was put on weightloss drugs and had plastic surgery before I was I regret it all. What helped me was going to college and making friends who thought I was funny, nice and clever — personality traits that are real and lasting. Granted, the world treats pretty girls better but instead of encouraging girls that they are pretty no matter what, we should try treating girl like we do boys- where looks are just a secondary bonus. Obviously everyone wants to feel attractive, male or female, but I have a feeling that for men the notion of being attractive includes accomplishments and traits that are not completely embodied by their looks.
Most of the comments in this respect have been from women. If any dudes happen to read this do you think, as a boy, being told or not told you were handsome played an important role in your personal development and self-esteem as an adult?
My mom sews clothes. But she did teach me that I am valuable for my insides, and gave me the tools to feel confident with my outsides, given the situation. I am a helicopter mechanic. I have the respect of the men in my shop when I show up to work every day, for both my work ethic and my knowledge.
I like knowing how things work, and taking them apart, and putting them back together. I wear cargo shorts and a t-shirt to work, and from 20 yards away on the aircraft ramp, you cannot tell I am a woman. I also like to go out, make myself pretty, and wear cute clothes, shoes, and makeup.
The trick is to balance it with my work life- which is as much a part of who I am as the woman who puts on a fancy dress and heels to go out on Friday night. A warrior princess is in training to be a queen. When she grows up, she will be a ruler.
We also talk about the importance of taking this training seriously. The goal is to grow up to be a good queen, not an evil queen! Decorative princesses never get to grow up at all. They just sit around being pretty and powerless. Kind of sad, really. Not very attractive for my fierce and independent daughter. It is very difficult not to compliment little girls on how adorable they are but you are absolutely right.
I must admit, I do see the effects of cultural expectations of women even with the kindergarten girls. They are highly concerned with clothes, jewelry and even high-heels yikes! Thank you for your insight and I will be looking for your book! I love this alternate way to interact with girls. It is true beauty and looks are the first things commented on by adults in relation to kids. I love, love this idea. We readily ask a visitor to not allow our young dog to jump up on them, and would not hesitate to command them to not feed our dog poison, so surely we can watch over our children like hawks, politely changing the subject and creatively diverting attention.
She has lived her entire life loving her looks and thinking she is beautiful and has used this as a means of being a strong, powerful, and successful woman — although not in ways that are degrading or demeaning to herself. It is because I want them to see themselves the way I see them beautiful! It a delicate balance of giving them self confidence while not spoiling them.
Thanks for bringing light to this subject. But, it starts with the home. If a parent obsesses with weight in an unhealthy fashion, kids will absorb it and pattern the parent. However, we also need to sneak in compliments from time to time about their appearance to boost confidence in that area. Wow, I actually cried with joy at the end of this. The next time I meet a little girl, I will treat her like the person she is, not what she looks like. I am the eldest of four children and my 8 year old sister loves nothing more than to devour a book.
I wrote my college application essay about how her gallantry through her celiac disease inspires me, but she has shown me so much more than that. Elli represents the person I wish I could have been 12 years ago.
My life would have been so much different if I had her confidence and bravery at her age. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to help foster her sense of self-worth, and I could not be more proud of her. Thank you Latina, for reminding us that every interaction with a child matters, no matter how short.
Have to say, I d0 not agree! Even at a young age, appearance is extremely important. We have all judged the child that looks disheveled, hair messy, hair in knots or dirty finger nails or face, or who wore the party dress to school! Maybe it is your first job interview and you are clueless as to what is classic and would make a good impression on your potential new boss!
Not to mention how happy girls feel with pretty pedicured toes! The truth is, it is extremely important to look and feel pretty from the inside out! Teach your little girls a nice balance, tell her she is smart and beautiful and special!
Show her how to apply make up properly, instead of letting her friends do it! Plastic surgery and eating disorders go far beyond commercials and peer pressure. Teach the little girls about values, self worth, making a living and supporting herself…. And looking pretty, knowing how to maximize your eyes will always make you feel good, just for you! Appearances are NOT important: Judging people on their appearance is the easiest way. If you work a little harder and talk, heart-to-heart or mind-to-mind, you will find out that the disheveled kid with bitten nails and badly assorted outfit is just as human as you.
A high school friend posted this on facebook. I have a five year old daughter and I have observed the same thing about our society.
I actually even posted a blog about it recently. I was hesitant to do so, because as a male, I have found that some women are so bought into this worldview, that if I say something about it, there are women who will fight against the awareness and even turn the tables on me saying that I am trying to suppress their sexuality.
If there is any interest in reading what I wrote, it can be found at http: It could lead to healthy behavior as well. I have never seen anything that applauds and encourages women to be overweight as healthy. The Dove Real Beauty campaign has tried to promote self esteem in women and girls by showing that ALL women are beautiful, no matter what their shape, skin color or even age is.
There is a picture out there where someone put a picture of the girls from the Dove Real Beauty campaign with the girls from the Victorias Secret Love My Body campaign. The Dove girls have soft curves, fuller hips and busts but are in no way fat or overweight there are no rolls or overhangs, no double chins , yet they still look bigger then the VS models who are all boney hips and tiny waists.
The blonde in the middle is so thin that it almost looks like you can trace the shape of her thigh bone in her leg. Unhealthy and overweight are not synonyms. There are many people who are thin and unhealthy. At the exact same weight, 3 different people could be overweight, underweight, or just right.
For this reason caring about your weight does not lead to healthy behavior. It leads to obsessive focusing on a single indicator that may or may not mean anything. Think about it like body temperature. Does body temperature matter? Are you unhealthy if you are not exactly Some people run hot, some people run cold, and body temperature fluctuates with environmental conditions.
Obsessively checking your temperature several times a day and carefully adjusting it with cold showers, hot showers, and medication will not improve your health. It is reasonable to check your temperature? Some women check their temperature daily to track fertility. If someone is showing signs of hypothermia or hyperthermia heat stroke , it is vital to check temperature so that proper treatment can be provided. Caring about your health leads to healthy behavior. But they are indicators, not goals in and of themselves.
I thought you might like a poem my friend wrote. As a grandparent blogger 3 grandkids, 2 of them girls Things my Grandkids Should Know I am conscious of the need for us adults to encourage children in the areas that are good and avoid being a part of the gendercasting that keeps both boys and girls from being their best selves. I am also conscious to make sure I also compliment them on how smart, creative, and amazing they are in other ways.
I have two girls and I do call them beautiful often, but they also understand because we have many conversations on this topic , that looking pretty is not important. Being beautiful is a whole package. Beautiful, amazing powerful girls worthy of all good things. I want them to know they are beautiful, unique, intelligent, and capable of creating anything in this world.
Then they stop trying hard things to avoid the chance of failure. Whatever you praise should be a virtue, like working hard, making hard choices, controlling oneself, planning and executing that plan, and so on. I really want to focus on complimenting my future children on things they can control.
Growing up, I was constantly praised for being smart. And it was very gratifying, but it also felt like a lot of pressure. Any time I failed at something, I was devastated. I want to focus on complimenting my children when they are kind, hard-working, brave, or forward-thinking.
My mother did tell me I was beautiful when I was feeling ugly, but never implied that appearance was the most important thing. I think she struck the right balance.
My daughter is 3. Have never owned a scale and have no plans to do so. I say it when she is in a cute frilly dress, or is covered in dirty and wearing her carhartts. She is learning to write and loves art. I get more and more opportunities to tell her what good ideas she has. I will say though that my mom never really did this with me and I turned out well.
She was an activist feminist when I was a kid so there was plenty of discussions around me about the changing roles, requirements for, and expectations of women. A lot of the books she bought me were about famous women in history and since I loved history in general that worked.
You can create a nurturing and affirmative environment that is more subtle. We parents are supposed to model good behavior.
In the end though, children learn as much from us about what to do as what NOT to do. My mom went out of her way to raise an activist and that is not me. An activist needs a idealistic streak that I do not possess.
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