Posted by DaVinci Healthcare Expert on May 4, 2023 12:00:00 PM
Across cultures, girls of all ages are complimented on their physical appearance. On an interpersonal and societal level, this focus on outer beauty can have a profound and negative effect on girls’ self-esteem throughout their lives.
Fortunately, many women have come a long way in achieving self-confidence, professional freedom, and personal fulfillment. Respecting others, enriching your communities, and prioritizing your health and wellness are increasingly valued as more beautiful than trendy makeup or hair.
With all this progress underway, we must make sure to pass this wisdom on to our daughters.
Around the world and through the centuries, cultural priorities have shaped the norms that drive beauty and fashion. Trying to keep up with the ever-changing rules for contouring your cheekbones can be as tricky as tying a corset was in the Victorian Era.
No matter where you are in the world, beauty was likely dictated to you from a very young age. Individuals, especially women and girls, are not entirely free to develop their own ideas of what looks appealing or what feels empowering.
Instead, many find themselves on a hamster wheel, constantly chasing the next beauty trend from season to season. By following fads and trends, girls often don’t learn what they truly like or how to lean into their natural beauty.
While it’s not always easy, parents today must realize that girls are bombarded with unrealistic beauty ideals, especially now that social media and the internet are ubiquitous in almost every community.
In our overly connected society, girls face constant messages about beauty. While some messages are direct and obvious, others can be harder for parents to anticipate and intercept.
With constant exposure to these influencing factors, it’s important for parents to have open discussions with girls about their assumptions of beauty. Setting limits on screen time, restricting access to unsafe websites, and limiting social media to family and close friends can be helpful.
Instead of focusing on outward signs of physical beauty, adults should teach and model inner beauty to young girls.
Inner beauty comprises a person’s character traits and behaviors, consisting of virtues that shine from the inside out into the world. If a person is kind, compassionate, empathetic, and generous, they exude a meaningful type of beauty that leaves a more lasting impact.
Honest, caring individuals with integrity and a spirit of service to mankind are admired and respected. These beautiful features never fade with age and develop more richly over time.
Physical beauty can be pleasing to the eye, but it is usually temporary, fleeting, or superficial. While it’s important to practice good hygiene and take care of your physical body, it’s just as important to cultivate your inner beauty.
It’s never too late to influence a girl’s perspective on the merits of inner beauty. No matter her age, change can happen, for the better. We cannot erase the images a girl may have seen in the past, nor delete the comments she’s overheard, but we can shape her future ideas about true beauty.
Ideally, the next generation of girls can grow up with a healthy attitude about body image, physical attractiveness, and inner beauty. Here are our top five ways to teach girls about the value of cultivating inner beauty.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy. Instead of leading our girls down a path toward unnatural, impossible standards of physical appearance, we should learn to help them cultivate an appreciation for inner beauty.
Modeling healthy self-confidence and self-esteem is the most powerful tool we have in shifting the conversation with our girls. Instead of trying the newest makeup hack on TikTok, we can make chicken soup together and deliver it to the new mom down the street.
As we consider the responsible use of photo filters, makeup, and clothing trends, we encourage a realistic balance between physical appearance and inner beauty. As adults, our main responsibility is to ensure the next generation is happy, healthy, and a beautiful force in the world—from the inside out.
 Schooler, D., & Trinh, S. (2011). Longitudinal associations between television viewing patterns and adolescent body satisfaction. Body image, 8(1), 34–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2010.09.001
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