Why I'm Teaching My Daughter that Outside Beauty DOES Matter

Outside beauty does matterOutside beauty does matterThere is a lot of pressure to be beautiful out there. So much so, that I have purposed as I am raising my daughter that I am going to be very intentional when it comes to complimenting her. Physical beauty is a highly prized trait in our culture and as such I want to be sure that I teach her that her real value does not lie in whether or not she has a pretty face or a cute figure. I want her to know that she is smart, funny, strong, capable, insert non-physical adjective here: _______.

That said, I fully intend to tell her she's beautiful too, because regardless of the fact that I wish it didn't, outside beauty matters. But, maybe not in the way that you might think.

Related: 10 things a mother should NEVER say to her daughter

The other day I read this article by Amanda King over at the Huffington Post and she basically summed up my feelings on the topic. I could choose to raise my daughter without mention of her physical appearance in terms of being pretty/cute/beautiful/whatever, but that isn't going to change the outside world's obsession with beauty. I can't keep my daughter in a little mom-made bubble for the rest of her life and one day she is going to come screeching head-on into society's unrealistic beauty ideals, so I want to make sure she is prepared and that it doesn't come as a complete shock.

Others around her will be judging her beauty from an idealized list, but I want her to know that she is beautiful in her own unique way. As much as I want my daughter to know that she is smart/funny/strong/capable, I also want her to feel beautiful. I want her to know that the little unique features that are hers alone are beautiful in their individuality. I don't want her to try to squeeze herself into a mold of what is judged as beautiful, but rather I hope that I am able to instill in her the value of her own brand of beauty.

And you know what else? Even though I don't believe that a person's value lies in their physical appearance, I truly believe that there is something innate within us that yearns to be surrounded with beauty. For some of us that might manifest itself in a love of pretty clothes that makes us feel polished and confident and for others it might be surrounding themselves with wonderful art or a lovely garden. I know I love getting dolled up with a bright red lip and a twirly dress from time to time and if my daughter is into that too, then I think that's great. I just don't want it to consume her.

- By Lauren Hartmann

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