Little Girls are Pretty

We tell little girls they look pretty and little boys they are smart.

I’ve read a few articles over the last few years and listened in on a few talk shows discussing this issue so I thought I would provide my own opinion today and hopefully spark some of you to share yours.  I believethere is no right answer to this topic and I am interested to see what some of you have to say as well.

There are two sides to this story…

Side 1:

We focus too much on little girls’ looks. When growing up they only hear about how cute, and pretty, and beautiful they look in their new dress or Instagram worthy outfit (check out @fashionkids if you need an idea of what I’m talking about).  Girls are then more likely to associate positive attention with their looks alone and grow up feeling the need to dress a certain way to continue to get that attention. They will also begin to believe that education, personality and other things can take a back seat because no one tells them they are smart, just how nice they look.  I completely understand this side of the story and in some ways I do believe the arguments to stop telling girls they are cute and instead focus on their behaviour or personality.  Most often we hear about Side 1 when discussing this issue, however, there are always two sides to every story.

Side 2:

Someone always has to play devil’s advocate just to get everyone thinking outside the box and seeing all sides to a story.  So, here I go!  What happens to girls’ self-esteem when we neglect her looks completely?  She grows up with never having someone tell her she looks nice or cute or pretty when she did get a new dress.  Although she will grow up understanding the importance of getting an education, having a good personality, and being well-behaved, do you not think she will question why no one calls her beautiful?  I think if we cut out these words cold turkey girls will begin to believe that they aren’t worthy of receiving these compliments.  If no one receives a positive remark, they will begin to believe they truly don’t deserve them.  This doesn’t make for a well-rounded, confident girl either.

My Thoughts:

There is a time and a place for everything.  When we only focus on girls’ looks, it doesn’t help to remind them the importance of other aspects of themselves; but when we neglect to tell them, they may also question it.  We need to know when and where to use these remarks and maybe instead of never telling little girls they are pretty, continue to do so, but also provide positive reinforcement and encouragement when they are successful in terms of their behaviour, intelligence and whatever else you find important when teaching your child.  It is like the 80/20 rule when eating, you have to have some balance in all that you do, no just your diet!  Let’s develop confident young girls by reminding them how intelligent, smart, well behaved, AND beautiful they truly are! 

Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic by commenting below.  If we all share our views, it will be able to help us come to a better conclusion ourselves on the approach we will take.

Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.

Rachel