Did you know that only two percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful? This fact was discovered by Dove when they commissioned a global study on the matter. I'm not at all surprised to hear this as we are bombarded everyday by pictures of "manufactured beauty" in magazines, billboards and tv commercials.
I think hardest hit are young girls - to be teenagers, teenagers and early adulthood. This is the time when their body is developing, when they are most influenced by their peers (and boys) and a time when being accepted and fitting in matters most. It's a time when self criticism easily overruns self esteem and self acceptance. I'm sure many of us (once again, I'm talking to women) have at least once in our life thought that we're not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not tall enough, not petite enough, not cute enough... basically something was not enough. We criticize our hair, teeth, nose, skin, legs, eyes, chin, triceps, thighs, hips etc....
Well, there is a new film coming up, launching in movie theaters nationwide (in US) on September 12, 2008 called "The Women." It's directed by Diane English. The show is a fast-paced, witty and emotional look at all things female, including loyalties, betrayals, careers, families and most of all, friendships. A remake of the 1939 classic film, The Women features an all-female cast of distinguished actresses, including Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Bette Midler and Candice Bergen.
BUT what you really want to watch also is a short film called the The Women Behind "The Women". This short film follows 16-year-old teen journalist Cammy Nelson behind-the-scenes of The Women to learn, first-hand, how Hollywood creates the images we see on screen, highlighting the work and people involved in making a major motion picture come to life. I liked how she got to interview the movie stars and learned what they thought was real beauty. And believe it or not, they've also had "beauty problems" when growing up. It really challenges today's beauty stereotypes. Go over to Dove.com and watch it. If you have a daughter, watch it with her.
MAMAS PARENTING TIP
So, what are we going to teach our children about REAL beauty?
- Teach them they are a child of God. They have divine potential and their body is a gift from God.
- Tell them they are beautiful and say it often. Have you told your daughter today that she is beautiful?
- Expose the truth about how models they see in advertisement look beautiful. It's not all natural. There is make-up and digital touch ups.
- Teach them that beauty does NOT equal happiness. To be happy is a choice.
- Real friends accept us for who we are. Not only accept us, but support us. Real friends celebrate our unique differences, not try to clone us to be one of them.
- HECK with the boys that do not have x-ray eyes to see through our physical appearance. Those kind of relationships don't last long.
- Confidence and positive character enhances beauty.
- Give them the bad news -- that most people's idea of beautiful are dictated by what they see in the media. That's why it's important to know the difference between "manufactured beauty" and "REAL beauty."
- ALSO, you as their mother should think yourself as beautiful too.
p.s BTW, Dove has a campaign called "The Dove Campaign For Real Beauty." Go to www.campaignforrealbeauty.com to read personal views of other women on the topic.