TRUE BEAUTY........What lies are our girls being fed ?
by Leeanne Reeves
What is REAL beauty ? Who defines REAL beauty ? Where are our girls sourcing their perception of REAL beauty? Are they being misled by what society the media and those in positions of influence portray as REAL?
As a mum of 4 teenage girls I am more than aware of the pressures and influences our girls are bombarded with on a daily basis. I see and experience the doubt and stress, the wounding of self esteem, the questioning of their worth all tied to the way they look. Am I wearing the right clothes ? Does my hair look ok ? Do I have pimples ? My eyes are the wrong colour ! Am I thin enough ? I'm too fat ! The list is unbelievable and what's worse is that the validation of these perceived flaws is given by their peers, friends who struggle daily with the same issues. In a desperate attempt to feel good about themselves they are resorting to pointing out one anothers flaws.
Eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia are on the rise and the girls ( and boys ) suffering are getting younger. What does this say about our society and what we deem as important ? Our children, like never before are exposed from an alarmingly young age through all forms of media and advertising, to an unrealistic standard of beauty, visual beauty. Our girls are sexualized from an alarmingly young age, just take a look at the underwear section at the shops for what they call "tweens", a burgeoning market priming our girls to think "sexy". What was once seen as inappropriate to screen at certain times on television no longer seems to be an issue, everywhere you look our kids are being inundated with lies and fantasy. They are being fed an unrealistic view of what beauty really is. They expect the FANTASY and are chasing after it.
What can we do to combat the negative influences our kids are exposed to ? We can't lock them away from the world, it's impossible to shelter them from everything undesirable and they need to learn to make positive and healthy choices on their own.
A healthy self esteem stems from knowing who you are, being comfortable in your own skin and understanding the meaning of TRUE beauty. Some are blessed with a visual beauty and that's ok but we can all be RADIANT- vividly bright and shining expressing love, happiness and health. I believe this is the essence of TRUE beauty, lasting and genuine, evident in old age when time has altered our visual appearance.
As parents all we can really endeavor to do is to instill an understanding of what RADIANT BEAUTY is in our children every day. To positively reinforce attributes other than physical appearance and point them to the One who created them perfectly and wondrously.
We can also have a voice collectively by speaking out against the negative influences where and whenever we are presented with the opportunity to do so. It takes courage to be bold........But what is at stake? I'd say its worth the effort !