Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Five Things I'm Doing To Save My Daughter

And by saving I mean sparing her, to the best of my ability, from a lifetime of body image problems and feelings of inadequacy that stem from a media-influenced, unrealistic (and I dare say fascistic) ideal of beauty.

1. Turn off the television. Or get rid of it. Some of the ways it influences a young mind are so insidious that they are hard to spot, and are not limited to MTV or commercials.
2. Never criticize my own perceived body flaws or weight in front of her. This has a huge impact, trust me. I still remember seeing the ads for little pink heart-shaped diet pills they used to advertise in the back of my mother' magazines when I was four or five years old.
3. Emphasize education, especially math and science. Young people, and girls especially, are made to believe that looks and material possessions are what is important. Watch any television show and you'll quickly see why.
4. Don't let Bratz or other such dolls or toys that sexualize youth into our home. Give her things to engage her mind and creativity, not buy into blind materialism.
5. Convince her father that "feminism" is not a dirty word. And speaking of "dirty," also convince him to never use this term when referring to any part of her or her actions. (While he was changing her diaper once she innocently put her hand between her legs- she was eight months old, mind you- and he actually said "No, that is dirty!" and moved her hand. I was shocked.)He had no idea how this pejorative use of the word could negatively affect her.

What are five things you are doing to save your daughter?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's so funny about #4 because before my Lillian was even born, I told my whole family that Bratz dolls are our of the question. This very practical list of guidelines reaffirmed what my husband and I participate in with our daughter. We share Bible stories with her too, and tell her how much Jesus loves her. Two of his best friends were Mary and Martha. Thank you for this!

Anonymous said...

I agree...I think that clothing is an issue too, and not just the suggestive ones, but also shirts with taglines like "Boys Suck" or other things that pit girls against boys. My daughter will not wear that type of clothing.

Anonymous said...

we got rid of the tv when our daughter was 4 months old, and it's the best thing we ever did.

the UNdesperate Housewife said...

Great post. I hate the clothes that put words across the backside of a girls behind....

storkwearhouse said...

Thank you for this awesome list. My daughter turns 3 on Friday - I'm so interested in helping her grow up without issues being passed down from generations before!

Angela said...

For me, #2 has had more impact than all the others combined. I grew up in the 80's in a Christian home with no television, too poor to buy "store-bought" clothes that had anything to do with underaged sexiness, and my sister and i never owned a barbie. So, what reason would I have to criticize my body, or any other woman's?

My mother, constantly saying how fat she was (she modeled a bit before having 4 great kids, and looks great at 61 now.) She did the old "what would I look like with a facelift?" routine in the mirror most days, and generally let me know at all times that she was not satisfied with herself due to not meeting up to a supposed "ideal". This destroyed whatever message she tried to impart otherwise, as children truly are more clued into who we are than what we say we believe.

Thanks for the post!

Nic said...

Great topic. I am pregnant with my first - a boy, but credit my mom and dad for bringing me up with confidence. #2 was huge - I don't ever remember my mom criticizing herself (or anyone in the family) for appearances. The other biggie for me - I was very involved in playing sports from a young age. Growing up with an understanding of the physical joy and abilities of my body gave me great confidence in my own body, and later, in relationships. I now coach girls sports because I believe in what it can do for self-image, especially for pre-teens and adolescents.

Justjill said...

I had a similar incident with my daughter reaching for herself and my husband telling her don't touch that...your hands are dirty! I was so proud.

Luschka said...

This is a GREAT list. I wish we could get rid of the TV, but DH isn't keen. As a compromise, it isn't on when our daughter is awake. The biggest thing to me is the Bratz and Barbie dolls. I've said for years we'll never have them in our house. So far so good. But thanks for the point about your mother's self image. I have never considered it, and it's a point well made.

Anonymous said...

OMG! with number 5 you reminded me of my mother. Everything is bad and I grew up soo confused. When you said the thing about ur little one putting her hand between her legs and ur hubby saying it was bad. My mom has told me sevral times that I need to bathe my daughter in undies. She is 6 months old and even if she was older who bathes in undies?!?!?! So I asked why and she said it looks bad...WHAT?!?! Why?? It just amazes me...

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