Dear Daughters: This Is What I Want To Teach You About Your Bodies
To my darling little daughters,
You are only five and seven, but every day you're bombarded with unrealistic-looking dolls, gender-specific pink plastic toys, Princesses in movies that can't be happy until they look pretty enough to meet their Prince (looking at you Cinderella), music videos of pop idols that are waaaay too suggestive for your innocent eyes, and images of women's bodies plastered provocatively over everything. And to top it all off, a mum with body fears she tries to hide from you, who can't leave the house without wearing make-up to enhance her looks...
Oh, the things I wish I had known before I was influenced growing up...
Please believe me when I tell you beauty is a state of mind, not body.
Learn to love your body shape, but don't LOVE your body. Just accept it. Don't obsess or over-value it, don't idolise it, or create a fetish of an ideal you want it to conform to.
Your body WILL be different to others. We are not clones of one another; you DON'T have to look the same as others girl, especially girls behind fake Instagram filters, girls with exaggerated pouting lips, girls who think they have to look like porn stars to please men. Most of all, look beyond a celebrity's body and know that they have to live with the expectation of perfection – that is their job (and they have a team of people who help them achieve this). Your imperfections are what make you unique.
Your heart, your mind, your creativity are WAY more important than your body.
In your life, you will be bombarded by naked body images, this will make you think women's bodies look like they are purely for the sexual gratification and consumption of others, but they are not. Your body is not anyone else's property but your own.
Don't eat your feelings, talk about them, express them.
The secret to life is learning to let go of the things you can't control; your body is one of those things.
Kindness makes you more beautiful than make-up.
The most important relationship in your life is with yourself – learn to have a good sense of yourself, and what makes you happy.
Food is a joy, not an enemy. Love your food, enjoy every bite, choose healthy choices, and don't relate food choices to your emotions.
Don't look for anyone's approval about how you look – create your own identify, be different, be unique, wear whatever the hell you want.
Trust your body – if something isn't working right, it's your body's way of telling you something is wrong physically or emotionally.
Be active - dance, swim, cycle, walk, skip, be silly, enjoy what your body can do and h0w great it feels to move. Fitness is way more importance than being slim.
I will try my best to work on my own negative body associations and have a healthy attitude to my body as an example to you so you can blossom into happy, self-assured young women focused on what really matters in life.
Love, always, your adoring mama x