Why must we build them up so high?

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If you have followed us all summer you know the kid has been going to numerous library events. It has been great to give me a break. I normally sit and read. This particular day I forgot my book. I sat and talked with a friend in the teen section. On the table were some magazines. Gamer magazines and then Seventeen and one I had never seen before called Girl Life or GL. I remember Seventeen from when I was a teenager. My first thought was aww look. I glanced through the pages and it dawned on me that the kid would be into this soon. I started looking at it with a parenting eye. How do I protect her from this? Why are we still assaulting the self-esteem with this kind of stuff? I started thinking about how much these magazines damaged my self-esteem.

I have touched on this in the past. A teacher told my daughter she was tired of her mis-matched socks. We discussed it and confidence was restored. She has returned to wearing what she wants when she wants. I rarely tell her she does not match. Instead I often ask her why did you wear that outfit? Tell me about it? Sometimes its ” just because.” but often she has a reason. Some recent ones were : ” This pink matches the pink in my skirt and I like that. ” “because I like both of them and wanted to wear them.”

If you Google Teenage fashion, you get a decent mix. There are sites I would let her get her information from. Then there are ones that just the images attached to it, I know its not for us. She maybe like me and research it via Google. However the most likely is that one or all of theses magazines will get passed around. Why must we tell our teenage daughters they should never ever leave the house without make-up. How about telling them they are beautiful just the way they are. Skin care is a completely different subject. Lets teach them skin care and how to use make-up to accentuate their natural beauty if they so choose. Lets tell them that they don’t NEED make up. Lets remove the need to beat down the self-esteem via make-up. Let’s change it so that if you have to leave the house without makeup, no big deal. Let’s change it to, I am wearing these shoes because I want to. Let’s change it to – This is who I am.

I am okay with my daughter learning about make-up, fashion, skin care and such. I am not okay with these magazines telling her she needs to do this to fit in. I am not okay with her being told how to catch a guy. I am not okay with her being told what to wear and how to wear it to be “cool” or “popular”. I know its not new. I know many of us dealt with it growing up. I know many of our parents dealt with it growing up. The thing is- Does that make it okay? I can not help but be saddened that we still feel this is an acceptable thing. This is the thing that becomes gossip and we know how hurtful gossip can be. It took me well into my late twenties before I was comfortable with my fashion sense. All I can say about that now is ….WHY? And how do I fix this for my daughter? Can I fix this for my daughter?

I am not okay with her being told to catch the guy she wants, she needs to show some skin. I am not okay with her being told sexy means scantily clad.  After all , for all her faults, Marilyn Monroe was an extremely sexy woman without wearing scraps for clothes.

Teenagers are learning who they are. Why would we want to tell them who they are or restrict that expression of who they are by telling them  how to dress? Why would we tell them that look isn’t right for them? Especially if they do rock it! Do I like that my daughter dresses to match her mood? Not always. Sometimes I wish she would let me dress her and keep her cute and innocent and adorable.  However of all the things that will damage her self -esteem, fashion and make-up do not seem  important enough to do so.

I really hope she has a self-esteem that can look at these magazines and toss what doesn’t appeal to her. I hope she is able to stay true to herself without feeling guilty about it. I really hope I have built her up enough for her to say to the world, This is who I am and not care what others think.  I really hope that one day, individuality is appreciated and accepted.  I have some hope we will get there.  One day this quote won’t apply anymore.

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(image credit- google images)

It saddens me that we even have to do this. It is not that as a parent I would not build and work on a positive self-esteem with her.  It just saddens me that we have to fill it up so high because we know how hurtful and damaging the world is to self-esteem.  It saddens me we start assaulting their self-esteem so young.

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