Thursday, 28 July 2011

Pretty Harmful

I am cross with myself for even giving today’s “research” a second thought, but I just can’t help it because I disagree so strongly.  I spotted a tweet by @Working_Mum of Adventures of a Working Mum and clicked the link to the Daily Mail. Some might say it’s my own fault!
It seems grown-ups are not to tell little girls that they’re pretty any more, for fear of turning them all into bimbos who think the only measure of success in life is one’s looks.  Drivel. The book is called “Think: Straight Talk For Women To Stay Smart In A Dumbed-Down World,” and it sounds to me like it’s missing a huge point about self-esteem.
By telling your daughter she looks beautiful, or that she’s wearing a pretty dress, are we really encouraging an obsession with appearance?  Perhaps if you only ever comment on how she looks, but not as part of balanced positive feedback.  Mummy tells me that I’m beautiful every day.  She tells me that I look sensational, but she also comments on how clever I am and praises me for working things out or doing things myself.
There might be a worrying increase in pyschological problems, but I’m pretty confident that I won’t become one of those statistics.  At least, not because Mummy tells me I’m pretty.  It seems to be that any obsessions with appearance are more likely to come from the constant media bombardment of comment and photos of celebrities.  Has the skinny little waif put on a couple of pounds?  So-and-so steps out in “no make-up disaster.” “Another wardrobe malfunction,” and so on.  It’s this incessant coverage and ridicule that is going to cause more trouble for people, surely?  In fact, if by the time I’m old enough to look at that sort of magazine I’m confident enough in myself, it’ll cause me no trouble at all.
The report says that teenage breast implants are up 150% year on year.  And that’s because mummies tell their babies they’re pretty?  Nonsense.
As for compliments being detrimental to my perception of myself, how on Earth can me thinking I’m worth something possibly be a bad thing?  When I enter a room now and people smile at me, it’s building my social confidence.  That confidence will grow and I’ll be self-assured enough to try things.
Here endeth today’s rant! 


  1. CB,have to agree total nonsense. You need to give praise to help with self esteem otherwise a child will feel worthless. The media is the one to blame for making little girls feel like they need to look like Barbie and marry someone rich..

  2. Agree with you 100%, I tell my daughter and my son every day how beautiful they both are. Seriously what is this world coming too when we can't even tell our child how beautiful they are! Grrrr! xx

  3. Completely agree. One thing that I do find weird is the whole 'sexy' thing. I don't know if you have ever heard a Dad say to their little girl, 'alright sexy' but although I know they don't mean it in that way, it disturbs me. Why would you ever want your little girl to look 'sexy'. It is wrong wrong wrong. Pretty, beautiful, clever, amazing, I say all these things to my little girl :) x

  4. I totally agree, I tell my children they are beautiful every day x

  5. Thanks thesingingmummy and Love in the Nest - of course you should tell your babies how beautiful they are. The world is a funny place these days.

    Mum2babyinsomniac - I'm with you on the 'sexy' thing, that's just plain weird.

    Thanks, all, for stopping by. I do appreciate it.

  6. Nobody ever told me I was pretty when I was a child. I was 'the clever one' in the family.

    The first time I heard I was pretty was when I was 16 and a boy I fancied told me, "You're very pretty but I don't want to go out with you." It was a revelation!

    Now I tell my son and my nieces how gorgeous they are at every opportunity.

  7. Thanks minibreakmummy. I'm sorry to hear you never heard you were pretty when you were little. I don't understand why it has to be one or the other. I'm glad you're taking a different approach the little people in your life.


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