There is an ad campaign out and about right now that aims to say to women, “You are more beautiful than you think.”
This seemingly simple and positive message is creating quite a bit of buzz. Some people love the campaign, some people hate it. Some poke fun at it and many criticize it for not going far enough.
As a woman who has struggled greatly with issues of self esteem, self confidence, and self love, the whole controversy interests me. I don’t yet know where I stand on it but it is almost cathartic for me to think through and define my position.
As your mother, however, the campaign and the surrounding controversy… well it scares me. It reminds me of how desperately important it is that I pay particular attention to how I talk with you, around you, and about you. How incredibly important it is that I pay attention to what I show you and how I frame things for you. How my role now is to guide you and protect you, but, mostly, to arm you so that you may walk down a path different than the one I traveled.
I want you to watch this ad someday and find yourself shaking your head and scoffing,“Yeah, I know I’m beautiful. This ad is silly.” And I want you to know what makes you beautiful. I want you to be able to describe it.
I want you to know that you are crazy smart and witty and and there is a brilliance to how you learn and know and remember.
But you are not just ‘the smart girl’ with the beautiful brain.
You are exceedingly caring and kind in a way that is mature far beyond your years and there is the most genuine quality about how you nurture and love that attracts people to you.
But you are not just ‘the sweet girl’ with the beautiful heart.
You have a presence that is comforting and calming, while energizing at the same time and your spirit spreads smiles like wildfire.
But you are not just ‘the spiritual girl’ with the beautiful soul.
You have thick, dark, sleek hair and big, deep, brown eyes that pop and sparkle and, already, people tell you that you are beautiful.
But you are not just ‘the pretty girl’ with the beautiful features.
You are smart and kind and spiritual and beautiful.
These words are your armor against the images and insults and negativity that is out there in the world. Believe these words. They are true.
They are true of you. And, as your mother, I am beginning to accept that they are true of me too.
All my love,