Your real beauty


My girl,

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.

camera face

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.

girl and ball

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,


  1. This ad has certainly sparked a lot of discussion. I love the belief that beauty comes from not just one thing, but many things mixed together.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..Michael Bublé is Freaking His EarsMy Profile

  2. This is a beautiful post! With three daughters myself, Dove’s ad campaign has hit a little too close to home for me, too.

  3. This is so beautiful. With these words and your own beauty, I’m sure your daughter will grow up
    knowing she is beautiful in many ways.

  4. What a beautifully written post. I personally loved the ad campaign. When I watched the video, it made me cry. But that’s because I am also someone that lives with self-image issues. I ache for my daughter every time she says that she’s ugly or stupid. It breaks my heart to hear her say such things, when I know she’s not either. Thank you for this. It’s a reminder to me to tell her these things often. Hopefully they’ll rub off.

    Stopped by from SITS today.
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  5. I love what you say about those words being your girl’s armor…and more importantly, her belief in those words. I think when we get our kids to believe in themselves, in the most deep seated sort of way, then they see their beauty for what it truly is versus some distorted view. This is a beautiful letter. I hope your daughter gets to read it one day!
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  6. What a lovely blog entry. I really admire your thoughtful approach to this topic which is also very close to my heart, as a mother of three daughters! I know there are various “real” beauty campaigners out there, as in women who ask the media to represent many types of physical beauty in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours… but they never seem to get any real traction! Why?? We are still largely presented with a stereotypical version of beauty, plus the occasional slightly larger lady who is clearly labelled “real beauty” which always seems like a bit of an apologetic explanation to me… anyway, I liked your piece, so thank you, and do keep writing about your wonderfully insightful approach to raising your humans. x Kate

  7. This is breathtakingly beautiful. I congratulate you for wanting your daughter to understand her beauty, more than you did. When I become a mom, I am almost terrified of raising a daughter, because of the way our society has become. Although, all the models are airbrushed anyway, but impressionable tween and teen girls don’t always know that. I was lucky enough to be relatively thin, and never had any real issues with my weight, but seeing some of my thin friends become anorexic really scared me as a teen. Raising your daughter to realize her beauty is the best gift a mom can give her.
    This is amazing, keep on raising humans…you’re a great mom.

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  8. Wonderful post, very touching. As a mother of a boy I am working hard to make sure he recognizes and seeks real beauty, but not beauty defined by clothes, makeup, jewelery, or what society says is beautiful.
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  9. Beauty is within us and it shines when we least expect it. I want my kids to know that true beauty is on the inside and the outside means nothing if the insides are ugly. Great post stopping over from SITS Sharefest

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