Teaching Daughters About Beauty

A Father's Letter to His Daughter About Beauty

Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this letter from a father to his daughter about beauty.


Dear Susan,

Right now your biggest concern in life is figuring out how to get around the child-proof locks on the kitchen cabinets, but one day you will deal with much bigger issues. Being a woman, one of these will be the problem of beauty and the emphasis put on it by nearly everyone in the world.

You will soon learn that the world is obsessed with beauty. As a woman, you will be bombarded with magazines, ads and commercials full of beautiful people telling you that you're not pretty enough as you are. I wish I could tell you to ignore all of that, but it's naïve of me to think you can go the rest of your life immune to the barrage of "beauty tips" thrown out by complete strangers.

Related: Summer's Here and Bedtimes Are Shot to Hell

There are lots of clichés out there about beauty. "Beauty is only skin deep," "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," and so on, but as with most clichés, they say a lot but don't mean much. So here is some real, practical advice about beauty.

The definition of beauty is intentionally vague. Find your own meaning for it. Don't let somebody else define it for you.

From the day you were born, your mother and I have tried to tell you how beautiful you are. We have also tried to tell you how kind and caring you are. We value the last two much more than the first one.

One day somebody — it may even be one of your best friends — will tell you that something about you is ugly. Remember that just because one person says something negative about you doesn't mean everyone in the world feels that way. That works both ways, though. If you think somebody else is ugly, keep your mouth shut. Just because you think so doesn't mean somebody doesn't think he or she is the most beautiful person in the world.

Keep reading for the rest of this dad's letter to his daughter.

Also, whether you tell them to their face or not, calling someone ugly or fat reveals an ugliness in your soul that not even the prettiest smile can erase.

There may come a time when a boy breaks up with you and starts dating a girl you think is prettier than you. Don't sweat it. People like that are never satisfied with what they have, and there's no use trying to change them. Let him go chase the next best thing for the rest of his life.

Yes, beauty will get you certain things in life, mostly attention. Sometimes it's not good attention, and sometimes all it does is call attention to what you glaringly lack in other areas. Like personality.

There has never been a perfect person. NEVER. Everybody has something about their appearance they want to change, and there are lots of people out there who claim to have a way to correct those things. All those people want is your money. Don't part with your hard-earned cash just to buy a cure for what someone else labels an imperfection.

There's nothing wrong with throwing on a nice outfit and doing whatever you feel like to make yourself feel pretty. Just make sure that what you see in the mirror is what you like and not what somebody else will like.

When you ask your husband/fiancé/boyfriend the question, "Do I look pretty?" his answer should always be, without hesitation, "Yes" or some form of that. If he says anything else, he probably isn't right for you.

Do not end or begin a friendship based on that person's looks or style. Do not think that surrounding yourself with popular, attractive people will make your life any easier. Befriending people of different backgrounds who have a range of outlooks and goals in life, however, will make you a well-rounded person capable of connecting with folks from all walks of life. That's called a life skill.

Do not choose your role models based on looks, either. Or the fact that they’re on TV all the time. One of your mother's role models is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is an amazing lady. Google her.

If you can get up every morning, look in the mirror and be happy with how you look, you will have achieved something that few people in the world ever will. If you can look at your friends and see what makes each of them beautiful, you will wind up with more friends than you can count.

You should also know that your mother and I are not immune to any of these things. We have both broken several of these rules at some point in our lives, and if you ask, we will tell you how stupid we were and how negatively those decisions affected us. Yes, we have learned and grown from those mistakes, but sometimes the lessons are very hard and have irreparable consequences. I have at least one friendship that ended because I was unable to overlook how that person chose to dress.

Our hope is that you never have to experience that. But remember — no matter what you look like, what clothes you wear, what color your hair is, whether you have the expensive new shoes everyone else does or the cheap imitations, we love you.

And for the record, your mom's Jack Rogers aren't real. They're from Payless.

Love,
Dad

More great reads from BabyCenter:
Would You Be Terrified to Only Have Boys?
Do You Make Your Kids Do Summer Homework?
7 Easy Paper Plate Crafts
Can Copying and Tracing Make Kids Smarter?

Latest