I am a mother of two little girls and I really wouldn't have it any other way. I am very much a "girl" mum. We play dress up, we have tea parties and we dance around like crazy to Little Mix on full blast. But the girls are growing and Elle has now just turned 8. She has started to ask about makeup and talks about her boyfriends at school. Even though she is still quite young for her age, I cannot change the fact that she is in a class all day with 15 or so other girls who are also discovering makeup and boys.
I have always been very worried about bringing the girls up to love themselves and to see the real beauty in themselves and others. One of my biggest fears is that they will have body issues or not love themselves. This fear stems from my own experience. I have had body hang-ups and low self-confidence since I was 11. I would cut out pictures of pop stars who I thought looked skinny and beautiful and I would stick them in a big scrapbook. I would obsess over my own weight and ended up with a long term eating problem. As you can imagine, I will do anything that I can to not have my girls go through the same pain and the same agonising torture of hating themselves and wanting to be like the girls in magazines. I want them to love every part of themselves and know that they are loved for exactly who they are.
I wanted to really get a sense of how Elle sees herself and others and snuggled up with her the other night in bed to ask her about beauty. Here is how our conversation went.
"What do you find beautiful about how you look?"
- "I love my ginger hair because it is different. I love my freckles and I love my ginger eyelashes.
"What do you want to look like when you are an adult?"
- "I want to have long hair like Rapunzel down to the floor and I want lots more freckles.
"What do you think makes others beautiful?"
- "Their kindness!"
I had to hold back the tears when she said that. This little lady of mine is amazing. In every way. I will keep on telling her every single day that she is beautiful and that she has the kindest heart and i hope that she will always believe me.
This hope for my daughter is why I am supporting the #PledgeToBeReal campaign; and why I applaud Dove for signing on as a lead supporter. I am so passionate about there being realistic and natural role models for my girls to look up to. Not skinny models or airbrushed celebrities that are going to make them think that is how they should look. I want them to see diverse and real people and I want them to see people's inner beauty and be inspired by them.
Dove is supporting the launch of the Be Real Body Image Pledge on November 17th which is another commitment to helping women and young girls develop a positive relationship with the way they look. Dove have a self-esteem project page with information and examples of things that parents can do with their daughters.
Dove's research shows that it is not just me and my girls, in fact 7 out of 10 women and young girls believe that the media set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women cannot ever achieve. The research has also shown that 9 out of 10 women and young girls with low body-esteem have opted out of important activities, such as engaging with friends and family, participating in activities outside their home and trying out for teams and clubs.
It makes me so sad to think that so many of my daughters friends could grow up and develop low self-esteem because of the constant bombarding of messages of unrealistic body images that are everywhere you look right now. It is so important that we try and make a difference now so that our young daughters can grow up with the message that you do not need to look a certain way to be beautiful. You can support the Be Real Body Image Pledge by sharing your own stories on social media and using the hashtag #PledgeToBeReal and tagging @DOVEUK
(This post is sponsored by Dove. All words and opinions are my own.)