My daughter loves the colors purple and pink. She loves dressing up and carrying purses but she detests someone brushing her hair. I’ve decided to not make it “a thing” and honor her decision. Both her grandmothers and father on the other hand do not agree. They like a combed and presentable child and I have to admit she looks rather cute with her hair done up in pigtails.
With their encouragement, she has started to want her hair combed and put up. The shocking part about this isn’t her sudden interest in personal hygiene but her new perspective on the word, “pretty.” She has thrown tantrums before bed because her hair wasn’t “pretty” and combed. She’s refused to wear a hat in the harsh Alaskan weather because it didn’t look, “pretty.” The worse part is that she thinks the word pretty can only be used when she has her hair done and is dressed in a cut outfit.
This freaked me out. I am not that into my looks. I enjoy dressing up but can feel confident and okay without make-up and doing my hair. I wasn’t sure what to think of my daughter’s new interest with the P-word.
I did what I normally do, I Googled, “Should I tell my daughter she is pretty?” What I learned is that other parents are wondering the same thing and there is not a distinct answer. One article noted that you should tell your daughter that she is beautiful or she will find acceptance of her looks in harmful ways. Another article explained that we should praise our daughters for their actions and not their looks at all.
The internet wasn’t much help so I decided to ask a few close friends. There answers were similar to the Internet. They agreed that we shouldn’t focus too much on calling our daughters beautiful but not ignore it completely. One of my friend’s suggestions however, caught me off guard. Her perspective was actually in line with what I’ve been working on as an adult woman. Her thoughts focused around what beauty means in the realm of the divine feminine. She explained that as a woman our bodies are beautiful and they should be celebrated and wearing makeup and dressing up is one of the ways to do this. My interest was piqued.
I’ve been on a quest to learn more about the divine feminine and my relationship to the word Goddess so back to a Google search I went! In my research, a new understanding started to emerge.
I decided that I want to raise a daughter that is okay with her natural beauty but also accept her interest in fixing her hair or wearing makeup. I want her to understand that she can enhance her features and use the brush and makeup as tools for self-expression.
How do I teach her this radical new approach to beauty? How do I deflect society’s message that you must do these things to gain the approval of others. I have to first look into my own motives and lead by example. Is this enough and how do I react to my families comments about my daughter’s beauty? Do I let them slide or try to gently educate them?
I’d love to hear from others on how they have addressed beauty and their young daughters? What types of conversations have you had with them? How do you model using beauty as art? Because in my mind, she the most beautiful thing I have ever seen…especially with her unconventional hair.