I can recall, when I was in year 7, at age 12, doing an exercise where we had to anonymously write a positive or affirming note to all members of our class, and slip them into a paper bag labelled with their name.
I remember deeply considering what I wrote to the boys and girls in my class, but only wishing they wrote one of a few things in my bag: “You’re pretty” “you’re hot” “you’re skinny” were what I wanted to read.
What came back in my bag were “you’re so smart” “you’re funny” “you’re a great dancer” “you’re very kind” I remember wanting to cry. These things weren’t enough. I need to be skinny, pretty or “hot” to be worthy in my own mind, and these other (far more important) attributes just weren’t enough.
Why? Because at age 12 I had already been convinced by the media that as a woman it was more important for me to be skinny and pretty than smart, kind, caring, funny, etc.
Let’s teach our daughters, our friends, our nieces, our mums, sisters, cousins, grandmothers, colleagues, and all women around us that pretty / skinny / beautiful do not equal VALUABLE.
I don’t mean to exclude young men from this, but when you look at society, the value of looks and beauty is primarily placed on women, and men are rewarded for having other attributes. We can, however, teach our sons, brothers, dads, uncles, grandfathers, and male friends to appreciate the women around them, and see them for more than the immediate exterior.