In today's society, it's become common for people to talk negatively about themselves, in particular their appearance, as a shortcut for expressing emotional upset. Sometimes when feeling sad or lonely or lacking in energy, girls express this as feeling 'fat' or 'ugly'. But neither fat nor ugly is a feeling, and speaking in this way blunts our girls' emotional vocabulary and places undue emphasis on looks.
This negative body talk can also make it feel like it's not polite to accept a compliment, or that talking about what we're good at will be seen as boasting or vanity. But recognising your talents and allowing yourself to value these characteristics is important to developing positive self-esteem. This is why we created The Real Me activities – to help her be confident in her strengths and abilities and value those talents in her friends as well.
With this video and challenge, you can encourage your daughter to break down the barriers and talk openly and confidently about her appearance.
In the film, when we asked women about their flaws, they answered very quickly but then struggled to find things they liked about themselves. Have you ever found it difficult to speak about the things you like about yourself?
It's easy to talk negatively about ourselves, but what about all those special things that make us unique? With this activity, ask your daughter to write about herself, her family and her talents. Why not try doing this activity together?
How to express The Real Me
1. Ask your daughter to find a photo of herself she likes and print it out on paper or on the 'The Real Me' template that you can download here.
2. Now find a big piece of paper and fix the picture at the top with glue or tape.
3. We've started four statements below. Read through each one carefully and help your daughter to think about answers for each.
4. Together write out each statement on the paper and fill in the blanks. If she can't find the words, she could always draw something instead.
'I am unique in many ways. These include...'
'Three things I enjoy doing… '
'Three things I'm good at…'
'Things I'm really proud of about my family's background and culture…'
5. When The Real Me poster is complete, why not suggest your daughter share this activity with her friends, to encourage them to think positively about all the things that make them unique.
Encourage your daughter to talk about what makes her unique: in a world of hype and stereotypes, it's important for your daughter to recognise that beauty isn't simply about how she looks – it's about how she feels. Encourage her to recognise and vocalise the great things that make her who she is.
Pay your daughter compliments regularly:
talk to your daughter about what she's interested in and what she's good at. Give her specific compliments that don't relate to her appearance so that she learns to value other accomplishments and personality traits beyond her looks.
Set a good example:
try to talk positively about your own body in front of your daughter and use the right emotional vocabulary to express how you're feeling – for example, 'I feel tired' or 'I feel stressed' not 'I feel fat'. Challenge your daughter to express herself more accurately if you hear her describing her emotions this way.
What do you like about your body?
Dove Real Beauty Sketches
Jess Weiner CEO of Talk To Jess and Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador
Article date: 27 June 2013
Review date: 27 June 2014
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