There’s so much to instill in girls to help them grow into independent, happy, grounded and well-adjusted women. Something that I have been working with for a long time is allowing my daughter to make her own choices around the clothes she wears, how she does her hair and what accessories she wears (if any).
I do my best to approach her well thought out choices with an attitude of acceptance. I believe it’s vitally important that girls, from a young age, learn how to make choices over their own bodies. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to have her choices over personal appearanceridiculed or denied, because of another person’s personal preferences, a societies belief systems, or a schools need for conformity.
I want her to be able to stand up strong for herself if someone, at any age, is trying to force her to look acertain way, or do a certain thing. Not just peers, or romantic partners but institutions and strangers as well. How can we expect our girls to grow into strong women if we teach them from the age of 0 that other people get more input into what they look like and how they express themselves?
“I want to raise a daughter who feels like she can say “NO”, when someone is trying to make her do something to her body that she doesn’t like…”
I am raising a child who hopefully won’t get too snowed under by peer pressure as she gets older, who won’t regret her first sexual experiences because she didn’t think she was allowed to say “NO” to something she didn’t like or wasn’t ready for. If society keeps telling her that she has to give up her voice, her wildness, and her uniqueness to fit in and be a ‘good girl’ what do we think is going to happen?
Letting her choose her clothes, her hairstyle, whether she wants piercings or not may seem like unimportant things to some, but for me these choices are providing a vital foundation for her future as a self empowered teenager and woman. One who knows who she is, understands what she likes, knows how to trust her intuition and DOESN’T REQUIRE APPROVAL from others to feel validated and worthy.
I know this can make it harder for parents and schools but these are the foundational years, this is when it matters, we can not tell them what to do and how to look and how to act for the first 18 years of their lives and as soon as they are adults expect them to make choices that will not compromise their integrity or put them in dangerous situations. We have to be unified in the messages we send to girls and women throughout all of their years even if it looks a bit messy at times.
As International Women’s Day comes and goes for another year I hope that my daughter is realising every day that how she looks is only her business, that she is beautiful regardless of what is happening on the outside and that her family and friends will love & respect her, no matter what she wears on her body, in her hair or anywhere….