Have “The Talk” With Girls About Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is sort of a bizarre topic for me. Not that I don’t take it seriously, but that my own personal story of self-esteem is unevenly peppered with peaks and pitfalls. 

I think it’s safe to say I’ve written extensively here about my own self-image, first for the highly popular post Standing on My Own Two Feet, then a few months ago, right after I did the BlogHer ’12 Fashion Show.

Still, it seems to be a very sensitive topic for women, young and old, and I feel it’s a responsibility for adults like me to share personal stories like those linked above, in order to help defeat the pervasive notion that there is only one precise standard of beauty.

That’s why I’m especially proud to partner with Dove for what I believe is a truly inspired campaign!

Dove is leading a bilingual campaign called “Let’s Talk” (“Hablemos”) through their Web sites “Making Life Better” and “Vive Mejor.” The initiative offers tips and resources that might be helpful when talking to a young girl about self-esteem issues.

Why do I feel strongly about this campaign?

 

Well, the easy answer for me is that I’ve lived with self-esteem issues all my life, and am making it only because of a wonderful, solid support system.

But, don’t take my word for it. Instead, let’s look at some disturbing facts shared by Dove:

 

  • Six out of 10 girls will stop doing the things they love because they feel bad about their looks.
  • 72 percent of girls ages 10 to 17 feel “tremendous pressure” to be beautiful
  • Only 11 percent of girls ages 10 to 17 are comfortable using the word “beautiful” to describe themselves
  • When feeling bad about their physical appearance, more than 60 percent of girls globally (ages 15 to 17) will avoid normal daily activities, like “attending school, going to the doctor, or even giving their opinion.”

Say what?

Take it from someone who knows the pain all too well—this is unacceptable.

We have the responsibility, as a community, (and I mean “community” in a very broad sense! We’re all in this.) to let all young girls know just how strong, beautiful and smart they are—how capable they are. 

If we don’t act fast—we risk feeling the loss of this next generation of women in the STEM fields, in the arts, in sports, in politics—in everything.   

What is Dove doing about this?

 

Several big-name organizations that help girls have partnered with Dove, including Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs.

More than half of girls around the world say that their mother is their number one female role model. Moms can take this opportunity to talk to their daughters about beauty. According to Dove, something as simple as starting a conversation can make a difference in self-esteem.

“Let’s Talk” is also the theme of Dove Self-Esteem Weekend, which will take place October 5-7, across the nation. Dove’s partner organizations will be hosting events around the country. Wal-Mart stores will set up designated areas where women can stop by and share an encouraging message with girls.  

We can also do our part online by joining the conversation on Facebook and on Twitter by using the hashtag #DoveInspired.

Maybe my own turbulent childhood– filled with equal parts encouragement from my family, and ostracism from my peers– is the reason why I never hesitate to tell my young cousins, ages 10 and 8, just how beautiful they are and how proud I am of their accomplishments so far. This isn’t difficult for me to do, as I am very proud of them and love them.

I feel if I indulge them with praise and encouragement, have nothing to lose.

But we have everything to gain. 

 

**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dove and Latina Bloggers Connect and I will be compensated. All ideas and opinions are my own. 

© 2012, Laurita. All rights reserved.

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