It is urgent that we start loving. Loving ourselves in order to love others.
This motto, which is already engraved in the very DNA of this website, is the main idea in Renee Engeln’s book: “Beauty sick: How the cultural obsession with appearance hurts girls and women”, published in April 2017. Renee Engeln is Professor of Instruction in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, USA.
When a woman’s mental space is polluted by her insecurities, concern for her looks or lack of love for her self, it becomes challenging for her to truly look at and care for others.
When a mother’s mental space is polluted by her insecurities, concern for her looks or lack of love for her self, the first person to suffer is her daughter.
The mother’s perception of her own body will invariably shape her daughter’s perception of hers.
A mother who is obsessed with her weight will, unwillingly and subconsciously, pass her concern on to her daughter. Studies from the US have proven a correlation between a mother’s tendency to over-diet and a daughter’s tendency to begin dieting very early, at an average age of 11. Most similar statistics and testimonies clearly support this pattern.
Young women questionned by Renee Engeln believed most of their physical insecurities were born from their mothers’ own insecurities and not from the media or from unrealistic advertising, which both convey a normalized and pseudo-idealized conception of the woman’s body (though it is undeniable that they make the issue worse and especially later on in life).
For instance, some mothers are reluctant to display their bodies on the beach, others are much too aquainted with their weighing scale and others barely eat anything. All of the above has devastating effects on their daughters and impact the women that they become.
I’ve got a few golden rules that I try to follow every day.
The first one is a refusal to play the role of, as it is called in psychology, the rival mother (who is personified by all the step mothers in fairy tales). My beauty is not and will never be in competition with that of my children. My girls are very beautiful, it is therefore easy to compliment them – which I often do – but I wouldn’t want to make that their most predominant quality. That is why complimenting their beauty is often something that I do after having complimented many non-physical aspects of them.
The second rule is to weigh myself from time to time (once a month, once a year, it depends on the year really) and never complain about any insecurity but rather to highlight that everyone is beautiful in a different way: Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe could not have been more different and yet one was as irresistible as the other.
The third rule is to explain and discuss, again and again, all the risks that come with being exposed to social media, advertising, marketing and, more globaly, with the current place and self-image that come with being a woman in today’s society. I am always very happy to show my dear teen all of the failed, unflattering photos I have of myself after a photoshoot.
Last but not least, I never give one dimension more importance: we are not just a brain, just a heart or just a body, we are a beautiful combination and the end result is what makes our charisma. And nothing is more important than charisma 😉
Tara Jarmon dress – Missoni flat shoes – Vintage coral necklace, purse and hat – Bonton scarf – Face A Face sunglasses – Manolo Blahnik heels