People often think that by not exposing girls to the images and information that’s out there, they are protecting them. No matter how hard we try to limit what our young girls see, they’ll likely find it anyway.
The best defense is exposure and discussion.Working in the talent industry, even I have been surprised to see the behind-the-scenes actions of the women we see on magazine covers. The truth is, although they’re beautiful girls, the images on magazine covers, billboards, commercials andTV shows are very different than that of the real people.The real people are like the rest of us. Using Photoshop is great; it can slim waistlines, take away scars and wrinkles, change miles, make hair fuller, teeth whiter, eyes brighter and make skin look virtually perfect.The reality is no one looks like that in everyday life.I recently sat down with my niece to talk about some of these things.Not only was she surprised to see that these women are just like you and me, but she was also surprised to hear that they also struggle with body image.
Even the most beautiful girls sometimes get out of bed and think to themselves, “I’m not good enough.”As mentors to young girls, it’s not only important for us to have a healthy body image, but also for us to be honest about our own insecurities.We shouldn’t be afraid to say, “It’s hard for me sometimes, too.”By helping young girls find mentors that are “real people,”we help them foster a positive self-image that goes a long way toward healthy development.Involving girls in activities in which they find empowering and honest role models is paramount. Modeling nutritious eating, a healthy self-image and active involvement is critical.
Finally, we shouldn’t diminish the idea that young girls have a specific image in mind of who they want to be.We should never respond negatively.This will only pull them away from us.Embrace this first and then help them find healthy ways they can get there.
To read more about this topic download the maskmatters app and read the Healthy Selfie issue. Available on Apple and Google Play