June 29, 2011

How to Talk to Girls

Lisa Bloom had an article in the Huffington Post last week about How to Talk To Little Girls that brought up what I think is a very valid consideration.

How often to do we see little girls and immediately compliment them on her pretty dress or beautiful smile?  It's pretty standard small-talk with the little ones in our society.  I know I'm guilty here.

My adorable AND intelligent cousin, Alex.
Is there anything inherently wrong with telling a little girl that she's pretty?  Of course not.  But Bloom is worried that all of our attention to physical appearance has adverse effects on these girls as they age.  She's concerned, as we all should be, about young girls dieting, wearing makeup, getting cosmetic surgery, having negative self-esteem.  

Instead, Bloom suggests that you ask that little girl to tell you about her favorite book.  Connect with her on an intellectual level so she feels appreciated for her ideas rather than her pretty, blue eyes.

I definitely agree that we should remember to praise our girls for being polite, caring, creative, smart, etc., but I don't think it's bad to also tell them they are beautiful. In our society, there's no getting around the fact that girls are going to be bombarded with messages about beauty.  And when my daughters are questioning their appearances because they don't meet some unrealistic standard they see in a magazine, I would want them to hear my voice in their head reminding them over and over again that they are, indeed, beautiful. 


  1. I think it has to be balanced. My parents swung to the complete opposite end of the spectrum. They never told me I was pretty, but were always connecting with me on an intellectual level. So I knew I was smart (and became very conceited about it, in fact), but I also thought that I was ugly because no one ever told me I was pretty. It took me a really long time to get over that hurdle.

  2. I definitely agree. I just think that in an appearance-focued society, we should be conscious of hitting the character traits even harder.