You are all the books you read, and all the words you speak’
In a world obsessed with looks, we have to ask ourselves, are we teaching our girls the life skills necessary for a balanced and happy life? Girls specifically because of the “female objectification” excuse that seems to be cropping up in comments everywhere in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Girls today, perhaps more than any other time with the rise of social media sites, are under pressure to emulate the air brushed perfection and beauty of celebrities and socialites. But are these are the wrong things to be striving for?
Don’t we have a responsibility to teach our girls to be smart, talented, resourceful, and funny as well as pretty? Teach them to strive to be leaders and influencers and an inspiration to others.
Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to reach for the stars instead of the mascara?
Shouldn't their role models be ground-breaking and inspirational women like Malala Yousafzai who survived a murder attempt by the taliban and now is a human rights activist, championing education for girls; or Valentina Tereshkova who was the first woman in space in 1963; a time when many women didn’t even work, rather than reality TV personalities and the Kardashians? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them to stop taking selfies and start playing sports, reading, contributing to society, and learning new skills. Don’t we have a responsibility to stop the culture of self-obsession and nurture the inspirational women of the future.
Resist the urge to compliment a girl solely on her looks. Instead, show interest in what she’s learning at school, ask what her favourite subjects are, and if she has any hobbies. What she wants to be when she grows up. That way she will realise she is valued for more than just her appearance.
I know it’s difficult. The media relentlessly force feeds us images of impossible ideals of perfection, and deliberately promotes the exploitation of women because sex sells.
But what about everything else women have to offer? When did how we look begin to determine who we are? Campaigning for women’s rights and bridging the gender inequality gap should be our priority instead of buying into airbrushed distractions. If we don’t try to change things for our girls now, how will we answer to the generations to come?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best possible version of ourselves, so long as we’re doing it for ourselves and no one else. And as long as we recognise that beauty is not a recipe for happiness, status, or success. A culture based on looks is inherently toxic. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy, stress, and in extreme cases, depression. After all, looks fade. And if we don’t first love and accept ourselves, how can we begin to expect others to do the same?
At AER Medical, the ethos is to enhance natural beauty and healthy skin, along with and inner beauty and self development. Be your best self all day, every day so you can focus on changing the world.
By Farrah Khan Al Mousawi