I don’t know about you, but for me 5th grade was a big year. I got my first period in the girls’ bathroom, learned what it was to “be a woman” from a gymnasium video, and started wearing a bra to contain my burgeoning breasts.
It wasn’t too long after 5th grade that the most dreaded, feared and abhorrent affliction known to teenagers fell upon me – acne. If you wanted to be nice about it, you’d call those angry, red bumps blemishes. That sounds so much more civilized than zits or pimples and somehow, French. I subscribed to Teen, YM, and a couple of other magazines, scouring the pages for advice for my “troubled skin.” I was troubled indeed. I tried nearly every pharmaceutical combination known to dermatologists and even a series of torturous facials. By the time I graduated high school, covering those pustules became a full-time obsession.
Though my mom questioned why I wouldn’t leave the house without make-up, even to schlep to the grocery store with her, we never talked about the toll my skin condition wreaked on my psyche I even try some good skin tightener and other products to improve it. Talking about how I loathed my skin would not have eliminated my insecurity, but it could have been an opportunity to talk about self-esteem and what it means to be beautiful. We might have discussed the many gorgeous assets, inside and out, that I should have given more thought.
These are the types of conversations that Dove is encouraging during its third annual Self Esteem Weekend taking place October 5 – 7. To kick off the weekend, they have organized a march in silence to the heart of Times Square to represent all the conversations that don’t take place about beauty anxiety.
What does this mean to you and I? It’s a reminder to plant seeds of encouragement in our preschoolers now, helping them understand ALL the ways that they are beautiful. It’s arming ourselves with the tools we need to talk to our kids when we see them struggling with feeling less than, whether it’s having red pigtails when all the other kindergarteners have flowing, Rapunzel locks or not speaking up in class because they have a blemished cheek.
Talking isn’t the solution for childhood insecurities, but it’s an outlet and a salve to soothe the hurts.
Visit Facebook.com/Dove to access free tools and resources to motivate and inspire a girl in your life, including the “Let’s Talk” toolkit.
This post was sponsored by Dove.