Have you seen this article on how to talk to girls? It’s an oldie but a goodie, and I rediscovered it the other day and read it again.
I love the message behind the post, that we should try to avoid bringing attention to young girls looks/hair/clothes/sparkly shoes as our first comment when we meet them. At first glance, there may not seem like there is anything wrong with a “Oh wow how cute is your dress!?”.
But thinking about it further, it reinforces the largely image-focused way in which we value girls and women in western society.
Eating disorders are starting younger and younger, girls are taking nude selfies before they have even hit puberty, and there are even lingerie lines for 4 years olds. Unfortunately, society is still overwhelmingly focused on sexualising women (yet slut shaming them at the same time), reinforcing unrealistic standards of beauty, and finding fault with diverse body types and looks.
So perhaps the next time you chat to a 6yr old wearing an adorable tutu, stop for a moment before you comment on how pretty she is.
Consider asking her what she wants to be when she grows up…does she know about the amazingly cool Misty Copeland who challenged ballet’s typical look…what is her favourite book…does she have any skills to show off? And sit back and marvel in all that she has to offer beyond her cute clothes.