As part of the Body Image Conversation series, I asked over 40 women what they’d like to transmit to their daughters, when it comes to body image. See, I’m quite convinced that we can change the game when it comes to how the next generation sees themselves―we can break the pattern that was transmitted to us by our elders, and equip our girls much more soundly than we ever were.
So what do we wish for our girls? Here are your words:
I want my daughter to know that to live and move and experience this life is a gift. Her body is her vehicle to live that life and it should be loved and nourished and cherished. I want her to laugh at the scale and scoff at growth percentiles and BMI. I want her to know that those things can’t measure her magic. ―Laurie
I just want my daughters to be happy with themselves. It’s totally ok to not like a part of your body, but to allow that to be your main focus will not be accepted. They can strive to change physical features of their bodies, but I will not let them change how they feel about themselves because of a physical feature. Ultimately, I want them to be happy and healthy and strong. I don’t want them to let anyone else decide how they should look or feel about how they look. ―Shelly
I want my daughter to view her body as strong, powerful and perfect just the way it is. I want her to respect herself and others and to see beyond appearances. I want her to take care of herself, not for aesthetic reasons but for her health and happiness. I want her to be able to understand and analyze the images that media send her day in and day out. ―Sandrine
How other people think you look doesn’t matter. You are amazing for the person you are and the things you can do. Your body allows you to do a hundred amazing things a day. Take care of it and love it every day. —Elizabeth
I want to tell my daughter that her gender doesn’t make her less. She has body confidence and it makes her angry to know she has to hide so that she isn’t victimized or thought less of. I want to tell her that I’m SO proud of her, and that the fight she fights now will be helpful to those around her even if it makes her feel out of place now. ―Rosa
I want my daughters to know that their body is beautiful at every age and stage of life. It doesn’t define who they are or what they will do. That there are no perfect bodies but that their body is perfect for them. And finally that they need to love their body and take care of it with proper nutrition and workouts; however that looks for them. —Michelle
I want my daughter to know that no matter what size or shape she is, she needs to be strong of spirit and do what SHE wants to do, not what others tell her. ―Laurie
Your body can do incredible things. It can heal itself and it keeps you alive all on its own as long as you take care of it. It can walk and run and catch a ball but even if a body cannot do any of those things the most important part is that it is the vessel for your heart, soul and mind and people who know you hardly notice your body. What they see is your intelligence, kindness and compassion. What your body looks like is less important than how you take care of it. It is your home. ―Selena
I want my daughter to understand that she doesn’t need to live up to expectations of her body that others have set for her. I don’t want her to face what I did and feel like she isn’t good enough or that something is wrong with her body. I wish I could make her resilient. I would also want her to support others in a quest for healthy body image. I want her to be a light to others in regards to this as well. ―Shawna
I want my daughters to know that they are loved, lovable, and valued dearly not for what they offer the world, but just because they are amazing and one of a kind all on their own. There is nothing they could say or do or be that would change how incredible they are. The world is better with them in it not for their body size, how little space they take up, or how pretty they look, but they themselves just make the world a little brighter. ―Mackenzie
I want my daughter to speak positively about herself and never allow others’ comments or opinions to overtake her view of herself, as hard as that may be. I want her to be so extremely confident in every part of herself, fully believing that she is incredible and beautiful in every way and I want her to hold that view so strongly that it can’t be broken by anything. ―Julie
We are all beautiful individuals. We have our unique bodies that can do amazing things. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Stop punishing yourself with food or exercise. Find what your body can do and do it. Try new things and give yourself permission to stop. ―Mary Kate
I want my daughter to know that her worth is not determined by physical perfection or whether she’s at the right weight determined by society. I want her to love herself and her body because she’s awesome and her body helps her achieve her goals. I want her to understand the number on the scale is not important, being healthy and feeling good is what’s important. ―Renee
I want my daughters to be big in energy and in compassion and daring. I want them to appreciate and love the things that make them unique. ―MaryBeth
I want my daughter to see herself as whole―not only her envelope. I want her to forge her relationship with others based on things other than her appearance. I want her to avoid basing her self-worth on others’ comments about her body. In an ideal world, she wouldn’t judge herself, or others, on appearances. ―Anik
Don’t try to please at every cost with your physical appearance. Youth and looks are superficial. Relationships based on these two elements will be transient. ―Anh-Dao
I want my daughter to know, to really know, that her body does not exist as a commodity or purely for consumption by others. Being conventionally attractive is not a price she pays for existing in the public sphere. I want her to be fully comfortable looking however she chooses to look and to not have it affect her emotional state, her actions, or what she chooses to participate in. ―Emily
I want my daughters to understand that a BMI chart might sell but there is absolutely no need to fit into something that is so far off balance. As long as they are eating right most of the time, exercising, and taking care of themselves, the beauty will shine through. Beauty isn’t defined as one look or size. Beauty is a variety and variety is beauty. ―Mandy
I want my daughter to feel comfortable and confident in her own skin no matter what. She is so confident; I don’t want that change. I didn’t realize how common it was for girls and women to have body image issues until I joined a coaching group. (I thought it was just me; I saw everyone else as prettier and skinner then me.) It honestly made me really sad. I want better for my kids. ―Kim
Love yourself as you are and stop trying to change! We’re all different! ―France
We have the means to equip our daughters better than we were ourselves. We have the power to break the cycle. Here’s to changing the game!
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