Thoughts

Dear Parents, this starts from you.

Ever since the day I liked the Woman’s Right News on Facebook, my news feed has been bombed by photos and quotes from women all over the world about woman’s power. I must say, I feel good every time I read their posts. It’s like taking a vitamin pill each morning. It’s the nutrition I need for my soul. One day, they posted this statement from Kate Winslet.

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As a child, I never heard one woman say to me: ‘I love my body.’ Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. Not one woman has ever said: ‘I am proud of my body.’ So, I make sure I say it to Mia, because a positive physical outlook has to start from a very early age -Kate Winslet

I was inspired the first time I read her statement. Kate Winslet is a great actress and she understands just how important self confidence is for a woman. She knows the problem that woman has to struggle each and everyday, which is ‘appearance’. We struggle to be “more beautiful” which by looking at women these days, more beautiful means skinnier, skin fairer, longer hair, and more make up. The main point in her statement was not to love our body, but the responsibilty parents have to encourage their daughters to love their body. The fact is that the standards on a woman’s appearance were not only made by society, our parents also contribute in establishing the standards. How many parents would say to their daughter, “Don’t listen to them, you are beautiful?” Not many, I bet. If the majority of parents would say that one kind sentence, no parents would give their daughter a plastic surgery as a 17th birthday present or encourage their daughter to buy skin whitening and slimming products. If most parents in this world teach their daughter to love her body, we wouldn’t hear over criticisms such as, “You’re too fat, no man will love you,” nor, “If only your skin is fairer, you would have been more beautiful.”

It’s heartbreaking to know parents are giving a critique like that. If a stranger’s random critique can put a girl down, can you imagine her feelings when being over criticized by her parents? As if the society has not messed with our heads enough, some parents must do that too. Family is supposed to support you. Parents are supposed to encourage. That is why I was very happy reading Kate’s words on how she would teach, encourage her daughter to love her body. She’s right when she said “a positive physical outlook has to start from a very early age.” Our earliest childhood memories will be the ones that we remember the most. If our parents inspirit us on our own beauty, which leads us to love and respect our body, in the end we will do just that. People might say a lot of things to bring us down, and yes, some commentary will affect us, but in the end the earliest message that’s been built inside us will win the war.

Now, what should we do if our parents were the ones who asked us to be “beautiful”?   It’s easier to said than done, but we have to move on. We cannot blame our parents anymore. Perhaps in their mind, what they do is right, or maybe they are a part of the society that made up the ridiculous standard. The only thing we can do must be started from ourselves. We start by thinking positive about our body, our appearance. We start by encouraging ourselves. And then one day, when we become a parent, when we teach little girls, we encourage them to love their bodies, to love themselves. We tell them, no matter what, their body is the best. 

We might not get the encouragement we need, but it can start with us. 😉

Photo credit : Women’s Rights News Facebook Page

This article was edited by Danilah Nur. Please kindly visit herNyaw blog and her Resonansi Otak blog for more of her works.

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