My daughter is at a tweeny age when she is thinking more about her appearance than she did when she was younger. Her friends are also quite self-conscious about issues of fashion, weight, and height. So far, she seems to have a good perspective on these issues, and is willing to talk about them with me.
I hope she holds on to that perspective and her sense of confidence, and that these will also extend to how she feels about her intellectual and social capabilities. It seems like there are so many ways that girls (and women) can lose confidence in themselves.
Most recently, my daughter has become worried that her nose is too big. She doesn't seem too anxious about it, but she wishes her nose were smaller. I think she's beautiful, inside and out, but I'm just her mom.. In any case, the nose situation reminded me of something that happened to me when I was 13, a bit older than my daughter is now.
When I was 13 years old, I went to a family party. An ancient relative was turning an ancient age, and the entire extended family had gathered for a dinner party. Sometime during the evening, one of my aunts sought me out and pulled me aside for a quiet chat.
Aunt: You're probably thinking a lot about plastic surgery these days.
Aunt: But your nose really isn't that bad.
Aunt: It's really not as bad as you probably think it is.
[Note: My complete lack of articulateness was a function of my age and the fact that I had no idea what my aunt was talking about. I felt my nose, testing for injuries.]
Aunt: I wanted to tell you that I think you should wait before having plastic surgery. Some day you may like having such a distinctive nose.
Well, that set me up nicely for spending my teenage years feeling self-conscious about my nose, a part of my face to which I had never previously given much thought.
My nose is neither particularly large nor particularly small (and no, I have not had plastic surgery). No one to whom I am genetically related has a large nose. My nose is, however, not as petite as the typical FSP Family Nose, and there is a slight bump from when I got hit by a flying baseball bat during a Little League game. Despite my lack of nose perfection, I am at peace with having a somewhat distinctive but nevertheless un-huge nose.
But now my daughter is worried about her nose. We recently went to a museum together and looked at the noses of women portrayed in classical statues and paintings. We saw many impressive noses, and we agreed that we'd rather have an interesting face (+ distinctive nose) than a 'perfect' face (+ little nose).
My wish for my daughter is that she not worry too much about her nose (or anything else about her appearance), that she like how she looks (however she looks), and that she not spend any time alone with her great-aunt.
6 months ago