Oh, How Pretty You Look, Daughter!

Posted: April 30, 2018

We tend to compliment our daughters on their looks as a default – if we want them to grow up confident women, we need to re-think this!

My daughter, to you I must apologize
For the compliment I gave you the other day

When I called you “pretty in your dress”, I did not realize
That years of conditioning had made their way
Into this seemingly innocuous comment of mine-

A comment that flawed perceptions did validate
Calling you pretty was an unmistakable sign
That from societal norms I find it difficult to deviate-

In that moment I thought about you in your outfit
Though you were going out for a mathematics quiz
I realized my folly soon- this did not sit
Well with me at all, therefore the self-analysis..

I let you down (and myself too)
I should have focused on your intelligence
Instead I thought about your beauty, it’s true
The wrong attribute again took precedence

To your brother I would not have said
Something similar, my comment would have been
Geared towards his mental capability instead

Yet this is the discrimination I’ve seen
Over and over again, all around me
This behavior is so deeply ingrained
For a female, we think of her outer beauty
First- before we remember she has a brain

Next time I decide to pay a compliment
To a girl- in my choice of words I shall be conscious
I shall think of each field in which she is competent
Only then on physical attributes shall I focus

This is what I shall endeavor to do, my daughter
And if I fail, give me a gentle reminder…

Published here earlier.

Image source: Shuchita Gupta

 

Liked this post?

Register at Women's Web to get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads!

Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, you can request to be a Women's Web contributor too!

I am a woman, a physician, a mother and an aspiring writer rolled into one.

Learn More

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Comments

Share your thoughts! [Be civil. No personal attacks. Longer comment policy in our footer!]

Feminist Book Picks

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

An Event For Ambitious Women!