Thoughts for your 13-year-old self
I'm a little late to join the party but the message merits repeating.
The squeaky clean people behind the Dove Self-Esteem Movement are calling on all women to help encourage girls to value themselves and behave more confidently.
At least in North America, girls kick so much butt academically that schools are getting creative to help boys close the gap. But bigger picture, says Dove, "70 per cent of girls globally don't participate in daily activities such as sharing an opinion in class or going to a social event because they feel badly about their appearance."
To spark a discussion about positive messages for girls, Dove is asking us to share with others the advice we'd have for our 13-year-old selves, if it were possible to travel back in time and impart some wisdom.
What would I say to that skinny girl just starting a new school at the beginning of Grade 8, having moved from Alberta to B.C.?
Setting aside the stuff about "dreaming big" and "being anything you want to be" and just focusing on the appearance factor for today, I guess I'd say something like, "You'll grow into yourself. Don't worry."
I'd want that girl to know she'd feel more lovely in her 30s than she did at 13 (as absolutely ancient as that would have sounded at the time). That each year after that awkward onset of puberty, she'd get a little more comfortable in her own skin. That the spunk with which she wore desert boots and mismatched slouchy socks in Grade 8 would serve her well in life. That eventually she'd grow some breasts and come to think of her scrawny legs as a pretty good feature.
But more important than any part of her physical body, I'd let her know that she'd just become more herself and easier in the world each day. I'd encourage that girl to laugh loudly and without embarrassment. I'd remind her not to listen if the class clown tried to make it seem as though being smart was some kind of liability. I'd tell her not to turn the volume down on herself.
How about you? What would you say to your 13-year-old self?