The sum of who we are cannot and should not be measured by what we look like. That's the measured, thoughtful, and laudable message that was the crux of a recent essay by the actress Ashley Judd, who wrote the missive in response to the ugly and inane chatter in the media about what was perceived to be her "puffy" face.
Judd's astute assessment of the pervasive and unceasing objectification of women -- that we are "described and detailed, our faces and bodies analyzed and picked apart, our worth ascertained and ascribed based on the reduction of personhood to simple physical objectification" -- is one thousand percent accurate. And while I do not have a daughter, it is a message that I want my son to understand because he is someone who has friends and family who are girls and women, and he will one day have girlfriends, and later, a wife, and perhaps one day a daughter. And understanding the importance of valuing people for who they are -- their spirit, their minds, their souls -- rather than what they look like, is something that will elevate all of us, men, women, boys, and girls, and help us build each other up rather than tear each other down.
To help your child understand the importance of having a healthy body image and how to put physical appearance in perspective, read my article on fostering a healthy body image.