This is what mommies dread discussing with their daughters. No, it’s not sex!

Sometimes the hardest thing to wear, is our own skin! Every girl child in India faces the one question every mother dreads, because she herself has gone through this.

“Is she beautiful?”

Every part of her body is prised apart and put under a scrutiny to study whether it conforms to the standards of beauty. Check out the kind of hits “my daughter is fat” has on google!

What is beauty? Who is beautiful? Is it defined? Where can it be found? Can it be store bought/ manufactured? How can you tell your daughter that she is beautiful as she is.. Without changing a single thing about her.

1. “Am I fat mummy?”

With all the fat shaming doing the rounds, it is very hard to tell your daughter to keep the negativity away. At school, within your community, at wedding and gatherings picking on a child’s body is just plain mean.

Fat shaming is a social menace. Stop it before it stops your child from achieving her potential.
Fat shaming is a social menace. Stop it before it stops your child from achieving her potential.

What to do: Be public about your outrage over such comments. Don’t be afraid to pull up that mean woman/man who has managed to plant a negative body image in your child which will do long term damage to the esteem of your child.

Tell your child: The language you use in the argument should be well chosen. Do not shout/ fight. That creates a loud scene. Words like, “I didn’t like what you said” or “Passing hurtful comments is not being truthful, it’s the opposite of it. Because truth is she is beautiful.” These will form her vocabulary when she is fighting elsewhere.

2. “Ma, am I really kaali”

The day Indian’s understand that dark skin is gorgeous is the first day 50% of the women in India will be able to stand tall with confidence.

Dark skin colour is what it is. Neither good. Nor bad. Just is! 

What do to: Show pictures of awesome celebrities who have stood up to the stigma. Case in point- Sonam Kapoor. Dont believe us? Read here.

Tell your child: Merits of dark skin in India. The melanin content helps us process vitamin D better.

3. “Do I look like a boy because of my short hair?”

Short hair for girls can look great!

Hair is another topic that people seem to pick kids on. If a girl has short hair, every single 40 + year old in the room will take it their responsibility to question why she looks like a boy?

What to do: Teach her about choices. The tell her how boys and girls are not set apart by their clothes. Encourage her to never bow down in front of bullies who will want to bring her confidence down.

Tell your child: Explain the logic: Does that mean that all girls wearing jeans are boys? Tell her that the concept of a wallet originated because women carried ‘batuawa’. Does that mean all the men carrying them are girls?

4. “I don’t look good in shorts, no?

Western clothes are another favourite for people to pick on. The very idea that we are short/curvy should make us unique, not be a victim of bullying.

What to do: Ask her to look at herself and see how beautiful she looks. Believe in it yourself. Don’t mouth platitudes.

Tell her: That she looks good when she feels good. Lead by example and wear western clothes yourself.

5. “I know I am not beautiful”

What to do: Do not over-praise another girl. Discourage irresponsible conversations around beauty.

Tell her: That she means the world to you and 10 other people who care about her. That is real beauty. All the others is trickery.