Tuesday, May 06, 2014


My latest for Kveller.com:

My 7-year-old daughter who, as we previously determined, is nothing like me in personality, also looks nothing like me. Which is why I can say, without a trace of self-interest, that she is a beautiful girl. She has luxurious black hair, olive skin, huge chocolate colored eyes, eye lashes that go on forever, and a perennial smile on her face–just like her dad. I constantly tell my daughter that she is beautiful. (My brother has dubbed her Beauteous Maximus, in Latin).

I know many beautiful women. Having worked in soap operas since 1994, I’d wager I know more beautiful women than most people. Every year, around Daytime Emmys time, I would leave the house feeling I looked my very best. I’d get to the venue and wonder why I bothered; I wasn’t in these people’s league. I wasn’t in their species. And yet, a majority of these stunning creatures all think there is something wrong with them. Usually because of a lifetime of hearing from well-meaning people–more often than not, moms and dads set the stage for what agents and casting director and “fans” finish–about how they could really stand to lose five pounds. Or get a nose job. Or straighten their hair. Or wear more make-up/different clothes/stand up straight/smile.

I also know women who would be considered objectively unattractive in the conventional sense. And yet their self-image is amazing. Because no one ever told them otherwise.

I know pretty girls, non-actors, regular people with many wonderful qualities, who insist they can’t get a boyfriend until their dress size is no longer in the double digits. And I know women who passed double digits in middle school who are happily married and can pass a mirror without wincing. Heck, they can pass a mirror without bothering to look in it.

Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Except the beholder is usually the person themselves. Everyone else just follows along.

So I tell my daughter that she is beautiful. Because she is.

And I don’t tell her that she is smart. Because she is.

Read the entire piece (and don't skip the comments section where readers really go to town on me) at: http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/why-i-tell-my-daughter-shes-pretty-but-dont-tell-her-shes-smart/#more-45265

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