Don’t Tell Me I’m Pretty, Tell Me I’m Smart

‘Don’t tell me I’m pretty, tell me I’m smart … and funny, artistic, kind, loving, friendly, unique, strong, fierce and clever. I am so much more than pretty.’

When relatives or family friends are introduced to a young girl, they will often open the conversation with something like this ...  ‘Hello! You look pretty today. Your dress is beautiful.’

Don’t worry, we are all guilty of it; but by focusing only on a young girl’s physical appearance, what we are actually saying is this is what society values most about you.

It is important for us to shift our focus away from physical appearances towards the numerous qualities any young girl possesses. She needs to know and we all need to know she is so much more! So for all those relatives and friends out there who feel a little awkward and don’t actually know what to say to a young girl child, here are a few example conversations.

‘Hello! It’s so nice to meet you. What have you been doing today? Playing with Lego? That sounds like fun. You must be very good at building, can you show me?’

‘What games do you like? Which is your favorite? Why is this your favorite game?’

‘What books do you like to read? Why do you like those books? Can you read a book to me. Wow! You are such a great reader.’

‘You are so strong. Let’s try one more arm wrestle.’

‘I love your drawing. You are very talented. Can you tell me about your drawing?’

‘You make me laugh with your funny faces. You really are very funny! Let’s try another one!’

‘Do you want to play football with me? Great catch! You are very good at sports, aren’t you? What other sports do you like to play?’

‘What’s your favorite subject a school? Math! Great! Let’s do some adding up together. Wow! That was quick. You really are very clever.’

‘Who is your friend at kindergarten? What do you play? You must be such a good friend. You sound like you are very kind to each other.’

‘Can you show me some of your books? Look! A book on dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs too. Can you tell me everything you know about dinosaurs? You are really very smart! You know so much about dinosaurs!’

And on it goes! Of course, it is still absolutely fine to say to a young girl you look beautiful but remember it is only ONE aspect of her total self. A girl, and for that matter a woman, is so much more than just pretty.

Jayneen Sanders

All Jayneen’s books are published by Educate2Empower Publishing an award-winning niché children's book publisher who specializes in children's books on BODY SAFETY, CONSENT, GENDER EQUALITY and RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS. Educate2Empower Publishing also provides free resources for parents, caregivers and educators on these important topics. For more information go to: www.e2epublishing.info  All Jayneen's books are available on Amazon.

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Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.