Women of the world are under attack. All around them are messages from magazines. TV shows, peers and the internet, telling them what they are supposed to look like. They are being told what the ideal body shape is: how fat is too fat, how skinny is too skinny, what they have to do to be attractive. It is a terrible bombardment that comes with many consequences to their self esteem, self image and health.

The sexualization of young girls is a serious issue that is infecting every facet of our society. It sends the wrong signals to our impressionable children, male and female alike. Watching these portrayals as a father has left me stunned and sickened, as well as deeply worried about what our girls are being told about their bodies.

In response to the culture’s approach to trying to shape my daughter, I have taught her two things that I think every parent should share with their own.

She Has Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Alongside the idea that women are only good as sexual beings comes the highly hypocritical message that they should be ashamed of their bodies. It is a confusing, infuriating set of mixed signals that puts our girls in a position where they can’t win. It also teaches them that they are only valuable based on the way they look, and must fit a certain mold where their weight, height, fashion sense, and even freckles must conform to a standard.

We have to fight against this ideal. All women are unique, and valuable for the unique skills, abilities and personality that they bring to the table. How they look is only important so far as it applies to that uniqueness. That means all sizes, shapes, and styles. What matters is how they feel, their confidence, and knowing that they are individuals with real worth.

We (Her Parents) Are In Her Corner, No Matter What

The first lesson is easier said than done. Even if we manage to instill a sense of self-worth and a positive image in our daughters, that view will constantly be tested by those messages around them. Which means we have to be ready to help them overcome any crises that may arise, always in their corner to help them fight the misogyny depressingly prevalent in modern pop culture.

Letting your daughter know that you are always behind her will show her that she can always come to you. Don’t just offer advice, but listen. Empathize with her, and what she is facing. Allow her to talk out her feelings so she can work through them with your gentle guidance. This is the key to better communication, and will help you to help her navigate this difficult issue.

The trick here is to let her think through the problem herself, not tell her what she should think. It can be easy as a parent to fall into the role of lecturer. But doing that will only stunt your child’s ability to work through such problems in the future, and lessen their faith in their own conclusions.

By supporting our daughters they can build the confidence they need to look in the mirror, like what they see, and know they are whole and valuable people.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer and outreach specialist with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn