As a Dothan photographer doing family sessions, this past week I had the privilege of not only photographing my daughters but some of their cousins as well. These girls range in age from 9 to 18. I was both saddened and bothered to hear how unkind they were to themselves. One of the girls that will remain unnamed said “I look like a man with long hair”. I can say with absolute certainty that these young ladies are super intelligent, talented and have great personalities. Did I just mention anything about their appearances? No, but I did that on purpose. Even though each of them were focused on their appearances I want them to know that they are MORE than the way they look.
Media and society would have you believe that you are nothing more than your appearance.
Drive down the road and see billboards offering “mommy makeovers”. Watch tv ads with the latest trends on how to make you skinnier. Or even magazine ads advertising the latest anti wrinkle products. I 100% admit that I am guilty of buying into these ads at times. It’s taken me literally a lifetime to feel comfortable with myself. And I still struggle at times. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel beautiful and take care of yourself. This issue is when you have unrealistic expectations of your appearance or put all of your value in your appearance. My goal is to help my daughters, my nieces, my daughter’s friends and whoever else may benefit, see that they are each unique, have inherent purpose and value and each exist on this earth for a reason. Here are some tips that I’ve tried to instill in my daughter’s so that they each can find their own inherent value. Please note that I always try my best with my daughters but many times I still fell like I fall short.
* I realized some time ago that I had to model confident behavior if I wanted my daughter’s to do the same. If you don’t feel confident at times, fake it. Yes, I DO fake it at times.
* Talk about your body and appearance in positive ways. Do not complain about your fat or how bad you look in a bathing suit. Being comfortable in your own skin will make your daughter’s feel comfortable in their own skin.
* Leave your daughter’s appearance out of it. Talk about her integrity, kindness, determination and positive characteristics. Emphasize her positive traits that make her who she is. Not how she looks or the shape of her body.
* Self worth isn’t based on focusing on their accomplishments. Instead point out the effort and mental aptitude it took her to have this success.
* Speak highly of other women. Model behavior on how to build up other women instead of tearing them down. You will be a great role model when you celebrate other women’s successes and accomplishments.
* Foster your daughter’s passions. Growing up, I was always a reasonably good athlete. I’m so grateful that my mom signed me up for gymnastics classes and made sure I was always at my softball practices. She helped me to find what I was good at and this instilled confidence in me.
* Remember to limit media to small doses. This is one of the things I’ve struggled with the most with my daughters. Media objectifies women. It encourages young girls to compare herself to others and body shame. Typically, most forms of media does not promote healthy confidence in young women.
As a Dothan photographer doing family sessions, I’d be honored to capture your family portraits too. Whether you’re in Enterprise, Ozark, Headland or even Panama City, Florida do not hesitate to contact me, Kim, of Dear Violet Photography to find out more about this once in a lifetime experience.
We are a full service studio that not only offers on location sessions but portraiture in our light and bright studio on the west side of Dothan, Alabama. Please feel free to contact me, Kim of Dear Violet Photography, to find out more about when you can schedule your portrait session or follow us on Facebook for promotions and previews.