blurred purple background with a screenshot in the middle from the NYT Essay "Toxic Beauty Standards Can Be Passed Down"

Mothers Can Pass Along Belovedness

What if, as mothers, we believed our own belovedness and passed that belief along to our daughters?

I really appreciated Alexandra D’Amour’s essay for the New York Times about toxic beauty culture. She reminded me of the way my generation of women saw “fat” as the enemy, and how binging on SnackWells cookies and a high rate of eating disorders ensued. She also reminded me of the way our mothers talked about weight and fat and dieting poured right down onto us when we were teenagers.

Today’s version isn’t mothers talking about dieting and avoiding fat. Instead, it’s about anti-aging creams and botox and hair dye. The way we talk about aging and beauty matters. Not only for us, but also for our daughters.

D’Amour writes, “Mothers are both victims and perpetrators of a culture that sells women the lie that we aren’t enough exactly as we are. And yet, if a mother’s insecurity can fuel her daughter’s own self-loathing, a mother’s radical self-love might just protect and even heal her daughter from a toxic culture.”

I love her implied question: What if mothers can pass along belovedness, not just by loving our daughters but by loving ourselves? What if we can pass along a message of enoughness, of mattering, of beauty that comes from accepting our bodies and faces and hair and our gifts and abilities?

We have to believe in our own belovedness, and live out of that belief, if we are going to pass it along to our daughters.

Amy Julia, who is wearing a green jacket, takes a selfie with her two young daughters. They are all smiling at the camera. Marilee is on the left, and Penny is on the right. They are both wearing glasses.
photo taken in 2018


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