For example, the very same episode of Good Morning America that ran the outraged piece about a “pageant mom” giving her 8 year old daughter Botox injections featured a celebration by the female hosts of GMA of the wonders of higher and higher heels and the confidence they give women. Puh-leeze!
They act as though there’s no connection at all between a “how to feel my best” interview with gorgeous Kelly Ripa saying that she doesn’t feel confident about herself unless she’s teetering on outrageously expensive high, high heels, and the pageant mom who unapologetically told how she injects her young daughter with Botox.
Well, they’re wrong. There’s a direct link from media celebrities touting external appearance as the source of self-confidence to the pageant mom who honestly believes she’s doing the best thing for her daughter’s future.
This nonsense has to stop. I’ll admit that I bought into it myself for many years. My self-confidence crutch was makeup. Whenever I was going into a situation that made me nervous I’d wear makeup even though I didn’t like the way it felt on my skin. In situations where I felt confident I didn’t give makeup a thought. As my daughters got a little older I realized I was using makeup as a poor substitute for doing whatever would give me true confidence in a situation. And I didn’t want them to pick up on that way of coping.
Of course it’s harder to do what it takes to feel confident from the inside out – and it usually takes more time than putting on some makeup or high heels takes. But it works better than those quick fixes, too. When I do that hard prep and still don’t feel confident from the inside out then I fall back on courage. The courage to risk doing a thing I don’t feel totally confident about. Disagreeing with the conventional wisdom, giving the new speech, sharing optimism when it seems unwarranted, revealing my imperfections.
The only confidence that girls and women get from external appearance is fleeting and insubstantial. It’s superficial by definition. And it won’t stick with us when we really need our confidence.
That’s not the false confidence that girls need.
How do you help girls build confidence from the inside out? I want to hear your stories about it.