Have you ever asked your daughter for her definition of beauty? From the thigh gap and bikini bridge to pictures of Photoshopped models, confusing and deceiving messages bombard young girls on a daily basis.
The pressure to fit in and be beautiful according to our culture's standards is huge.
If you've looked at the latest teen magazine or tried to find a girly-girl outfit for your young daughter that doesn’t look too grown up, then you know some of the challenges girls face today.
For those who don't know, the thigh gap is the open space at the top of a girl's inner thighs when she stands with her feet and knees together; the bikini bridge appears when a woman lies on her back and her hip bones lift the front of her bikini up. Both are much-sought-after signs of thinness.
Dannah Gresh is the creator of the wildly successful tour, Secret Keeper Girl, a mother/daughter experience. She is also the co-author of Lies Young Women Believe.
“It is more important than ever before to tell our daughters the truth about beauty,” says Gresh. “The thigh gap and bikini bridge are not possible without starvation. Our bodies do not naturally do that. Unfortunately, many girls don’t realize the pictures in the magazines are not real. They starve themselves and do crazy things to look like these images because that is what the culture portrays as beautiful.”
Concerned about her own daughter and how she would learn to define beauty, Gresh started doing research. Outside of faith, the research indicates that the mother-daughter connection is the number one risk-reducer for girls when it comes to boys, fashion and beauty.
Gresh says she started Secret Keeper Girl to help her daughter navigate the tween years differently than she had. "I wanted her to understand her value in God's eyes and His definition of beauty versus how the culture defines it, because that is fleeting.
“When moms talk with their daughters about these things and speak truth into their daughter’s hearts, the young women have a much better chance of getting through the tumultuous teen years,” Gresh says.
More than 500,000 girls between 8 and 13 years old, along with their moms or another significant woman in their life, have attended the Secret Keeper Girl shows and are armed with accurate information as they approach the teen years. One mom said, "This event opened my eyes to how often I, as an adult, say negative things about myself. I don't want my daughter growing up with that kind of image."
Gresh knows there are many moms with regrets from their teen years. And sometimes, they are afraid to talk with their daughters about these issues. However, it is essential that moms talk with their daughters to help them gain confidence, knowledge and truth. Through Secret Keeper Girl's high-energy, over-the-top experience, moms can do things differently with their own daughters.
The faith-based show is full of tender mother-daughter moments, crazy skits and teachable moments. But most importantly, it lays a foundation for ongoing conversations between mothers and daughters during what can be a very challenging time.