Self-Esteem Begins With Your Mother

There's no doubt that media shapes how young girls view their bodies, but Dove takes a moment to remind us just how influential mothers are when it comes to body image. In Dove's new “Legacy” ad for its Self Esteem Project, five mothers were asked to list what they liked and what they disliked about their bodies. After going over their own lists, the mothers were shown the lists their daughters had created.

Study after study shows that girls become critical of their bodies at an earlier age than boys do. This film captures how sensitive girls are to the messages their mothers send — especially the messages the mothers aren't aware they are sending. The similarities in the girls' lists to those of their mothers is a gentle reminder of this. Earlier in the video, one mother states, “I have the belief that the fact that I smile a lot has a lot to do with why my skin stays nice.” Later, her daughter declared that she likes her face because its “smiley.” Another mother said that she dislikes her legs, but takes comfort in the fact that she’s a good runner. The look of amusement on her face when her daughter states she likes her legs because they’re good for running is perfect.

“Self-worth and beauty, it is an echo,” one of the mothers says. “It can echo from me to them and from them to others.”

One of the film's closing statements is “The way a girl feels about her beauty starts with how you feel about yours." The first step to helping your daughter love her body is to love your own.

Image: Dove