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DO YOU THINK I'M SEXY?

Is she wondering if she's pretty?

Your daughter asks you if she's sexy. How do you reas- sure her and at the same time make her understand that you do not need to be “sexy” and have a “perfect” body to attract someone? You can respond as follows:“I think you're beautiful.You have lovely eyes and a beau- tiful smile, a smile that lights up a room and shows your great sense of humour. These are qualities that attract other people.”

It is important that your daughter be aware of her value as a whole person. You can compliment her on her appearance, but at the same time you should also praise her personal qualities, talents and skills. This will show her that beauty goes beyond the physical and includes positive character traits.

C

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACT AND FICTION

Does she think she has to be seductive to attract boys?

How does your daughter define beauty? Does she think that beauty means being sexy? You would like her to know that beauty is defined by more than physical appearance and provocative behaviour. You could respond to her as follows:“What do you think it means to be beautiful? Do you think you're beautiful? Each person has their own unique beauty, a little something beyond the physical that attracts us to each other. The girls that you see in the music videos are playing roles based solely on their appearance. They are being paid to attract boys in a very bold way. It doesn't always hap- pen that way in real life.A boy could be attracted to you,

and you could be attracted to him based on qualities other than physical appearance. It could be your per- sonal qualities and common interests that attract you to each other.”

The music video can be a pretext for you to talk to your daughter about beauty. How do you define beauty? What is her self-image? What image does she want to project?You have a great opportunity to talk about other positive personal qualities that attract people to each other. This will help your daughter discover her many attractive qualities beyond her physical appearance.

Being attractive is important at any age. By praising her looks, her qualities and her talents, you will teach her how to love herself. A father's non-sexual admiration and attention can help a girl recognize her own beauty. A mother has an equally important role to play by mak- ing her daughter aware of all her attributes.

Many of today's music videos, which are watched by a younger and younger audience, show very sexy young women using provocative behaviour or submissive atti- tudes to seduce young men. Between 8 and 12 years of age, it's difficult to make the distinction between fact and fiction and your daughter can easily blur the line between the two and think that she has to be provoca- tive to attract a boy. She may be tempted to imitate the behaviour she sees in music videos - behaviours that conform to mass media stereotypes. You can help her think about the concept of beauty, her self-image, the image she wants to project and the difference between fact and fiction.

YWCA

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