Graduation season has triggered some memories for me, memories of sitting in my friend’s backyards as their parents toasted their futures and we lavished well wishes upon each other.
But specifically, I remember hearing time and again my female friends being complimented thusly: “You are such a beautiful, smart, talented young woman, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
I have one request for anyone with a graduating daughter/sister/friend—do not praise her appearance as the first thing in your toast. Don’t mention her appearance at all.
Teaching young women that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. By telling her that she is “beautiful, smart, talented” (and believe me, it is almost always said in that order), you are suggesting—if unconsciously—that it’s most important she not lose her looks. You are prizing her face and body above her accomplishments and hard work. In a world where over 50% of young women say they’d rather be hit by a truck than be fat, this mindset isn’t something that should be encouraged, especially at such memorable events.
This has been a post.