Why We Should Rethink the Messages We’re Telling Our Daughters

When talking about true beauty, are we having the right conversation?

Westend61/ Getty Images
Westend61/ Getty Images

As a single father to 10-year old twin girls, I found the article in the New York Times Style Section titled, “What Spanx Has Spawned” particularly provocative.  I am raising my daughters to be confident, strong and empowered.  Teaching them that true beauty comes from within and loving the body that God has blessed them with, are tenets that I have always subscribed to, and I am rearing them with.  As a fitness and wellness expert, who has spent the last three decades working with some of the most beautiful women in the world, including Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum, Kate Upton and Liv Tyler, Julia Roberts and Kerry Washington to name a few, my philosophy has always been predicated on helping each achieve their best self. Whether training celebrities, business executives and/or professional athletes, for me, the objective and desired result of working out, has always transcended the purely physical, and encompass connecting the mind and body; and the mental and spiritual connection to oneself.  Taking control of your life and your body – through healthy nutrition and exercise – can ultimately be so much richer and deeply rewarding, than succumbing to societal pressure and social media, which often offers a skewed, misleading or false narrative. Perfection is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder 

I don’t mean to sound preachy, or pass judgement, but what is the message we are giving our daughters??  Fiona Fairhurst, a vice president at Heist Studios, which makes tights and shapewear, is quoted in the article “….I just want women to feel comfortable in their bodies.”  I’d like to think we have evolved from Victorian times when women being bound into corsets was as commonplace as putting on lip stick.  Again, I ask “what is the message we are sending to young women?  More importantly, what are women saying and feeling about themselves?   

Here, Sanam Yar, the author, likens shapewear to a suit of armor.  But where a suit of armor offers protection, its less clear what people wearing shapewear are seeking protection from.  She posits – “the truth of their own bodies?” 


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