“Self-esteem isn't everything; it's just that there's nothing without it.”
I got into bed so happy and invigorated last night, I couldn't sleep. My daughter and I had just finished hosting a Dove #InspireConfidence party and my eyes were opened — both literally and figuratively — because of what I had learned.
After recognizing that anxiety over appearance can affect a young woman’s health, relationships, education, and participation in sports, Dove created the Dove Self-Esteem Project. For the past 10 years, Dove has been committed, through this initiative, to helping girls become their best selves and reach their full potential through self-esteem education.
As part of the project, Dove is encouraging all of us to consider hosting an #InspireConfidence party. The goal of this casual event is to get girls and their parents together to have fun, complete printable exercises, and get talking about body image. YMC has proudly partnered with Dove once again to help #InspireConfidence in young girls, and I happily signed up to host a party of my own.
As a lover of all things girl-related and being a former camp craft director, I immediately began to plan. Invites were sent to 10 girls and their mothers. Although most of the girls attend school together, they differ from each other in many ways. My twelve-year-old daughter, equally passionate when it comes to entertaining, started devising a plan to create bright blue Dove cake pops.
We shopped at Loblaws with a plan to make little sandwiches, veggies and dip, banana bread, cookies, and more. The adults were served wine and lemonade...separately!
Together, we covered a sliding door with printed quotes by inspiring women and prepared an activity sheet for each girl, complete with their photo glued in the corner. Collecting magazines from all over the house, we endeavored to ask each mother and daughter to make their own poster vision board covered with words, quotes and pictures illustrating how they saw themselves, the things they love, and future dreams.
Just before the party, I started to worry that the guests would show up, hear my plans, and rebel on site. I pictured 10 girls sneering at me, pelting me with delicate sandwiches and then staging a walkout. Nothing to do but pour a drink and wait…
At seven o clock sharp, the doorbell rang...and kept ringing. My worries were proven wrong. After welcoming the group, I explained what the Dove Self-Esteem Project was all about and provided each girl with an activity that questioned what they were most proud of and about their future goals. Each worked on the task individually and the results were so interesting. Almost every girl took great pride in one or more sport she was involved in. Each had lofty goals for herself, such as a future NASA astrophysicist, and not one of them asked me to keep their results private.
The next activity would be the creation of vision boards. Never have I seen such an amazing bunch of crafting professionals on the floor with glue sticks, scissors, and magazines. The girls went to work in a separate room, glitter flying without a negative peep. Watching the mothers and daughters compare their vision boards was quite moving and everyone took their poster home.
Throughout the evening, all I wanted to do was freeze each moment. A room of beautiful, strong, brilliant girls so full of dreams, wearing whatever they felt best in and loving their moms. I wanted them to be able to keep seeing themselves as I saw them: beautiful, with messy hair, bright smiles, ambition, and confidence. As tall as me but still happy to hug. I wanted them to continue seeing their moms as being role models of strength, dedication, beauty, and love.
It felt devastating to think that all this potential could be defeated by negative body image and poor esteem. Sadly, the statistics indicate that these obstacles are real for our girls. Thankfully, Dove is aware and here to assist. Hopefully initiatives like the Dove Self-Esteem Project can help us to build a strong bridge for our young girls to adulthood. If we can work now to instill our young daughters with a positive attitude towards physical appearance and body confidence, it might last a lifetime and their futures will be limitless.
One mom commented that the night provided a nice gateway to future chats down the road. I also received many kind emails the next day.
So far, Dove has managed to reach 17 million young people globally. Working together, we can help reach even more. To find out how to host your own Dove #InspireConfidence party, visit selfesteem.dove.ca.