Ali Martell: From Hemlines to Heels


Laugh Lines Are Reminders Of A Life Full Of Laughter

and other conversations we need to have with our daughters

Laugh Lines Are Reminders Of A Life Full Of Laughter

Last night I was getting ready to go out with friends — it was the end of a really long weekend filled with friends and family and fun. I was in the bathroom putting on my face and fretting over a necklace choice.

"Mama?" said my youngest daughter, who is newly nine. "Don't spend too much time picking a necklace or makeup. You are so beautiful even when you just wear your jammies and no makeup at all."

My kids are the reason I have a better self-image, and better self-esteem. They help me see the things that I don't. They help me forget the things that I do see. 

Dove will be hosting a series of free self-esteem workshops in October across Canada, hosted by some of our YMC bloggers and #YMCCommunity Bloggers. They want to start a dialogue between mothers and daughters about self-esteem, and beauty pressures.

Daughters, we hope, will leave feeling valued and that they have new skills and knowledge to help them embrace their own unique beauty and feel more confident to face day-to-day challenges. Mentors, we hope, will leave feeling motivated to make efforts to foster self-esteem in their girls; they will also feel confident that they have new tools and resources to use.

We need to change the numbers because right now over 60% of girls avoid certain activities because they feel bad about their looks. 19% won’t try out for a team or club, 13% won’t give an opinion, and 15% won’t go to school. 

We need to talk to our girls.

And our girls need to talk to us. 

You see these lines around my mouth, you guys? The ones that don't go away when I stop smiling? Sure, some might call them wrinkles, but did you know that they are also called laugh lines? So, I have ones that don't go away — this means that I laugh more than most. Because I have children who are beyond hilarious. 

You see the forehead lines? The ones I sometimes cover with bangs? Those are from the times I worry about you. This one at the top? I got that one when you guys switched schools three years ago. And this one at the very bottom? That's leftover from your first summer at overnight camp. And that one was from watching you audition, and this one is from watching your playoff baseball game and this one is from that day you tried that twisty skating turn. 

Do you see this thing some people call crow's feet? Lots of companies make creams to fix crow's feet. You know why I have crow's feet? Because I taught three children — successfully — to ride two-wheelers. 

The un-taut skin around my belly? That's from growing and carrying three infants to full term (two beyond full term — one even ten days past due). 

These are badges of honor.

They are marks of a life well lived, well laughed, well documented, well remembered. 


My children are the reason for this.

And they are the ones that help me see it when I sometimes forget. 


We need to talk to our girls.

And our girls need to talk to us. 

Visit our 'self-esteem resource page' for helpful info on how to talk with your daughter about real beauty and self-esteem.

We need you to be a part of the Dove mission to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million girls by 2015.