The body positivity movement is one that seeks to change the way people look at themselves, by removing self-hate and promoting self-love, and well, body positivity. It’s a movement that I think we should all be a part of, and I think of it constantly as I address my toddler daughter. As a woman, I know the value placed on our physical appearance. At times, it can feel like that value is higher than any other aspect of our being. And it’s often appraised by people external to us; people we love, and people we barely know just the same.
Before I get to my daughter and our relationship with her kinky curly baby fro, I want to share some of my own experiences with hair as a multiracial woman. See, I was often complimented on my hair at first introduction to new people. As a child, it was often a point of conversation before any other aspect of my being (including my name, or any other interests). My mother adored my hair, telling me how lucky I was to have just the perfect blend of curls and length; and she cried when I chose to cut it off.
Here are some photos over the years:
Today, I try to be extremely intentional about the language I use when I’m addressing my baby girl’s beautiful tight curls. I try to be careful not to call her hair “good” or otherwise. It is perfect because it’s a part of her, just as every other child’s hair is perfect. It’s beautiful before and after it’s combed; and when she goes to check herself out in the mirror after her hair is moisturized and tied back from her face for a day full of playing and imagination, we practice praising many other qualities before appearance.
This is our affirmative language for mirror time:
I am strong. I am gentle. I am smart. I am kind. I am beautiful.
If one day, my kiddo decides she wants to cut off her hair, I promise not to cry, for her hair absolutely does not define any aspect of her. Until then, we’ll keep saying our affirmations, putting physical beauty last on the list of her amazing characteristics. She should love her body, but it should not define her. Ultimately, I’m subscribing to the belief that emotional care is just as important as physical care when it comes to natural hair.
What type of language do you all use to describe your children’s physical attributes with them?
How do these words relate to your experiences growing up?
Let’s discuss in the comments below!