"I just want my daughter to be pretty." Really?

What do you want your daughter to be when she grows up?

Happy? Wise? Successful?

A British mum has sparked off a controversy by writing an opinion piece saying she just wants her daughter to be pretty. In fact, Polly Phillips believes beauty will get her 21-month-old daughter Lala further in life than every other quality put together.

“While we all want what’s best for our daughters, few of us are brave enough to face the reality that more attractive people tend to do better in life,” Phillips wrote for MailOnline.

“And more importantly, that even, wave after wave of feminism later, women still worry about their looks more than anything else.”

“Last week, a survey by Lloyds Pharmacy discovered that almost half of all women admit their self-esteem was directly linked to the way that they look and that a third of them were actually scared to go into the office when they felt unattractive.”

“I don’t want that for my daughter. I want her to wake up and be excited to face the day ahead.”

Lala with her father Alaric. Photo via Facebook.

Oh, Polly. Where do I begin?

Firstly, where did you get this idea from that pretty women do better in life? Go to the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women. Check out number one, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. I doubt she spends too long admiring herself in the mirror each morning... probably because she's too busy running a country.

Sure, pretty women might be more likely to be hired as bar staff and waitresses. If that's the career you want for your daughter, great. Otherwise, I would suggest that qualities such as intelligence, creativity and persistence might be more important.

You want your daughter to have high self-esteem. Somehow you think that's linked to being pretty. And yet often, the women who look the prettiest are the most insecure. No matter how much cosmetic surgery they have, they still can't feel happy with themselves. There's always something they want to change.

Your daughter's self-esteem needs to be built on something real, something lasting. Pretty fades. From the age of about 18 onwards, it's all downhill. You can never quite regain the fresh-faced beauty of a teenager, no matter how much Botox you inject into your face. Pretty is a trap.

Here's a Dove video about beauty. Post continues after the video.

I have a daughter too. If you asked me what I wanted her to be when she grows up, I would never put "pretty" on the list. Of course, I want her to be happy and I want her to be healthy and I want her to be fulfilled and I want her to have a solid sense of self-esteem. But I want that self-esteem to come from knowing she's loved and knowing she's good at lots of things. I don't want it to come from her thinking she's pretty.

Good luck, Lala. I hope you grow up to be happy, whether you're pretty enough for your mum or not.

Do you think a woman needs to be pretty to be successful?

Featured image of Polly Phillips and her husband Alaric via Facebook.