If you have a daughter, there’s a high chance you have told her at some point that she is pretty.
It’s a word we say to young girls and we say it in a positive tone, using it as a compliment, affirming they look good. Adults’ use of the word ‘pretty’ is teaching them that the word is something ideal, something they should desire to be, yet often focuses only on a person’s outside appearance.
We rarely stop and consider the negative connotations of this word, where the real meaning of it seems to be convoluted.
Simply type the word ‘pretty’ into Google and the first definition that pops up says “(of a person, especially a woman or child) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful.”
Pretty is a superficial construct and that definition, unfortunately, says it all. It’s the last part of that definition “without being truly beautiful” that hits hard the most.
The single word only represents beauty on the surface and there’s so much more we can do and say to young girls.
It’s a superficial word
By using that word, we are subconsciously telling girls that they are only beautiful on the outside, even though that is probably far from our real intentions. We need to be teaching our girls that there’s much more to someone than how they look.
With so many influences on body image for girls at a young age, they need to be exposed to behaviour and words that deviate from this.
Calling someone ‘pretty’ should be done with caution so as not to exacerbate the emphasis on the way they do or don’t look.