An Australian journalist and mother has penned a powerful plea to “society” about the damaging messages they are sending to her one-year-old daughter when they question the mark she has on her forehead.
The Channel 9 sports reporter explains in her letter, posted to her Instagram account, that the remarks made by grown women to her daughter, Immi, undermine her own work to teach her that appearances are much less important than character.
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Dear Society, Messages are important. Everyday you’re sending messages out to little girls and boys. These messages aren’t on a billboard, in a paper, on TV, they’re not written, not exactly verbalised, but man are they strong. I’m just not sure you realise that even the little messages you send have a huge impact. I’m trying my best to send positive messages to my little girl, Imogen. I’m trying to expose her to as many activities, sports & learning opportunities. I’m trying to send out the message about how strong, courageous, smart, determined, resilient & beautiful she is. The messages sent now help shape who she is, how she behaves &, most importantly, how she views herself. So when strangers over the past few months say: “Eew! What is it?” “Hello… oh! What’s that?” “What’s that thing on his head?” (Girls where hoodies too buddy!) “Does it hurt?” “Is it itchy?” “Well, it doesn’t seem to detract from her personality” (these last 3 were all from the lady at @potterybarnkidsaus ????) “Ouch! That mark on her head looks painful” “My neice had one of those, it grew so much she lost her eye” It’s kind of undermining my work. You don’t even know her but feel perfectly comfortable pointing out her hemangioma & making a comment. I know you mean no harm, I know you’re interested, or in some cases, trying to be helpful but you don’t realise you’re actually sending a damaging message. You’re telling her that what’s on the outside is important, to judge from what you only see. You’re telling her that despite her undeniable strength, her resilience, her determination, her big blue eyes, mouth full of teeth, cheeky grin & happy face, all that people will see is her hemangioma. I kinda feel stupid mentioning this because a hemangioma is NOT A BIG DEAL! It’s like a freckle or beauty spot or I don’t know, like a cheekbone. But you’re making it out as though it’s something more. So I’m asking you society, don’t be shallow. Be aware that by asking these questions or making these statements, you’re sending a negative message. Immi’s too young to notice now but soon she won’t be, so I need you to be aware of this. Yours truly, Sam (Immi’s proud mum) Post cont. in comments…Advertisement
“I’m trying to send out the message about how strong, courageous, smart, determined, resilient & beautiful she is,” Squiers told her followers.
“The messages sent now help shape who she is, how she behaves &, most importantly, how she views herself.”
Squiers explained that strangers are constantly commenting on and questioning the mark, for example saying “Eew! What is it?”, “My neice had one of those, it grew so much she lost her eye”, and “Well, it doesn’t seem to detract from her personality”.
She stressed none of these comments are helpful, and whilst she understands they come from a place of interest and are not made with harmful intentions, they’re nevertheless “sending a damaging message”.
“You’re telling her that what’s on the outside is important, to judge from what you only see.”
“I kinda feel stupid mentioning this because a hemangioma is NOT A BIG DEAL! It’s like a freckle or beauty spot or I don’t know, like a cheekbone. But you’re making it out as though it’s something more.”
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Noting that while Immi is only age one and does not yet understand the remarks being made, or that she even has hemangioma, she soon will.
Squiers ended her letter by signing off as a “proud mum” and then added in the comments: “PS. Like I told the third stranger who made a comment about it at the supermarket today…we’re actually really fond of it, it suits her and is her special spot.”