In a society that proudly and prominently showcases long, silky, and straight hair as beautiful, along with fair skin in magazines, commercials, and marketing campaigns, it can be a tough world for a little Brown girl to know that she’s beautiful, too. In research conducted by Dove: The Real Truth About Beauty, nine out of 10 girls want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, six out of 10 girls are so concerned with the way they look that they are holding back from participating in important life activities, and 72 percent of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful.
These statistics ring true especially to the Brown girl. Brown girls must be empowered to rise above these statistics and know that regardless to whether their hair is silky straight or kinky curly, that they are just as important and beautiful as their counterparts who may have long flowing ringlets and fair skin. We as the parents must start the empowerment at home and the time to do so is now.
“As a mother of a brown girl and a My Black is Beautiful Ambassador, it’s vital to teach our brown girls on the beauty in variety, shapes, sizes, and hues. Our differences are beautiful and we are an eclectic culture. I strive to walk in confidence and be the authority in life that our girls need. I’ve found the transparency in my own truth of feeling rejected as a dark skin, full figured woman, with kinky hair. This is just the truth that we need to hear. Sharing how we have overcome and have grown to love who we are because real beauty is inward and is what has gifted me freedom and the innate ability to encourage our girls walk in that same beautiful confidence.” Ebony Combs, Brand Consultant and Natural Hair Model
“Dear brown girl, your skin is perfect and your hair is exactly what God created for you,” says Davene Turner, a photographer based in Dumfries, Virginia, who has created The #DearBrownGirl project. Turner created and launched this project to confront and investigate definitions of beauty within the African-American community. The project invites Black women ages 18 and up to write a letter in the traditional “Dear You, Sincerely Me” fashion, to a young Black girl, ages four to 18 throughout the world.
The purpose is to encourage her to love the skin she’s in, and to celebrate black girl beauty and magic from an intergenerational approach. The project uses quotes from one of the letters submitted, and photography to help our girls challenge the negative media images, and empower them to create their own. It is Turner’s desire to help shift the way young brown girls and women see themselves. Each girl will receive a complimentary digital copy of her image which will include an inspirational quote from one of the letters submitted.
As mothers of Brown girls, we can become involved by participating in the project or submitting a letter to DearBrownGirlProject@gmail.com. In the meantime, here are five ways that we can help our Brown girls to know that they are beautiful and to love the skin that they are in.
- Tell your daughter how beautiful she is every day. These words being told to our girls are sweeter when they come directly from the individual who birthed them, their mothers.
- Research empowerment conferences locally and across the country. You will be surprised how many annual conferences are held each year that address self-esteem, love, and beauty that will further educate our Brown girls on their beauty and their worth.
- Research books by African-American authors who teach our Brown girls about who they are, where they come from, and the rich history of their African ancestors who were queens.
- Have your daughter to start and keep a journal which journals how they feel each day, and as the mother, keep track of their entries. When they are feeling down or low, make it your responsibility to build them back up.
- Show your daughter images of Brown girls and women like them that are positive, and women who have built platforms who can be role models that they can follow.
In speaking with Turner about her project, she talked more about her “why” in starting the project.
“I started the project because I was starting to see a trend of young black girls having issues with their self-esteem and confidence because of the color of their skin, bodies and their curly, kinky or coily hair. For example, one four-year-old told her mom that she wished she was white with blonde hair and another wanted her mom to straighten her hair so that she would not look different from the other girls in her class.”
By participating in the #DearBrownGirl project and following the aforementioned tips, together we can make a difference in the self-esteem of little Brown girls across the world.