Every day of the year, there are unusual holidays one can celebrate. I discovered a website during my Year of Firsts in 2014, that lists them and I check in occasionally, out of curiosity. I have never perused the list, apparently, on May 16, because I’ve never heard of Turn Beauty Inside Out Day.
Turn Beauty Inside Out Day was founded in 2000 by New Moon: A Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams. Celebrated on the third Wednesday in May, the intention is to help girls expand definitions of beauty, from outer to inner.
There is a need to have meaningful conversations with each other and our children and grandchildren about what defines true beauty. It’s hard to compete, culturally, with tv shows, movies and ads that equate beauty with thinness, but we start with education in our homes, communities and schools.
In doing research for this post, I read alarming statistics.
• 50% of 9 year old girls and 80% of 10 year girls diet, which can harm their health because they are not getting enough of the right nutrients.
• The #1 wish for girls 11-17 is to be thinner.
• More than 5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders.
• 90% of those affected by eating disorders are adolescent girls and young women.
• Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer or losing their parents.
What can we do to help?
• We have to stop shaming people for body shape and size. Off hand comments about Aunt Rose’s weight or snide remarks about a movie character’s shape or a joke about the store clerk’s appearance sends the wrong message about the importance of outer beauty to children and creates a standard for being thin and for everyone to look the same.
• Don’t criticize your own body. Kids adopt their parents’ attitudes about physical beauty. Be an example of healthy self love and care.
• Express appreciation often for inner beauty. Say, “You are beautiful because… you make me laugh…you love animals…you care about others…you stand up for people…etc. • Screen movies and tv shows to eliminate those that promote outer beauty. • Write to newspapers, school boards, advertisers and tv shows, advocating an emphasis on programs for inner beauty.
I love the idea behind this celebratory day. I found out about it late in the afternoon, however now that I know about this annual day of awareness, I will make plans to be involved at a higher level next year.
I am one who focuses on creating health, from the inside out. I would love to partner with schools or organizations and help to get the message to young girls, and boys, that beauty, like health, begins within. Rather than focusing on dieting, which has a high failure rate and can be detrimental to health, I would encourage kids and teens to focus on nourishing their bodies with life sustaining foods. When we are healthy, we feel good, and everything else falls into place.
I have a preteen granddaughter, and young great nieces, that need to hear that beauty begins inside. And I know, because I have grandsons as well, that boys are not immune to feeling unhappy with the way they look. This is a message we all need to hear, children and adults, females and males. I’ll be working toward plans for next year. I hope you will join me. We can start by all wearing our shirts inside out, as a fun outward declaration that we are beautiful…inside.