Beauty. Belleza. No matter which language you say it in, the word has the power to conjure up some strong emotions and memories which are particular to each individual’s own past experiences. Some of those memories may be full of happiness and self-confidence – a first crush who returned your smile, un besito, the admiring expressions of family members at your quinceñera or on your wedding day. However most women have just as many memories that bring about feelings of self-consciousness – unkind words that were said to us – (gorda, flaca, o lo que sea), or unfavorable comparisons that were made between ourselves and someone else.

The shocking thing is how early these experiences begin in a girl’s life. From a young age girls realize, though perhaps not consciously at first, that females are unfairly judged more on their physical appearance than anything else. When a girl realizes this, she has entered a state of self-consciousness that, para mejor o peor, will be difficult to shake for the rest of her life.

The people at Dove have run many campaigns in the past to deal with the way women view beauty and thus, themselves. Now Dove has a new Spanish-language initiative called “Mejor Hablemos,” – (“Let’s Talk.”)

According to Dove, “Six out of ten girls will stop doing things they love because they feel bad about their appearance” and “Only 11% of girls aged 10 to 17 feel comfortable using the word ‘beautiful’ to describe themselves.”– Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this simultaneously heartbreaking and infuriating?

If these statistics bother you, let’s do something about it. Mejor hablemos. Dove is encouraging all mothers and mentors to young girls, (that’s you too, tía!), to simply start talking. You have the power to help the young girl in your life develop a positive relationship with beauty. You can affect her perspective on what it means to be beautiful, help her define it and herself before the media and the world we live in do it first.

Visit Dove’s Vive Mejor website for materials to help you get started.

Disclosure: This post is compensated in collaboration with Dove and Latina Bloggers Connect.

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