Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Self Esteem, Dove and Sassy. I'm all over it.


Some bloggers can identify with advertising campaigns for various reasons. I was VERY excited when I was notified that BlogHer was allowing me to participate in the Dove Self-Esteem program for one important reason: Sassy.


Self-esteem in young women is an important topic for me, as I am not only a mother of two teenage girls, but also a teacher. I teach this ALL THE TIME in school, and as educators we all realize how very important self-esteem is to a young person. As a mother, it really hits close to home. My 17-year-old daughter (Sassy) was a chubby, awkward girl until she turned 16, and has since turned into a gorgeous swan. However, when she looks in the mirror she still sees the little fat girl. We work on this issue every day.



As a family, we have spent a great amount of time talking about what being a “healthy young woman” looks like. We spend time together participating in outdoor activities, and invite her friends and their families to join us as well. We subscribe to magazines that promote health and wellness, and often talk about issues relating to this in the car or at the dinner table.
Additionally, I spoke to our school counselor about strategies to help Sassy overcome this distorted image of herself. (I want to stress the fact that your school counselor has a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips on so many issues that young people face. If you are unsure about where to go for advice, they are a valuable tool.) Not only did she recommend some great reading material and speaking points, she also was able to connect us with some young people from the nearby university who were working on this particular topic! It was Serendipity at its best. And now, Sassy knows how beautiful she really is. Inside AND out.




I am encouraged by the fact that Dove is committed to a self-esteem project for young women!



The Dove Self-Esteem fund is committed to helping girls build positive self-esteem and a healthy body image, with a goal of reaching 5 million girls globally by 2010.


Every time you buy Dove, you help us provide self-esteem building workshops. As part of this specific program, we are asking consumers to enter their UPC code on Dove.com to donate $1 to self-esteem programming through our partners – Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Girls Inc.


Dove is also collecting video and photo testimonials from women who have helped build positive self-esteem in a girl in their life.

People, there are so many ways that you can help with this mission – and you can find them at http://www.facebook.com/DoveSelfEsteemFund .


Do you have suggestions, recommendations, and personal experiences on how YOU have helped a young person develop good self-esteem? We would love to hear your stories so that we can share with all of our bloggy friends!








Please, visit here to find out more, and for chances to help and win from Dove!

92 comments:

  1. I cancelled a subscription to a magazine I ordered for my office. It had a healthy sounding name but every cover featured women in bikini's with thighs airbrushed to look like toothpicks.

    I will not buy fashion magazines for my tween girls. I stopped buying them for myself. Will not put my money where deathly thin is promoted.

    I'd like to see a nationwide boycott. I'm so sick of seeing runway models who look like they just walked out of Auschwitz.

    I'm also sick of seeing beautiful, healthy, fit young women in my office who are fat phobic to the point where it ruins their sexuality.

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  2. I was Sassy once.

    I was always just a tad on the chubby side growing up. Not fat, but not svelte or thin. As I began to lose that baby fat in high school, I never realized it. For one, all my friends were skinny-scrawny, so I still seemed chubby, I thought. And looking in the mirror, I still saw the squarish, chubby body I'd always had.

    It wasn't until I was about 18 that I realized I DID look great! That was when the uber-competition of high school ended and I was finding my own way in life. And it also helped hearing genuine compliment from others (not my family who I always thought were just being nice). Friends I'd made during this time and the guys and gals we ran around with really bolstered my self esteem. Here was this new group of people that didn't know me back when I was a chubby kid and they thought I was a hottie!

    And now looking back, I know I had a great figure the whole time, and I never appreciated it due to my high self-expectations. (Being 30 and overweight puts your hindsight at 20/20 real fast!)

    When I worked with younger girls a few years ago at a restaurant, I was always sure to be supportive like a wise older sister and let them know stuff like that you don't have to be LC or Audrina to be attractive. And sometimes hearing that you have great hair or whatever gives you a boost. I tried to be that booster.

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  3. Hey, when did you start this new blog? I am so out of the loop these days.

    Wonderful post. My 20 year old daughter is a bigger girl and always has been. She has bee subjected to a lot of teasing and ostricizing her whole life. what I never can understand is why she is addicted to shows like Laguna Beach with skinny, bitchy girls.

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  4. I just wanted to echo what amazing things I think Dove is doing right now for self esteem. When most marketers are trying to make girls feel bad about themselves, Dove is really striving for the opposite. I actually work for a company, Bridge Worldwide, that's just written a book about marketing with meaning and we've chosen Dove as one of the top examples of this. Just glad to see that other non-marketing folks think the same thing. Check out the book if you want to here: www.marketingwithmeaning.com or here: http://bit.ly/twitter_bww

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  5. Not only for girls. I am going to discuss my husband's magazines (not porn, just regular guy magazines) that have nude women on the front.

    We also, or I should say I and then I turned my husband around to my way of thinking about this, don't use the b-word in regards to women or girls. It's just too much in our culture where the odds are stacked against girls and boys growing up with a sense of sexuality and self-esteem that isn't distorted by casual language and pictures.

    And this from me! I'm so not a prude, but this is not about sex as much as it is about respect for oneself and others.

    Much love for all you do, VodkaMom!

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  6. I love they way Dove is promoting healthier looking women with realistic bodies! Thanks for the info on registering the UPC codes to raise money for programming.

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  7. YES!! This is SO important. The majority of women do not feel good about their bodies. The mass majority. This is devasting. Thank you so much for having the guts to write about it. ~Susan

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  8. This IS important! I see that Dove and Walmart are both doing a big push for the self-esteem issue.

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  9. Great words, Vodka! I like to think that I help Sprite every day that she sees me go out the door without make up. She doesn't play in my cosmetics like so many other little girls her age do because she doesn't know to. I'm trying to teach her about natural beauty.

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  10. What a great campaign! I had a mother spreak to me about my daughter being anorexic because of what she did not eat at school. It had nothing to do with her perception of how she looked but everything to do with what was served for lunchtime. Our society has driven the almighty "looks matter" message for too long. Thanks for standing up!

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  11. wish i had a story. i'm still in what sassy used to be!

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  12. This is such an important issue. My Aunt has always equated being extra skinny to beauty...She will starve herself to stay ultra thing. she still has size threes that practically fall off of her. Unfortunately her skin has taken the tole as has her hair...plus medically she is hurting herself by being so skinny. Bad enough to put this image on yourself but she has two beautiful daughters that are being taught the same habits...not allowed to eat hardly anything and count caleries etc. They are tiny things even though they are 14 and 12. undernourished. not unhealthy thankfully but they just dont know any different. I do what I can with them and try to teach them that healthy eating does not mean going without etc. thank you for being a part of this battle.

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  13. I think this is a great idea, I am a mother to three son's and one of them is on the chubby side, his self esteem is not where is should be, his father and I are working on it, I want him to understand the importance of beign healthy not looking at the other guys and thinking something is wrong with him.

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  14. Dove was great for starting this movement, it's time that other companies jumped on the bandwagon as well.

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  15. coolios... both my daughters are in their 20s but are avid readers, so they'd get my copy...

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  16. Love this post, and totally want to read that book. Dove is doing an outstanding job with the issues women face, and I'm so glad you are bringing further awareness. Keep up the good work!

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  17. Dove is doing something truly wonderful! It is nice to see them sponsor something that can help so many young women. I don't have anything to share.

    I am glad Blogher picked you too.

    I RT'd your Tweet

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  18. Thank you Dove!
    Sassy's story is my granddaughter's.
    I'd love to read that book and I will win or no.
    Actually, I should take myself out of the running. I can afford it! :)

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  19. I have a 10 year old stepdaughter/social outcast. As pretty as she could be, for some reason she just isn't accepted by the general population of her school. Self esteem is the most difficult thing I have ever had to teach her.

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  20. I totally agree. Anorexia is growing fast - even in kids as young as 8 or 10!

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  21. We talk about unrealistic body images all the time. All the time. You have to if you want to counteract the onslaught of the lollipop people.

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  22. I've tweeted your contest, visited the Dove site from here - and now I'm commenting! Very smart of you to run this contest, and for such a good cause.

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  23. I love Dove. I think we can never fix this unless everyone works together : ) and I am so glad Dove has stepped up to the plate to showcase REAL beauty!

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  24. When I was a kid my house was always full of fashion magazines where the women all looked like stick bugs and my mom was always on a diet and always saying how fat she thought she was. It all made me feel very selfconscious, like I was fat and ugly and worthless. It took me a long, long time to realize that wasn't true.

    As a mom I don't allow my daughter to read fashion magazines and I never complain about my weight or put my looks down because I know how much young girls absorb and personalize that. A mom's words are VERY powerful. Moms need to be careful.

    So far it seems to be working. *fingers crossed*

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  25. Oh! And I went to the Dove page from here. :-)

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  26. I suffered from image issues when I was a teen girl as well. Every now and then I still fall to them, especially when I am around my girl friends who could all be super models. As a teacher, thought, I am committed to build self esteem and knock down any oppression that one feels because of gender, heritage, appearance. Many many many lessons are taught about everyone's individuality. I preach that beautiful is inside, not out. The DOVE commercials have made me very excited about this program. I think it's about time to take on this issue!

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  27. My heart goes out to Sassy. What painful painful times.

    BUT with a Mom like you she will get through it.

    xo

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  28. My 11 year old granddaughter lives with me, and is not a twig. We have had many conversations in regard to self-esteem. I am joyful whenever I see products or advertisements that portray "real" people. She does know that most professional photographs have been retouched. I even showed her how to do this to pictures so see doesn't believe everything she sees.

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  29. As a teen, and young adult, I struggled with my body image. I would always see the ultra thin models, and think I could never measure up. It took some time, but I have finally come to love the body I have. The 30's bring a realistic perspective. I recently ran into some guys from high school, and they commented on how they always thought I looked great. Go figure. Anyway, I love the Dove campaign, and their promotion of women with "real" bodies.

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  30. X LMNOP blogger....your new k teacher friend in CA....

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  31. My daughter is so comfortable in her skin, and I hope she continues to be. She's not concerned with what others think of her hair, her clothes, or her body. She is who she is and she's proud of that. And I'm very proud of her.

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  32. I think this is an incredibly important issue. We're fighting the messages of society and they're not realistic.

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  33. My problem was not so much body image. My image problem had to do with my looks. I wore glasses and considered ugly. Found out later that I'm was pretty cute, but my self image was in tatters.

    Having a large corporation finally get behind the message of acceptance and self love brings that message to the forefront and I hope it stays there.

    For my son, I pointed out how media shows women in a certain light. Women are wearing half as much clothing as men or everyone on the show looks like a model. But look at the women around you in real life. Look at your aunts, your teachers, the cashiers, the waitresses, your friends, your mother's friends. Do you see anyone at all that looks like that? I told him to check the girls out at the athletic fields. Those girls are empowered, confident, and less likely to be conned about their body image.

    As a martial arts instructor, creating real self esteem for our girls is near and dear to my heart too.

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  34. I absolutely LOVE this campaign. I have circulated the video to all the gals in my office and everyone in my contacts list. This is such an important cause. Too many young girls visions of themselves are messed up because of all these fashion magazines and celebrities who are stick thin, etc. Show some of us real gals for a change...we are all beautiful!

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  35. I have two daughters and the youngest struggles with her self worth from time to time but she has mostly found her niche and is happy.

    I will certainly by dove to promote the cause. Thank you for such a worthwhile post.
    xx

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  37. I think this is great. I was not heavy as a kid, but I was horribly nerdy. I think it's great that there are people out there who support the whole "be who you are" philosophy. I hate that tv/movies still pander to the whole skinny is "it" thing. Hubs and I joke about who we'd like to force feed on certain shows.

    One of my very favorite tv character is Penelope on Criminal Minds. She is a bigger girl, and has a certain "cute nerd" vibe going...I love her! She is so much more real than a lot of what you see.

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  38. Awesome awesome post and inspiring!!! Thanks for sharing this!
    x0

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  39. This ia a truly great campaigne. I LOVE Dove and the great products they make and the way that they are trying to positively impact the lives of young girls :o)

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  40. Hmm I left a comment here before... Not sure if this time my comment should be tied with vampires...

    Kidding aside - I wish all companies would use real looking people to sell their shit.

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  41. done and done for your contest!
    My daughter is OBSESSED with Vampires, she has these Robert Pattinson posters all over her room!
    And her and her friends do this whole vampire talk, skit thing. She would love this!

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  42. I have 3 girls. Lack of self esteem is so much our issue as 'self image' and 'body typing'. While our girls are happy and healthy they each have had to over come obstacles in relation to how they view their own body types. If it ain't broke don't fix it is my moto and we have worked hard to help them understand to accept who they are and to work with them to improve their perceived image of their body. Thansk to my pediatrician laying down the law about fab diets and body mass and weight is a number not who you are my girls are far more confident about their body which compliments and enhances the inner selve they project to others.

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  43. Bravo! Such a great cause and one that I think about a lot - and my daughter is only 3. But I have seen what a distorted body issue can do. We dealt with it with my younger sister many years ago - and thankfully she is a beautiful Mom of three with a very healthy approach to body image today. A young woman who worked for me for a number of years eventually, with me encouraging her all the way, went into treatment for an eating disorder. My 11 year old niece went through some body image issues earlier this year.
    At that time I remember saying that I think every girl growing up today will have a point in their life where they experience issues with this topic. Hopefully they will have the right tools to deal with it effectively!

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  44. I have a 15yo granddaughter that "feels" fat, even though is truely isn't. A lot of it comes from the pictures and the clothes sizes that run soooo small. Thanks for the info!

    XXDenise

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  45. There is still so much to be done for this cause. If the media would be responsible about how they portray people... ack.
    Great post, VM.

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  46. Like I said over there... this is very cool indeed! Maybe I can get some Christmas shopping done early and cheaply!

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  47. who knew vampires cared so much? Awesome prizes!

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  48. My lurve f0or this program knows no bounds.

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  49. Wonderful idea! I have an 11 year old daughter and so far she's okay but I don't buy fashion magazines and try to keep that away from her as much as possible. I'm sure I won't be able to keep it away from her forever though.

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  50. wonderful post VM. i work with a lot of kids with self esteem issues. because of circumstances they have a distorted image of who they really are and their worth. hanks for promoting a worthy cause.

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  51. I wish your daughter luck. Self-esteem is something everyone struggles with, and it's good to hear that she has a loving family to support her.

    You're supporting a good cause. :)

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  52. Self Esteem is so important for boys and girls. I was called "Carol ~ Barrel" when I was young, then got thin then yo-yo my whole life. Self Esteem for me is because I am a beautiful wonderful child of God, made in His likeness. As I develop my character in Christ, my self esteem grows, no matter what dress size. I'll support Dove!

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  53. What a great thing to be doing.

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  54. What a great idea! Even though I dont have any girls I do have boys and they will have self esteem issues, just not as bad as the girls.

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  55. great idea! I already support dove as I have used many of their products for some years now...yep..Im in my 50s! Selfesteem is such a biggie...and as you note, magazines and tv shows do NOT help! I raised 2 kids with very healthy self esteem cuz WE WORKED at it...you have to...please pay attention all you moms! WE get it, dont think men do as much...but just join in! glad to help! ty cher

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  56. Sounds like Dove is doing wonderful things to improve the lives of women. I mean besides making delicious chocolate.

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  57. I worry about this so much for my 10yo daughter. She's smart and fun and so beautiful, but she tends to be a follower, which scares me to death! So far, she's not too concerned with being "popular" but I fear that will change with middle school next year. I am so glad that I'm not a kid anymore!

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  58. I have a young teen at home, and I think the biggest boost to her self-esteem is the fact that we do not have cable TV. She has never seen the images of stick-insects-slathered-with-colored-goop that some of her friends think are the definition of beauty. She wears her hair short because it's easy to maintain and looks good on her, continues to wear small earrings rather than huge danglies, and keeps the belly-baring to a minimum. I'm so proud of her some days I want to cry.

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  59. Self esteem is HUGE. I remember how hard it was struggling to have it during my teen years. Even now, I am going through a little phase. And I'm 38!!!!!

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  60. We need more brands doing this same thing for young girls!! thanks Dove!

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  61. As a former employee of Ogilvy & Mather (the advertising agency that helped Dove launch this campaign a couple years back), I am thrilled to enjoy its halo-effect.

    I agree, we need to make a better impression on young girls. Unfortunately, a lot of the pressure to be 'beautiful' comes from their peers, but we need to do a lot more by setting the example of what real beauty means. Thanks to Dove, we're on our way.

    (And if it sells a few bars of soap in the process - fantastic! I think we should all at least SMELL good!)

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  62. As a mom to a young, impressionable daughter, self esteem is something I have been trying to work with her on for a little while now. There are too many "role models" out there that are NOT the norm, but that young girls are forced to see every day. I am so grateful to Dove (and you and your page) for seeing this as a priority...it seriously is!!!

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  63. cdziuba@aol.com See? Vampire love is a good thing. Thanks for the contest.

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  64. Encouraging them to persue something they love. Being drawn to something, and good at it gives a young woman good self esteem.

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  65. I looked at the girls around me in high school seeing their extreme thinness and wishing I wasn't so well, curvy. I really thought I was very chubby. I was 115 and due to stress of a very full schedule graduated at about 102. I ate fine and didn't consciously throw up, but was queasy every single morning of my senior year and could barely make it to the bathroom every morning after getting to school. Today I look at group pictures of myself from high school and see "Wow, my arm were as skinny as the girls that I though were the skinniest". And now, at (hold your ears) tipping the scales into the next set of 100's I want to beat myself in the head. How could I not have appreciated myself then? This horrible, but I really don't think much could have except if I had a boyfriend who was around (mine was in the Army) who told me how great I looked. I wish I could have "heard" it from my family. I wish I could have seen it myself. And these days, I am stricken with "reverse anorexia". I think I look fabulous until I actually see myself in a picture or (gasp) catch my reflection out of the house. Oh, my daughter's dance class with that evil wall length mirror is just the worse. (* The best being the silly mirror at a local amusement park that makes me taller and thinner and unfortunately just makes me look normal).

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  66. As a kid I had no self esteem...I wanted to be like all those cool girls...when I went to my 30th class reunion all those girls were now large and unhappy- their lives peaked in high school...I am still active, married and loving life- I needed someone to believe in me back then....now I see how lucky I was to be me....it just took so long...and I make sure I tell my girls this and let them know how proud I am of them...and how no one was there for me back then and I won't let it be that way for my kids.
    lMnop

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  67. It's about time! Thanks, Dove and Vodka.

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  68. I have a 12-year-old step daughter who is called fat by her mother all the time and her mother shows her pics of Victoria's Secret models and tells her she could wear those things if she wasn't fat. Me and her father just have to tell her that she is beautiful no matter what her mother says and that beautiful women are not all skin model types. We also tell her that a good mother would not say these things and that we love her no matter what.

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  69. I've heard it said, speak only positive thoughts to yourself and about your friends. I think this is the best medicine for good self esteem.

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  70. as a mom of two beautiful tween girls i can already see that they don't realize how truly beautiful they are. this book sounds like a must have and i'd love to win it, if not i will certainly be buying it. thanks for sharing this with us!

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  71. I love the Dove Evolution video. It clearly shows that what you see in the magazines is not only unrealistic - it's physically impossible! You can't Photoshop life.

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  72. I love that you turned this into a contest! It's a vital message to spread. Thanks for the reminder, and please consider me entered!

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  73. Wonderful program! Putting Dove on the shopping list.

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  74. I absolutely love that Dove is doing this. My daughter E and her friends,all 11 years old, struggle with self esteem everyday. I know that the school does try to help and I have a wonderful general practitioner the fam goes to who does her best to explain how to be a healthy young girl to E. It's such a hard thing though,still E and her friends will complain to each other how fat they are,when in reality not one of them is overweight.

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  75. I have been trying to bring the Dove program to our small community for two years! We have done self esteem workshops for mothers and daughters at the club that I helped open, and included discussions with pre-teens about lifes changes, what to expect and what to avoid. They have been successful, sort of, I think people would rather ignore what is infront of them.

    Mantha was involved in a bullying incident two weeks ago where she was called ugly in Spanish. No matter how many adults told her she was beautiful, she still believes the nasty comments those girls made to her. Self esteem is hard to have and even harder to hold on to!

    Heck, I still remember the kid (his name and what he looked like too) that called me thunder thighs in 7th grade - 26 years ago! I took stock in knee length t-shirts and baggy jeans for at least 15 years after that!

    lo

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  76. Ah body image. We're so inundated with stick figures as role models. Hurray for the Dove campaign.

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  77. I love this program...great job Dove...love the new blog.

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  78. I saw the video Dove did that showed how ads are touched up and was amazed at how much they distort the model. Yikes! Go Dove!!

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  79. Count me in. I have a couple teacher friends who want to borrow your other book you sent me. Can I loan it out for a little bit? :-)

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  80. So, I absolutely love the fact that people are actually starting to look at beauty in a way that's not so...artificial.
    I think it's about time that women came together to celebrate those things that make us different and encourage everyone to be an individual and not fear ridicule because of some pre-existing (and ridicolous)notion of "normal". Screw normal. I think we should all strive for "exceptional." *=-)

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  81. I will be doing the Me to We ~ Free the Children. Not only is this for girls it is for guys also. Anyone can help and everyone of the kids that the help is meant for benefits. I am going to be going to the event and will do a whole post about it. Anything we can do for our kids or anyone else's it not a bad thing at all!

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  82. I have a 9 year old daughter. I so want her to be healthy and filled with self-esteem.

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  83. I was like Sassy and I've never gotten over it. When puberty was over, i shot straight up and lost all that baby fat. Of course after three kids I am back to being overweight again. This time, I am reading Diets Don't Work to get back to a natural way of eating w/o obsessing about exactly what i put in my mouth. My thoughts are with Sassy and she'll overcome this because she has a resourceful mom like you.

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  84. I love Dove's self esteem campaign. I also love the Belly Project. I am getting up the nerve to send my belly in.

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  85. I have always been chubby, I totally support the Dove campaign so that girls of all sizes will start to see themselves as healthy and beautiful instead of less than the girls on the cover of their favorite magazine.

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  86. I work with pregnant and parenting teens... and this is a topic I find very challenging... especially when their boyfriends are calling them fat. Sigh! I visited Dove... thanks!

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  87. I have been doing this program with my daughter!

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  88. I've tried to teach my friends since high school how beautiful each and every one of them is. They'll deny it, whine about calves and thighs, and so on. To prove them wrong, I'd bring my camera with me to school nearly every day and take their pictures. I hope that sooner rather than latter, they'll be able to look at these candid photos and see their own worth.

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