Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: You'd be prettier if... (Chadwick)

Title: You'd be prettier if...teaching our daughters to love their bodies--even when we don't love our own
Author: Dara Chadwick
Genre: Non-fiction, personal health
Pages: 224
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Challenges: Rainbow Connection (Y); Women Unbound (#11)
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own hard earned money
Summary (from the back of the book): It's in the piles of clothes on her bedroom floor, left there when she's tried on outfit after outfit. It's the powerful legs that suddenly are "goo big" in her eyes. Your daughter's body is beginning to change, and she's not sure what to make of it. Meanwhile, you're facing dilemmas: you're trying to lose weight, but don't want her to think she has to. Or, maybe you're unhappy with your looks--so how do you help your daughter love hers? This book explains the powerful effect that a mother's self-image has on her daughter. Through interviews with numerous women and girls, as well as experiences with her own daughter, Faith, Dara Chadwick shows how parents can break the cycle of "bad body image" during the sensitive tween and teen years.


Review: How ironic. This review starts out with a confession. I am eating Dorritos while I write this review! I was going to say "how pathetic is that?!" when I remembered a lesson from this book: Don't trash talk yourself, even in jest. So I will just enjoy my nacho cheese while I type.

I thought this book had some really valid points, but I didn't love it. I think it was too repetitive for me. And, my daughter is only 9; I think I'd find it had more impact if she were a bit older. I actually thought this book was better for me than for thinking about her. In fact, I wish my mom and dad had read this book when I was a teen (who are we kidding, now would be good too). Sorry about that mom and dad, but we all know I have major body-image issues. And, growing up in a southern California beach town only contributed to it. Honestly, when I travel I feel much better about myself physically.


The ideas that I liked best in this book were realizing what an impact the unspoken has on our daughters (how often we weigh ourselves, not buying clothes for ourselves, eating only junk food, etc). And, of course, the spoken words... about ourselves, not our daughters. If we say "I don't like my thighs, I weigh too much, I need to diet" etc, then our daughters learn that that is how they are supposed to feel and act. We should concentrate on not putting ourselves/our bodies down even if we feel that way.


So Dara Chadwick has some really good ideas. Each chapter tackles a different aspect of the issue and ends with ideas on how to give good positive body image messages to our daughters. But, I felt like a lot of it was rewording of the same ideas. The book concentrates on girls who are over weight, which at this point my daughter certainly isn't (quite the opposite in fact). But I know that being thin or short (like my daughter is) can also be major issues for girls as they grow older so I hope I remember to keep my comments to myself. I do like that the author has resources in the back of the book.


What I am going to take away from this is to be more positive about my own body when I speak. Who knows, perhaps that will lead to a better self image inside, and it certainly can't hurt my daughter!

4 comments:

Suko said...

Excellent review, Helen. We need more positive body image books for young girls--and women, too. We need to inspire confidence in the young women of today, who shouldn't be judged on appearance above all else.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Suko--Thanks for stopping by! The media ought to be so ashamed of themselves for the way they retouch photos, giving us all such a false sense of reality and beauty. At least we now all know how much they alter, which helps.

Jeanne said...

It doesn't help enough. Even the most rational of 16-year-old girls fall for some of it. My daughter calls herself "fat" at 5'11" and 150 pounds.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Jeanne--ugh! We've got such warped images of ourselves, don't we?!