beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if the beauty and the beholder are one and the same person, chances are there’s less beauty and more bullying involved. This is usually the case for most women, and even though “women” is already a broad term, it’s not wide enough to envelop the epidemic of self-criticism. Girls as young as seven years old are already succumbing to Body Image issues, and author Zadie Smith is having none of it with her daughter.

Zadie Smith is just one of many mothers who struggle to help their daughters to love and respect themselves

In her book, “On Beauty” Smith writes about the self-esteem issues that many young girls face today.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to shield innocent daughters from the damaging mentality of “I’m not enough.”

In her book, Smith writes about a mother’s dread of having to protect her daughters from society's beauty standards. The mother, Kiki, bans television, lipsticks, and magazines from their home to shelter her daughters from the threat of the beauty industry. But as she reveals, her efforts make little difference in the end. That’s because, “It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies.”

Children as young as 7 years old are becoming obsessed with their body image

Art imitates life and the body image struggles that Smith depicted in her book weren’t staying safe inside her written work. She found them infiltrating her own home, but not in her own life.

Instead, it was her 7-year-old daughter who had started to spend too much time getting ready for school in the morning.

As Smith put it bluntly, “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a sh*t if you waste an hour and a half doing your makeup.”

Can a 15-minute mirror limit keep women from being too critical of their own beauty?

Writing about these issues is necessary for today’s society because it exposes real yet insidious threats to feminine strength and identity.

Smith’s work is a catalyst for meaningful dialogue, but how are we supposed to practically solve the problems women of all ages face when it comes to self-criticism and body hatred?

We can take a cue from Smith. When it came time to setting her daughter straight, Smith put a strict time limit on how long she could spend in front of the mirror. Just how much time?

15 minutes is the magic number. And at seven years old, how much more time do you need? But maybe 15 minutes isn’t such a bad idea for the rest of us, too.

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