Words From a Father to His Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle)

self-image

Dear Little One,

As I write this, I’m sitting in the makeup aisle of our local Target store. A friend recently texted me from a different makeup aisle and told me it felt like one of the most oppressive places in the world. I wanted to find out what he meant. And now that I’m sitting here, I’m beginning to agree with him. Words have power, and the words on display in this aisle have a deep power. Words and phrases like:

Affordably gorgeous,

Infallible,

Flawless finish,

Brilliant strength,

Liquid power,

Go nude,

Age defying,

Instant age rewind,

Choose your dream,

Nearly naked, and

Natural beauty.

When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.

But words do have power and maybe, just maybe, the words of a father can begin to compete with the words of the world. Maybe a father’s words can deliver his daughter through this gauntlet of institutionalized shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of her own worthiness and beauty.

A father’s words aren’t different words, but they are words with a radically different meaning:

Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.

Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.

Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.

Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace—for yourself, and for everyone around you.

Age defying. Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless. It will always know how to play and how to enjoy and how to revel in this one-chance life. May you always defiantly resist the aging of your spirit.

Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be a preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.

Little One, you love everything pink and frilly and I will surely understand if someday makeup is important to you. But I pray three words will remain more important to you—the last three words you say every night, when I ask the question: “Where are you the most beautiful?” Three words so bright no concealer can cover them.

Where are you the most beautiful?

On the inside.

From my heart to yours,

Daddy

—————

Like the last letter I wrote to my daughter, I wrote this first for her and the day I’ll eventually read it to her. But I also wrote it for every woman who needs to hear the words of a father. Women, no one else can define your beauty for you. But they’ll try.

My daughter is four years-old now. If her awakening to the makeup aisle comes at the typical age, I figure we have about five years to radically alter the arc of history and the subjugation-by-image of the female gender. We’ve got a lot of work to do. And it begins in the heart of each and every woman.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

—————

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Next Post: “The Key to a Man’s Heart (and Why He Gets Road Rage)”

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Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing at Alliance Clinical Associates in Wheaton, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Well said. As a woman and mother I could not agree more. Keep beating that drum.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Yvonne. Will do.

  • Jacqueline Driggers

    Wish I’d had a father who said stuff like this to me when I was growing up.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’m sorry you didn’t, but I do hope you can take in these words now, surround yourself with people who remind you of these kinds of things, and soak it up.

  • Lenora Johnson

    Dr. Flanagan, You’ve done it again! Hit the nail on the head! I don’t have daughters, if God had blessed me with one, this is the message I would have wanted her to grow up with. In our cancer group, I’m frequently contacted by cancer patients whose biggest fear is their loss of beauty.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I find the same thing with the cancer patients I work with, Lenora. It seems like part of the grieving is discovering a beauty that can’t be touched by chemo or surgery. I hope this finds you well, Lenora!

      • Lenora Johnson

        I am continuing the journey of reinventing myself, a necessary step in learning to live without Prentiss. Last night, my middle son sent a text that read, “I dreamed about Dad last night. It seemed so real. We tried to save him, went to doctors that gave him medication and shots but nothing worked. He got very weak and pale. Just before I awoke, Dad told us to let him go. Today my grief was overwhelming at times. I hope one day this gets easier.” March 5 will be one year since Prentiss’ passing.
        I would love to be able to use your beautiful writing concerning true beauty in the February newsletter. So many women fear aging because they fear the loss of youthful beauty–as teenagers and young women they obsessed about their perceived flaws. Then when cancer is diagnosed and they face the loss of hair and sometimes fingernails, they sometimes refuse treatment. I was truly blessed! The morning I awaited my mastectomy, Prentiss took my hands and said, “I don’t care ,if you have no hair, no breasts and two big toes on the same foot, I love you!”
        Keep up the great work!
        Lenora

  • anniepajamie

    My Dad would’ve said something like this, if he could have. His words were trapped by societal stigmas & by ignorance of just WHAT the heck was going on…but that was all half a century ago.
    I do know, with hindsight, that the fierce light in his eyes was for me. Thanks for reminding me of that.
    Just …thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I LOVE this comment, Annie. I do believe previous generation were doing the best they could but were kind of in the dark about what their loved ones needed to hear. I’m glad to hear the light in your father’s eyes pierced some of that darkness.

      • nicgh

        I’m joining the party a bit late here but must say I agree wholeheartedly with your words. I also feel – as at least one of your readers touched on – that the other half of this coin is to work with our boys and men on their definitions of beauty. How to value girls and women without objectifying them.

  • Bay Rummel

    Brought me to tears…

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Bay!

  • mom of girls

    I think the mother’s attitude toward beauty has as much to do with a daughter’s feelings about herself as a father’s words. I’ve seen too many girls obsessed with makeup and dieting and a perfect body/hair/skin whatever because that’s what they see from their mothers. Moms in bikinis have little girls in bikinis, moms wearing lots of makeup have preteens wearing a lot of makeup, moms obsessing about their weight have young daughters dieting without even knowing what that means. A father can tell her all the right things, but ultimately she will copy what she sees in her mother.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I certainly can’t disagree with the importance a mother plays in a daughter’s view of herself. I think it can be a powerful thing when mom and dad are on the same page, and that page is about an ageless inner beauty.

    • Kari Swenson

      Yes! My mom never wore makeup. Wore what she felt comfortable in. And never was concerned about her weight. We were a healthy active family (still are, but in different houses now).

      I’ll worry about my weight if I haven’t been active and my pants start to no longer fit, but otherwise so what. I’m happy with myself. And mother’s are so key to it.

    • Adele

      I would have assumed that was right, however I don’t wear makeup , have never painted my nails, wear practical rather than fashionable clothes, don’t have one pair of high heels and have my hair in a short practical cut. You guessed it! My 13 year old daughter is completely the opposite! I also thank my own mother for always telling me that I was beautiful which I think helped my self esteem so that I really like the way I look, wrinkles and all! Absent father, so can’t comment on that.

      • hppyasaclm

        Adele, if you allow your daughter to do these things, you’re making a huge mistake. After all, who buys her clothing and makeup?

        • RT

          It’s not that easy, to just take it away. But there needs to be a happy medium. Who knew who they were at 13? We all needed to find our way. Continue to be a positive influence in your daughters life, and you will see, she is listening she is learning. I have three daughter, 13, 10, and 4.

        • PlacidAir MoonBat

          No, allowing her daughter to figure that out for herself is not a “big mistake”. Blocking her from doing so, and making it seem more attractive to her, would be a big mistake. Teenage girls experiment with their looks while trying to figure out how they want to present themselves to the World… whether that is the goth thing, going a pink, or whatever and whatever phase she’s in now will likely change — as long as she’s allowed to figure it out on her own.

          • NicholasZeus

            Vertical teachings. We don’t carry our ancestors experiences in genes, so we actually need our parents to teach us. Give a good time to rethink what we mean with ‘freedom’ and do teach your children to live a respectful life and don’t meddle with black and white evil things. Some paths of life doesn’t allow U turns.

        • Buck

          Take it away? So you’re the bad guy? How about, instead, compliment them on things that matter and reinforce that they don’t need that stuff to be happy or desirable.

    • Purple

      Totally agree. I am an African, and my mum has always kept her natural hair in a beautiful hair cut (African women shy away from keeping their hair in its natural state) and she doesn’t wear make up. TO this day because of her I struggle with the idea of weaves and permed hair which is a big deal for Africans, and I don’t even see the need for make up. In the same breath, she is very stylish and is very particular about wearing the right clothes for every occasion/ circumstance..and matching and coordinating all pieces of the outfit meticulously both in color and style…and both my sister and I have the same consciousness when we are dressing

      • nycpower

        My mom has always been concerned with her looks, weight, skin, etc – you name it. Growing up, I saw my mother as an example and as an ideal – she had beautiful long blonde hair, blue eyes and the body of a barbie doll. She wore bikinis and I also wore bikinis as child and still do now as an adult. While my mother did fit into the box that our society places women and expects women to stay in both from an outward perspective, my mom sure as hell did not fit into any such box on the inside. She is one of the strongest, most tenacious people I have ever met. She taught both of her daughters to fight for what they believe in, never sit quietly as things are going wrong, never sugar coat harsh words so that they are perceived as polite and lady-like. Of course my sister and I were raised with fantastic manners, but we were also raised to behave professionally and academically to be no different than any boy or man. As such, entering the professional world as a fairly attractive woman (not to toot my own horn) has been a bit of a challenge. I have long brown hair, a great professional wardrobe, wear a size 4 and generally fit into that “Yes this is a how a woman should look box”. The challenge with this is that I think I continually shock people with my audacity, assertiveness and strong opinions – men and other women generally don’t expect a woman in my shell to behave the way I do. Professionally, I behave as any other man would and I am often viewed as “bitch” or “harsh” or “aggressive”, but I guarantee you, if I were a man and exhibited the behavior that I do in the work place, I would be “the man” or some “big swinging dick” or a “big wig”. Point of my story is that I don’t think it’s a bad thing for women to wear make-up or follow fashion trends – for many women this is fun – it is a release from all the shit we deal with daily, but the problem is that our society expects women who wear make-up and dress well and stay fit to also act like little Stepford barbies. If I have girls, I don’t want them to gain self worth from their looks – I want them to be comfortable in their own skin and if that means that they need to apply some make-up to that skin to go confidently into a board room to crush some balls, then so be it.

        • SameBoat

          I’m right there with you. I enjoy painting my nails and doing stereotypical girly things. My mother was a serious bull in the working ring and never let any man or woman hold her back. She stood up for her opinions and even saved her company billions of dollars by working hard and finding/fixing a problem that everyone gave up on. I’ve learned all that from her. There’s no reason I can’t enjoy painting my nails or wearing clothes I like because I know I rock inside and out! :) My 2 year old is so feisty and opinionated, I know she’ll be the same and I’m ok with that.

    • Ulricka

      I disagree. I don’t ever remember my mother obsessing about her weight or even commenting on it. She was never in a bikini. She has never worn a lot of makeup. I was never aware of her speaking about diets or ever being on one. She never appeared overly concerned with how others viewed her – she behaved how she was comfortable. I cannot say the same for myself. I ordered dieting books by mail as a preteen/teen. I was never confident about how I looked around other kids at school. I had terrible self esteem about my physical body despite looking back and thinking how stupid I was since I was very skinny. I didn’t learn those insecurities from my mom or dad. I saw what other kids were doing. I saw girls on tv and in magazines. I compared myself to them, never knowing air brushing existed or if those people I was told I “should” look like were actually healthy or naturally that way.

      I only realize now that I’ve gotten older just how large a message is sent to young girls by society and the world we live in. That even if your parents work hard to ensure you have a positive self view like mine did, that they are only 2 voices against the momentous voice of the rest of the world and its easy to unknowingly be drowned out.

      Thank you so much for this article Dr. Flanagan. I literally found it after coming home from the Target beauty aisles myself! I will save this for myself and my future children, male or female, to help fight against the constant messages of “you are not enough” that we all get.

      • B

        I totally agree with Ulrika. I am a 33yr old woman 113lbs and very fit. I eat very healthy. My mother is my same height and over 200lbs. She’s a wonderful woman but eats doughnuts and sweets daily. I am a hard worker like her but I am a fitness person, she is not. My mom and sister go to the salon to get their fingers and toes done all the time. I do my own and have only been to the salon a few times. I even trim my hair at home. I don’t spend much on beauty aids but I do spend time staying fit.

    • Pam in the Valley

      A father does not have all the answers and will not be the wiseest choice to talk with the daughter. STop trying to make father the best parent!! He is nothing more than a da_ _ man. He is not her role model parent. He is not a female. He is a male. Stop braggin and praising on the father.
      Anyway, it is not the mother’s fault that she has been given all these conflicting bits of advice on how to look and appeal to men. You all are the blame for this!!! Stop blaming women. We find mothers dressing to keep the father interested, because you people in this country have always threatened women that their man will not be interested in her anymore unless she makes herself up like a thin young model in Hollywood. We don’t do this to men. Men don’t allow you all to stress them this way.
      WE need to stop scolding women and telling women to redo themselves for men. So dog goned what if a man loses interests. It is too much stress to put on women. If a man is that full of sh_ _, that he loses intertest in us for our looks, while he is still fat, bald, and ugly too, then a man is not worth it. 3-26-14

  • Colleen Shields

    Let’s ‘alter the arc of history’, and its continued ‘subjugation-by-image’, to the point that ‘NO concealer can control them’! (This time, the ‘them’ meaning: our own opinions of ourselves, and ‘concealer': anyone, or anything, that would try to ‘conceal’ our indomitable Wills and inner Beings.)

    • drkellyflanagan

      I always love your energy, Colleen! Bring it!

  • Diana Evans

    I enjoy reading your blogs, people post on Facebook. Very interesting & informative!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Diana!

  • worried sister

    i need your advice. my youngest sister is into makeup. i know it’s normal but this needs to go. whenever my mom is not around, she’ll use her makeups. and sometimes, even when my mom is around she still use it and sometimes my mom doesnt really stop her from using them and plus she doesnt put her makeups at high place. i always ended up scolding her or more to like strictly tell her not to play with the makeups whenever i see makeup on her face. i just need to know how to tell her nicely that makeup is no good for her and to actually stop her from playing with it?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Unfortunately, in this medium, I’m ethically prohibited from giving specific counsel. However, I can say, in general, trying to stop someone from doing something they want to do typically has the opposite of the desired effect–they want to do it more. If cosmetics are being used in an unhealthy way, as a form of self-rejection, instead of challenging it, perhaps finding more and more ways to affirm the worth of the person would be more effective.

  • Mariann

    Hi! I’m a new Argentinian reader and let me tell you that as soon as I started reading the first sentence of an old post, I assumed I was reading something written not just for the readers, but also with words and feelings that you would definitely say to a son or daughter… and now I know that you REALLY mean what you say, and I love it.
    I’m 20 and a I’m not a mother yet… However, I’m a daughter… I like wearing make-up and reading those kind of magazines… But I have been blessed with two parents that have the same answer to the question you asked your little girl. I know it’s hard when a girl sees all that fancy clothes and incredible bodies… But it’s just that. If we all have the same answer, we won’t have to worry about make-up, because it’s a little part that makes more beautiful what is hidden inside.
    (Please, sorry my english!)

    • drkellyflanagan

      Mariann, I think your English is great! And I’m so glad you’ve had parents who have affirmed your inner beauty!

  • vintagelady1

    Beautifully written, and very eloquent. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, and you’re welcome!

  • Natalie

    This meant so much to read because they are words my father never spoke to me and words I so desperately needed to hear. I have struggled with an eating disorder and hatred of my body because who I am as a person was never recognised or nurtured by my parents and consequently I have been plagued with feelings of shame and worthlessness most of my life. I am now working very hard to break free of that but there are days when I get angry knowing if my parents had gotten it right, I wouldn’t be paying for their mistakes and trying to recover a deep and solid sense of self-esteem.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Natalie, may you be strong and courageous on your journey to overcome your shame!

      • Natalie

        thank you Kelly. I’m sure you’ve heard of her but I really like what Meg Meeker has to say about the importance of fathers in a daughters life. i’ve only realised how important dads are in the past six months. your daughter and your patients are lucky to have you as an influential male in their life.

        • hc2014

          Kelly, I understand to an extent how you feel. I grew up without my dad really being apart of my life, I’ve watched my mother go through damaging relationships constantly. I wish I had heard stuff like this when I was younger. I’ve always struggled to be what society has wanted me to be. Even now after having both of my beautiful daughters, I still sometimes I struggle with all of it. You are a strong amazing woman for overcoming everything. My fiance is the one who helped me understand my inner beauty, what a wonderful person I truly am. Every woman and girl deserves to read something like this. This is truly empowering.

  • Venessa

    This is really awesome and I will share with my daughters. Thanks Kelly Flanagan!!
    Schoolmate, Venessa McMillion :)

    • drkellyflanagan

      Venessa! It’s been years! I hope you are well, and my best to you and your daughters. Another class reunion rolling around here in a couple of years; I hope to see you there!

  • Jessie’s mom

    I often read articles like this and because of this have become very conscience of how I speak of myself will affect my daughter. I have started to say things like I want to be healthy instead of lose weight etc. But to have it come from dad I think would add a new layer to it and help even more. I plan on showing this to my husband as soon as he walks in the door. Thank You

    • drkellyflanagan

      I do think it eliminates confusion and creates clarity for the young person when both parents are using the same language. My best to you and your family!

  • mom in Peachtree city ga

    that was so beautiful.It speaks to my heart as well. Thanks so much. I will share with my husband and daughters. God bless

  • Jessica Montory

    What a wonderful post. My biggest fear with twin daughters that are almost 7 is how when it is their time to be teenagers to see inner beauty. With the TV and everything else in the world obsessed with what’s on the outside how will my words ever outweigh that?

  • Emma

    Thank you so much for your beautiful words, this is exactly what every female’s ‘inner girl’ needs to hear from a father if she didn’t hear it from her’s…and a reminder if she did.

  • Jo

    Thank you Dr Flanagan for the great and inspiring article once again. Indeed, the choice of words brings much affirmation to the people around us!. Now, I am wondering what will be the words from a Father to his Son or a Mother to her Son. I suppose it will be similar as the words in this article.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Jo, it’s a great question. And I think you’re right. I don’t think I would have significantly different words for my sons. But I would have to speak them into an entirely different context, given that they are boys. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dealing with that issue in my blog posts.

  • Elizabeth

    What a beautiful peice. Growing up I put a lot of focus on my outer beauty. I thought that’s what mattered. Growing up, and after a few mistakes here and there, I realized that even the most gorgeous girl can be ugly inside. I never wanted that. Not for myself or my daughter. Even though I do like make up I know it doesn’t define the person I am or the little lady I’m trying to raise. Thank you for writing this! Moms opinion matters, yes. But a fathers opinion carries so much value too.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Elizabeth, and you’re right, I don’t want to detract in any way from the importance of a mother’s words!

  • Kari Swenson

    Magazines and media in general has set up an unrealistic standard of beauty. The main thing is realizing that and not letting yourself buy into it. Its ok to want to feel beautiful, but beauty is not exclusive to a size 2 with flawless skin and zero cellulite.

    Beauty is confidence. Beauty is taking care of yourself. Its the feeling of not having to show everything to feel sexy. Beauty should not be dependent on how others see you.

    Everyone struggles with self image, but I think if you can genuinely believe it when someone calls you beautiful, you’re doing something right.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Kari, your last comment is profound. Someone who doesn’t need to be told they are beautiful, but can receive such comments when they are given, probably has truly discovered their inner beauty.

  • Sara Beirne

    Wow, this is so unbelievably moving. I truly have tears streaming down my cheeks. Thank you for such powerful insight. I’m forever changed…

    • drkellyflanagan

      Sara, I’m grateful it resonated with you so deeply!

  • Afton

    As a daughter I can certainly say having a father who embodies these values in you makes you truly strong and appreciative young woman for who you are and what you already have as the person you naturally are. Thank you for writing about this and showing other men that there is nothing scary about speaking of women in ways other than their looks!!

  • Anna M. J. Holloway

    I love this letter. I want you to know that altering the “arc of history” is doable and takes focused intent–but it happens: my 20 year old daughter has made it through public school without succumbing to the blandishments of patriarchy. I think that encouraging her to study martial arts (age 5-10) , requiring that she think about what she wanted to do in the world and asking her to make a decision about it (which she was also allowed/encouraged to reexamine and change), and helping her see the value of knowing how to manage the system (school, social expectations, etc.) without buying into any sense of “truth” about what the system says it wants–all of this was helped her see her own value as separate from others’ expectations of her appearance. She is now a solid college student with her own part-time business; she knows how to dress up when she wants and she functions well without a high focus on her appearance. I’m really, really proud of her.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Anna, You should be really proud of her. She sounds like a remarkable young woman, and it’s clear you are seeing the fruit of your intentionality with her. My best to both of you!

  • Boxermom

    This is so beautiful! Your daughter is a lucky girl! I needed to hear words like this when I was growing up…I never did, so now I make it a point to say words like this (although not as eloquent as yours) to all the beautiful girls in my class, who at 9, 10, & 11 are already trying to be be skinny and mask their loveliness with make up.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Boxermom, it’s clear you are trying to redeem the disappointments of your own childhood, and I have no doubt a whole generation of young women in your town will benefit from it. Blessings to you as you do so!

  • Pingback: Words to our daughters « Coffee Grounds and Sand Dunes

  • Rena Wood

    Dr. Kelly, Thank you so much for coming to the rescue of little girls…and women too:) God Bless You for being a gentlemen and seeing us different. I pray that this will start a “Revolution” in the hearts of Men, Women, Boys and Girls. I will be directing my daughter, granddaughter and Youth girls to your letter:) Rena/TN

    • drkellyflanagan

      Rena, would love to see that kind of “Revolution.”

  • zinia adriaanse

    I stumbled across your book on my Kindle a couple of weeks ago. I don’t remember downloading it, or even subscribing to your blog! But I started reading The Marriage Manifesto, and really so moved by the articles you write.

    This one in particular has brought tears to my eyes – as a woman, I find that it’s as if our self-esteem and any attempt at having a positive self-image is continually under attack. From magazine and news articles to music videos and food ads (anything stemming from pop culture really!) – it’s uninvited and invasive and sometimes succeeds at smothering you.

    But even with all of this, what really contributes the most to a person’s self-perception is their family, or the ones closest to them. Through your words and the conversations you have with your daughter, I have no doubt that you will have a positive influence and protect her from the portrayal of a woman that the world inflicts upon her.

    Great article, inspiring me to think about the daily conversations I should have with my children (should I ever have them) and siblings.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Zinia, I’m glad my writings have resonated with you. If this post gives you the sense that you truly can impact your children’s sense of beauty with your words, then that is reason enough to have written it!

  • Elisabeth Baker

    If you like, I could help you develop different versions of this letter for girls at various ages/stages. For your four year old, I’d write something like this:

    Dear Little Princess,
    You are beautiful. You are strong! You are beautiful and strong.
    Mostly on the inside. Inside you, you are beautiful and strong.
    I love you!
    Daddy

    Every year on her birthday, her favorite Daddy-letter could grow. At some point she will begin to notice exactly what is added each year, and what themes stay the same.

    Versions of the letter may develop based on Daddy-Princess interactions and observations through the year.

    More power to you!
    Elisabeth

    • drkellyflanagan

      Elisabeth, you make a great point that the ways we communicate beauty should be developmentally appropriate and thus change over the life of our children. Thank you for that insight!

  • alys

    Love love LOVE this. I can’t possibly say it enough. You are a wonderful father and your daughter is blessed to have you! Wish all of society would get on this page when it comes to beauty and expectations of women. My parents raised me to be very strong and independent and base my value off of my personality and intellect than how I look in the mirror. Sure, they told me I’m pretty loads of times, which is true, I am pretty, but they also balance that with compliments of my intellect and achievements. There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress up and put a little make up on, but there is when girls use their make up to hide behind and ‘create’ who they are. I can honestly say that throughout my day I feel the same whether I am wearing make up or not. Sure, I see the difference when I look in the mirror but I’m just as confident and outgoing as always. Make sure (this goes to everyone) that your kids have a strong innerfoundation and view of themselves and the outward appearance doesn’t matter as much to them. And honestly, confidence is the best accessory a girl can wear!

    • drkellyflanagan

      “Confidence is the best accessory a girl can wear.” Love it!

  • Jeanette

    A comment based on the photo: I admire the women featured in Oxygen magazine. They work very hard in the gym and are disciplined with a healthy diet in order to develop their figures for both hobby and career. They are fit and conditioned with solid muscle. Perhaps they do wear slightly skimpy fitness gear in some of the pictures but that is one way to see both the exercises they demonstrate (which is helpful) and the results, which can be motivational. That magazine is not about “looking hot” or “ways to tempt a man”, etc. Just my 2 cents.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Jeanette, I appreciate you saying this, because it’s important to be clear this letter is not meant to denigrate any of the women in the photos or on the magazines. They have an inner beauty all their own. What is important to point out, though, is that even Oxygen magazine touches up their cover photos, creating an unrealistic expectation of physical beauty, even for the most physically fit women in the world.

    • lifeofreilly

      Unfortunately, most fitness models go under the knife for plastic surgery, especially for breast augmentation. That is not to show fitness, it is to try to look like what society thinks is “perfect”. They may workout and eat well, but that is not enough for them.

  • Johnny

    It’s not just a makeup asile: how about the football game: young men with muscular bodies, cheered by half-naked women, and all washed down with commercials for alcohol, mature films and unhealthy food. How many Dad’s watch this type of thing with their daughters?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Very true, Johnny, thank you for adding that!

    • kathi roark

      So right!

    • Joy Steele

      Don’t forget about the push for Axe Body Spray, too. It’s just a toxic to those who must sit in enclosed spaces during or after the wearer has occupied it.

      • wensdazechyld

        Come sit in a classroom of 28 eleven year old boys and tell me that Axe is a bad thing, I dare you!! The stench of BO on pubescent boys is more revolting than can be imagined. Which is why on four days a week that I teach the eleven year olds, my female tutor group of 16 year olds, complains about the smell in my lab and refuse to enter.

  • only

    “The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on.”

    How about encouraging women to wear as much or as little as they want, to have agency over when they take their clothes off, and to feel as if they have agency over their own sexuality…

    • Elle

      Why would we encourage women and especially girls to wear as little as they want and yet expect respect from men? Immodesty, pornography, this over-sexualized world we’re living in….you think it’s empowering to dress in less? That is not empowering us…it’s worsening the problem. It’s telling the world what it already thinks of us…we are merely objects for pleasure with no brains or feelings. Yes…KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON. COVER UP.

      • Jen Burns

        Why would we encourage women and especially girls to wear as little as they want and yet expect respect from men? Because respect shouldn’t hinge on the length of a skirt. It is empowering to wear whatever YOU like – whether it is a string bikini or a burka, rather than having to conform to someone else’s standards of what they deem respectable. Men who believe women are just objects don’t get that idea from bits of fabric. They are trained to view women that way by society – and it has nothing to do with clothes. If staying covered up were the secret to empowerment, all who wear burkas would be the most empowered women on earth. But even in countries where women are forced to cover everything but their eyes, they are objectified, beaten, raped, enslaved, and treated as property.

        • Ellie Nottingham

          When YOU yourself Choose to dress modestly you show SELF respect, you are not being forced to wear a burka nor are you choosing to degrade yourself by flaunting your body in front of men. Women all over the world have listened to women like you for far too many years and I’ve watched how the so called women’s lib movement has made things much worse for women everywhere. If you don’t think men still see women as objects when you’re half undressed then you’re a fool. Just because feminists have shouted men into silence doesn’t mean they now respect us. Men everywhere are fed up, and, you don’t get respect by force anyway, it’s earned. Women that walk around like strippers are treated like one, and most decent women don’t have respect for strippers even if they’re our gender. I hate them, think they’re trash and can’t stand the inconsiderate and slutty girl or woman that dresses this way where my husband can see her in the store, coffee shop etc. Men are easily turned on by women’s bodies, it’s a natural event, but it’s not for other women to be able to put that out in the general public where he can’t avoid it. It pisses me off so much I tend to dislike women more and more. So, when you wear next to nothing, FEMALES are sending their own message that they aren’t worth much. Who is society anyway? It’s you and me not just the media. If women WANT respect then they must first SHOW respect, for others and themselves. I’ve heard your kind of argument from my 2 holders sisters, my mom & all their trashy friends for 30 years. They’re ALL single, divorced & have been with more men than you can count. I’ve been happily married to a faithful, loving man for over 30 years, one of my older sisters finally took a page from my book, quit acting like a tramp & found a great guy, they’ve been married almost 16 years. You & yours are wrong and have been since you started DEMANDING respect but never showing any.

          • Rubin Safaya

            “When YOU yourself Choose to dress modestly you show SELF respect, you are not being forced to wear a burka nor are you choosing to degrade yourself by flaunting your body in front of men.”

            Ah, but this is an idea that was spoon fed to you by us men. We created this idea when we regarded/treated you as our property… because rather than take accountability for our own inability to see you as people rather than objects, we figured it would be easier to shame you for our failure to treat you humanely.

            Don’t believe me? What equivalent “self respect” mandate is there for men in any society run by the values of Bronze Age religions? Whether it’s blaming woman for knowledge, blaming woman for rape, selling daughters into slavery, blaming Lot’s daughters for “tricking” their father into raping them (yes, I’ve actually heard this excuse from a Christian woman in precisely those words)…. Understand that we MEN invented those rules to cover our own asses, not yours.

            • Sechmeth

              I agree with you. I would like to add the following: By making clothes to fall into the modest or slutty fractions, it is even easier for boys to identify women to harass due to the clothing. EG if a woman wears slutty clothes, she has to be a slut, and therefore she will not have any power or friends to defend her if the bully picks on her or worse. Branding clothes as modest or not is giving an automatic okay to harass the woman. Inbuild victim shaming.

            • Jean

              Amen.

            • Gwen

              You are wrong! Choosing to dress modestly is a way of attracting the type of people we want to associate with and is a statement that we are making to others. You are speaking as a person from another culture where this may hold true.

              • http://www.cinemalogue.com Rubin Safaya

                “You are speaking as a person from another culture”…

                I’m from North Dakota.

        • † Carey Ann

          Jen, men & boys are biologically wired to where they are *visually* stimulated. That’s a scientific fact somewhat unfortunately. They’re geared that way long before society has a chance to play up the idea. For that reason & because my Bible teaches BOTH sexes to dress modestly, I will teach my future children to keep it covered. To me, that IS empowering them: empowering them to be seen as more than flesh, which is something all of us are.

        • Jean

          I agree Jen. When will we women stop allowing ourselves to be objects?
          We women need to not encourage other women to strip to satisfy men’s desire to see us a s objects. It is so sad.
          3-26-14

      • Judy Jackson

        Because women & girls who are covered from head to toe never get raped, never get disrespected? WHERE the heck do you live?

        • Sechmeth

          BTW, on the 12 march there was a great twitter thing happening: victims of sexual assault and rape tweeted what they were wearing when they were raped. And you know what? Most of the little girls and boys were wearing Pjs, and woke up to it. The others mostly wore jeans and shirts. Clothing has nothing to do with rape. Only rapists.

          • † Carey Ann

            FWIW, I do NOT associate rape with clothing. I have been sexually assaulted 3 times while fully, modestly clothed. Every time (nearly every day) when these boys would sneak up behind me while I was at my locker so they could reach around & grab my breasts, I was fully, modestly clothed. But, they knew I wouldn’t respond positively. They KNEW what kind of girl I was & what I was not & not just because of my clothing.

            • NicholasZeus

              Bad news. Pornography is well established in our community. Which means men and women will think about unmarried sex and practice it more often. Once it depended on clothing etc, but now, it’s tainted our minds. These days nudity got positive reviews and burkha got negatives. These days virginity is something to get lost not later than 14, otherwise the girl will be shamed. What are we thinking?

          • NicholasZeus

            Are the rapists not stimulated by what they see everyday??
            Pornography, sexy girls, scandals. What the hell has happened with the world?? Think of a world, where women are beautiful but not sexy, the way you would treat a flower. Marry a girl if you love her. Set the boundaries before you marry her. Will you even let your girl, your wife go out alone in a dark night? Will your girl get drunk in a party and sleep a night with a stranger anymore?
            Human knew that Chaos is our enemy, yet we invite it.

        • † Carey Ann

          Yes, of course, Judy. They do. But, that has nothing to do with their attire & *everything* to do with evil. A man wants what a man wants, & evil men will go after it. Also, in Muslim countries like Iran, it is documented that the reason some of those women who are covered “head-to-toe” is so they can be executed for being unmarried & not virgins. (A lot of this went on during the uprisings in Iran a couple years back. Women were arrested & raped just so they would be worthy of death. Horrible!) Sin is sin, & evil is evil.

          • NicholasZeus

            And man is man. You can’t differentiate a good man and evil man as in angels and demons. Man is both, good and evil, and same goes to woman. Think about traffic control, will you reduce traffic accidents by relying only on drivers’ ethics or applying traffic lights. Human is never reliable. But a system is. That’s why Islam said ‘Islam doesn’t need people but people need Islam’. Tell me, which girl gets more respect, a girl wearing burkha and a girl wearing bikini? To which girl a man would say ‘hey sexy want to rest in my bedroom’ or a respectful greeting?
            Remember, as the author said, words have power. Coz some words like ‘hey sexy I want to force you in my bedroom’ means serious danger.

        • Jean

          This is why females should stand together, especially when it comes to not allowing our minds and bodies to be controlled by men and the male dominated media, that portrays us as sluts and whores, and visuals for men to be entertained by.We are being used, exploited. Females need a say in regulating how we are portrayed in the media. We have the power. But we are too stupid for men. too gullible, so silly, so indoctrinated by male-doctrines.
          Females are too quick to pose nude and take off our clothes. Bet you don’t see men posing nude, exposing their genitals like we do. Yes, I know…. females argue that we should be able to wear whatever we want and make money by being naked if we have the opportunity to. That is true, but it also makes us look so stupid and so pathetic, like we are trying to get them to accept us, like us, and be attracted to us. Why do we worry about that so much?
          Older, experienced females, you have the power to influence younger females, by teaching them that they are not validated by any man, dad, boyfriend, or husband. Older females, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, wake up and stop allowing your husbands to do your job, in guiding females. Men are not qualified. It is not his job.That is why females are messed up now, because we gave men too much power over us. He does not understand, nor experience being a female. We need to tell girls to hold their heads up, stop seeking male approval, and stop believing that females need to show breasts and vaginas in the media.. How many penises and testicles videos can you find on internet? 3-26-14

    • JohnB

      Only, The Muslim men, the pimps, the East European traffickers love the independent women who thinks she is the equal of a man. For no matter how good you are compared to a man in any aspect, the trafficker would love to take you down, but will start by feeding your self esteem. Thinking that someone is finally wowed enough to appreciate who you are, you will let down your guard and then one night, will dissappear. It is repeated thousands of time each year. Then the path of being a little less man-like and aggressive will occur as a path that maybe wasn’t so bad. Conversely, you can be really successful and no man is ever really good enough for the super strong and smart babe you are, so you will resist marriage and the risk of possibly compromising your super-womanhood. You will have agency over your own sexuality, giving into men who you deem to be your equal, but not having to give up any part of you except the occasional sex, on your terms. You have now become your own sex trafficker of your own body. And whether you charge for your service as a high end escort or just give it away to that special guy, who for tonight is good enough to match your super womanhood, he is getting you for a lot less than it would cost him if he were married to you. So you go ahead and wear as much or as little as you want cause it won’t matter to the men . What little you want to give, is the little they will take gladly, and maybe then some. But you will end up lonely and alone in those latter years. You may decide to have a child without a father, and then set out to raise that boy or girl. I hope not…they deserve better. DL, dead at age 52, a model and want-to be actress, childless, never marrying but always on the lookout, saving herself for the man deserving of her, who didn’t seem to exist except in her expectations. She suffered from ovarian cysts that became cancer, inoperable. and she talked like you…

      • ALittleConcerned

        I did not mean to 1+ this, but what’d ya do. This post is dark, bitter and jaded. This is the opinion of someone who would see someone fail, and be brittle, to satiate a rejection they couldn’t move past. Slow clap for you buddy, you are part of the problem.

        • WorriedAboutALittleConcerned

          If you weren’t focusing on the fact that this man wrote a letter to inspire his daughter to be the person she chooses to be, and not let the rest of the world tell her that she’s wrong for it, but instead twisting it’s meaning to appease your negative view on the world, then yes, I suppose it is pretty dark, bitter and jaded. How dare a father who happens to be a clinical psychologist tell his child of all the traps our society has set for them to fail and how a few simple words can truly run amuck in our unconscious minds. Or perhaps dark, bitter and jaded are traits of yours.

        • JohnB

          It is a dark and jaded world indeed. Having deployed to the middle east, I have “met the Muslim insurgent”, and viewed how they treat women…I come home to find the Muslims have built a huge mosque near my base, and that Muslim fathers and brothers are killing their daughters/sisters because they dated an infidel. Google search honor killings in the US by Muslims and allowed under Sharia Law. I thought I left all that behind when I returned home. Au contrare…In Egypt, the prettiest christian teenage girls are kidnapped by young Muslim males, forced to submit to sex (RAPE) , allowed under Islamic Sharia Law as acceptable treatment of Infidel women. Some of these women are trafficked into the War zones, Syria, Libya, Egypt too, as sexual partners for men involved in the anti government fighting…again allowed by Sharia Law. Those that are negating on my comments suffer from low information on Islam and the changing environment around them in the US. This problem is widespread in Europe…Belgium, France. Read up airheads, the problems and issues are developing among us as the population of Muslims increase exponentially and they concentrate in major cities. Semper Fi dudes…don’t make the sacrifices made by military over there go to waste by ‘selling the farm’ over here. And women’s rights types / feminist have far more to fear than Christians saying they should pay for their own birth control and not kill the unborn. Check out a women’s lot under a society dominated by Islam…coming to your life in the next 20 years because the ignorant were too busy smoking grass, playing video games and back slapping the gay rights/marriage activist while the enemy of all of us plots a political takeover at the ballot box followed by Sharia Law and the end of

          freedom as you know it…unless you are or become a male convert to Islam. And many of you will do just that.

          • JohnB

            Since the ‘Fxxk’ word is a synonym for Rape, explain what ‘rape ‘fashion’ or rape ‘sexism’ means? If you think my definition is incorrect, please explain in as many words as you need, what you meant in your PS.

            Now to reply to your rant. I was a combat medic with US Marines. I treated as many infidel Muslims as I did Christians or unbelievers of any sort. We had Iraqi soldiers attached to us. Any door kicking was done on houses we received fire from or adjacent to such houses. It was common to to find weapon stashes, bomb making materials, booby trapped access points and insurgent literature. Tunnel or holes in walls often connected adjacent houses so insurgent to could shoot and scoot. Raids were conducted on structures where local intel said there were bad guys. Bad intel could result in a mistake and often the bad intel was given to deliberately inflame the locals, as you pointed out. Since you live in England, if only a small percentage of English folk are Muslim, why are half the kids you went to school with Muslim? Sounds like they are already beginning to change the population demographic. We see the pictures of Islamic street protes in UK here in the US, and although the Muslim mafia and PC police do all they can to suppress the truth, the word still gets out that Islam is to dominate and all other religions, people and political systems are to be subjugated, their people treated as second class, enslaved or killed.
            I took your advice and read book… called NOT PEACE, BUT A SWORD by Robert Spencer which details what the Qu’ran says about treatment of Apostate Muslims (your benign classmates) and the rest of us infidels like me and you. (I assume you haven’t convert to Islam yet). It is not pretty…some major cities in Europe and England are already Sharia compliant, so I see a burka in your future. Should save you many pounds for stylish clothes you won’t need. Understand, as an infidel woman, you are equal to a cow, to be bought and sold and milked (prostituted) for money unless you convert to Islam. Then you get to stay home until escorted by a muslim relative and always wearing your hijab or Burka. You don’t see it yet, but then you have never left England. You should go to Pakistan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia. Get English translations of the Arabic sermons and and comments by the “leading” Muslim Imans. Ignorance is bliss and you are there. Fundementalist Islam comes in steps and I understand you don’t see it. . Remember the frog in water brought slowly up in temperature to a heat that kills it. That is the new approach of Islam in Western countries. Islam still advances by the sword, but the sword is used for hundreds of small cuts, bleeding a little at a time. Beheading is still the sword use of choice against infidels in Islamic countries. If you hate Christianity, and I’m sure you do, read the Bible New Testament to see what the Christian God has done for you through jesus Messiah. Since you don’t read or speak the local Islamic language (pashtun, Farsi, Arabic, etc, you should get the book above as Robert Spencer tries to square Catholic/Christian and Islamic attempts to dialogue with the teachings of the Bible vs the Qu’ran. Note that any charitable talk in the Bible is toward “all men” upto the point that natural death occurs. Any Charitable talk in the Qu’ran, Sunna, and Hadiths are directed towards Muslims only, never towards infidels. However, deception is allowed to keep us frogs in the pan from catching on until it is too late… Paris and Brussels being cities where Islam is already claiming victory in less than 10 years. Infidels like us can be mistreated or killed without trial or penalty. Coptic Christians in Egypt, and Christians in Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Syria are good recent examples of this. Non Muslims of any other religion or athiest/agnostic system have a 3 choices. Convert to Islam, become sumissive (submit) to Islam and Sharia law while paying a tax (read as virtual slavery) or die.
            The difference between choices 2 and 3 are subject to Islamic Sharia police who interpret your level of compliance/defiance and act against you accordingly. In any case, Islamic women are treated as 2nd class citizens and infidel women,according to current teaching in extreme Islam are allowed to be taken/ kept as sexual slaves or prostituted. The Movie TAKEN, starring Liam Neeson is accurate regarding human Trafficking and sexual Slavery in the Islamic world. I have relatives in Vienna who work to free the trafficked Eastern European women who are trafficked into Prostitution. And finally, i do know “peaceful Muslims” with who I speak often in the Phoenix,AZ area. They are in denial somewhat, but confirm much about radical Islam in Europe. Many Americans and Europeans have their heads in the sand on this, I’m just not one. Are you?

            PS Please note this appeal to your reason did not require profanity. Please don’t forget to answer my 1st question about your PS.

            • NicholasZeus

              Indoctrination maybe accompanied with a religion, but definitely with military. If you haven’t read Qu’ran, then why bother reading others’ opinions?
              Let it be, coz you actually sound like a soldier whose Archenemy is Islam. :)
              Keep fighting soldier. But at least attempt to look back. Look back to your footprints.

              • JohnB

                I have read English versions of the Qu’ran. I understand that the harshness of the treatment of non-Muslims is softened for a Western audience compared to the Arabic language version .

          • NicholasZeus

            I like your posts but please don’t abuse Shria Law. Sharia Law never allowed any form of sexual abuse, neither to a Muslim girl nor Infidel. I don’t know what the politicians are doing but Islam never allow such abuse.
            But it’s true a woman should not give up to sexual desires to a man she is not yet married to.
            Embrace Ma’at.

            • JohnB

              Nich’ I’m sure your a good guy, but one thing I’ve learned in studying Islam and the leading Islamic Imans in Near Asia…the good sounding verses regarding ‘equality and peace’ apply only to Muslims. They do no apply to Kafhirs, infidels, people of the Book or anyone conquered in Jihad. Many who are born into a religious faith, forced by parents to attend church /mosque, never really mentally making a choice to believe and follow the teachings of the religion faithfully. We sort of understand and remember parts of the ‘message of truth’ ,but end up not being faithful to every word in the “Holy Book”. As a male born in a Christian family, I am free to be intellectually honest and reject the faith if I choose. Later with maturity and further study, I may decide to fully believe. Not a problem for me.

              You…not so much. A young man born into an Islamic family in a nation where Sharia Law is the “LAW”, is expected to continue in Islam without question. Leaving Islam and rejecting any ‘immediate’ attempts to ‘reconsider’ returning to Islam will require an honor killing as you are apostate. This takes away any consideration of you having a future change of heart years later, even only a few years before your natural death. This is a great problem for you. To quote the God of Christianity,
              “Vengance is mine saith the Lord”. Thus we are not to dominate or subjugate folks of another faith, but rather try to verbally persuade them to a saving faith in God. Threats of Hell-fire and Damnation only go so far to change the sceptic, though the immediate threat of death may persuade a person to pretend to believe to avoid death. Islam tries to persuade by the edge of the sword and the threat of immediate death.

              A very large majority of 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide were never given a free choice to follow Islam or not, without the threat of being murdered. The rapid spread of Islam is actually due to this policy and like communist Soldiers in the Cold war, a military Islamic leader has to wonder if his troops will follow him to a terrible battle simply to press the ultimate victory of Islam on earth, with no guarantee it will be so in heaven. And what’s with the 72 virgins as a heavenly reward?…as if unlimited sexual indulgence is the greatest reward that can occur to a believer of any religion. That sounds very heathen and pagan, as if your God Allah has to manipulate his followers with promises that are not even considered holy on this earth.

      • Heather Doub

        I see you as having some serious problems with females. You sound like a man that abuses women. You sound like the type of man that thinks a woman should act a certain way, be seen not heard, and always remember that the man is the head of the house hold. I am educated, I believe I am attractive and have been told as I have also done a little modeling, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea because I hate to stand around for ever waiting on people especially when I was younger. I have a wonderful husband whom I adore and who adores me. I am also a black belt and I own a hand gun as well as being accomplished with numerous women self defense techniques and my husband knows I am just as good if not better than some men and he pre-med in the Army so he should have some idea being that he has been to Iraq. If a woman knows she is strong or likes the way she looks why the heck is that bad??? My husband and I have mutual respect for each other and fyi having cysts on your ovaries happens to all types of females. Perhaps you are the man that can never find a “good behaving woman” and so you are alone constantly and think everyone else has a problem. Open your eyes because you sound just like a rapist so take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, ” Am I douche bag?”

        • JohnB

          You would be wrong…Happily married 20 years, retired chief Hospital Corpsman with Marines deployments to middle east (Muslim connection).and recently retired high school teacher who has seen it all. You sound like the very person you accuse me of being, except for nieve, liberated to the extreme, one issue voter, abortion rights (have you killed any of your children?) and the girl who died single was my girlfriend for many years, but would never commit…died single at age 52, was my wifes best friend in her later years. I paddled out in the surf to spread her ashes at a Ocean memorial service. Just shows how wrong you can be when you shoot from the lip? Glad you are adored but your ability to judge people leaves a bit wanting. I don’t own a gun, but I learned all that with the Marines. You sound like you are so absorbed that maybe a child might just be an inconvenience for you. Am I right?

          • Ellie Nottingham

            Totally agree with you John, I think one of the feminists problems is that they’ve silenced most of the men and also don’t want to hear or listen to what men think or know about the world. Women band together in silly little groups, talk about how intuitive, smart and sexy they are but have air for brains. And god forbid a man gives an opinion, your gender is now just the butt of ridicule and jokes and needs a woman to teach you how to be a real man! My older sister used to rant about our military presence in the middle east and how horrible we treated them, blah, blah, blah. Yet she would be one of the first they’d line up to rape & torture before lopping off her head to shut her up. When I told her that, she paused and realized I was right. They wouldn’t give a crap about her “support” of them, but she ranted for years, never stopping once to listen to anyone else’s input, especially a man input. She’s divorced, had 3 abortions and slept with 30 guys I know of, now hates most men, and at 65 lives with
            her cat. I saw her future on the horizon when I was a teenage girl & did NOT want to be her or my mom. When I want to know things about men, how they feel or think on a subject, I ask MEN not women. When I want to know what kind of outfit my husband likes to see me in I don’t ask my sisters or girlfriends, I ask him, honestly & get an honest answer! BTW ladies, most guys

            • Jean

              Ellie,
              Wow, what an awful attitude you have about females. Are you truly a female, or are you a male posing as a female, in order to not get backlash from other females? You tried to hard to put females down. Hummm, something fishy here. What do you hope to achieve by defending men and scolding women this way? If you are really female, I need to tell you that men don’t give a rat’s fart about you either, even if you kiss up to them. Let me know how it works for you.

              Why would a woman have to use such strong comments in defending men anyway? A man would never defnd females so strongly. Your comment was so belittling and demeaning.

              You said

              1.”feminsts have silenced men” –well Ellie, there was a time when women were the ones who were silenced, we couldn’t even vote.

              2.” divorced, had 3 abortions and slept with 30 guys I know of, now hates most men, and at 65 lives with her cat”. Ellie why is it okay for men to sleep with 30 women, but not women with 30 men. Ellie, why do you scold women for having cats. Men have dogs. Do you and others scold men about their dogs? What is wrong with cats anyway? Stop stereotyping older females. So what if a woman chooses to not have a MAN? So what!!?? 3-26-13

              • Jean

                Meant to date my comment for 3-26-14

              • NicholasZeus

                A horse can run miles carrying a man. Why you not?
                Your body, your mind is not made to analyze. You want to drive a car as skillfully as a man, but your mind can’t prioritize in a split second, program reflexes for relatively unimportant inputs and focus on life-threatening one.
                Remember, I am not defending men neither women. My opinion is simple. Both genders, stick to your ethics. There was a peaceful time, there is still some peaceful communities, where men knows their duty and women too. Men care their wives. People refuse sex before marriage. People take responsibility. People see the world as a heaven, a pure place, not a filthy drunken hell.
                Ma’at ruled over Isfet..

              • JohnB

                Jean you started ok then digressed all over the map. Who said it was ok for a man to sleep with 30 women? I suppose if you hang out at pu bars during happy hour…What is with the cats and dogs. She was describing her sister, not ‘all women’. Women could always vote in a sense…they were influential in their husbands lives…but no matter now…you can vote. Do you take advantage of that and vote every election?. Do you study all the issues from both sides or do you just drop in a few days before the election to find out who is against abortion or supposedly conducting a war on women and then vote the other party without regard for freedoms, jobs, economic opportunity, moral character, etc. And the rat’s fart comment …you sound like either a man or the butch in lesbian relationship. You think a man would never defend a woman (so strongly)…you’d be wrong. There are many wonderful women who are worth defending either from a woman(?) the likes of you or a man who does not respect women. Not everyone conducts their behavior in a manner that is worthy of being defended and you may be one. If a woman wants a man but can’t behave in a way that would draw a reasonable man into a relationship (or visa-versa), that person may end up alone. But to claim (now) that you “chose” not to have a man is intellectually and emotionally dishonest. It is however, an “emotional” defense mechanismavailable to you; so it is ok if that is your excuse.

      • † Carey Ann

        I see these comments as coming from a man who, yes, has seen a lot of darkness in his days…darkness that has likely clouded his vision to a reasonable extent. Dark? Jaded? Bitter? I’m sure! Understandably so! But NOT to the extent some of you have taken it. I mean, this is just my honest opinion/assessment, but I see a man who’s been horrified & angered by the treatment of women he has witnessed. He doesn’t want that treatment to happen here. But, he’s seeing the polar opposite in strong, successful women, & it’s concerning to him. Nothing John said indicated him having a problem with women or being abusive or any of that. On the contrary! Call me crazy, but I think John would be quite kind to a woman (that being a two-way street).

        Also, to the person who hoped John would be crippled for life…you should be ashamed. You obviously have little-to-no knowledge of the kind of hell wounded warriors & their families go through. Did John *really* say something *that* cruel? That horrific? REALLY?? /rant

        I don’t know John & have never had any interaction with him whatsoever. I simply believe in giving the benefit of the doubt. I feel like maybe he had some difficulty articulating his point. Perhaps having a little wiggle room around here would be helpful?

        – a chaplain’s daughter

    • Jamie

      This is the problem with new age feminism: people like you take the most encouraging, dear, pro-feminism works, and knock them down by finding some small section within the piece that you can manipulate the wording into fitting your particularly extreme definition. The ‘go nude’ that dr. Kelly was responding to was the magazine ‘go nude’ that promotes a glorification of physical beauty OVER inner beauty- NOT a commentary on the sexual agency of women as you have made it a part of. I feel as though for you, the point you made isn’t about the writing at all, rather it’s about promoting your own ego. I truly never comment on online articles, but your comment just made me feel so frustrated and sick to see after reading that beautiful letter. Maybe next time you read something like this it might be better to leave your comments to yourself when they don’t really promote any positive conversation or constructive criticism and instead just serve as avatar doc and narcissistic outlet for you to let everybody know how deep into feminism that you are.

  • Edward Hum

    Amen

  • Anna

    That was a beautiful letter. Even more so as it came from the first male figure in your daughter’s life. As as woman, I can tell you the first/prime male figure in a girl’s life hugely influence her personality and confidence.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I hope I can honor to that reality, Anna. It’s a humbling task.

  • rmc

    word

  • Ingrid

    Mom of three girls…excuse me, women (18, 21, and 23 atm). This brought me to tears. It says it all on how I want my girls to feel and live in their lives. Thank you for sharing this. I hope they take the time to read it and value the truth that you have written.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Ingrid!

  • HG

    BOTH mother and father are important in raising a daughter. I did not have very healthy role models for father’s as my bio-dad died when I was ten (they got divorced when I was 5) then my step dad did adopt us and was there financially and really DID try to what was right for us – but unfortunately bought into alot of religious BS about discipline, male/female roles and morality. Needless to say, I did not have a huge positive male role model to build an example for my daughter when she was born. However, I have to say my husband is an amazing man and he LOVES our daughter so much. I’m very proud of how we are raising her – we called her our “warrior princess” from the time she was only about 2 years old. She is 12 now and she’s a very independent, talented, intelligent and realistic pre-teen. I’m soooo grateful that my husband has shown her respect, encouragement, understanding and support that I never got from my fathers. See him helping to build up her self-esteem and strength really encourages and amazes me. I’m hoping she will grow into being a self-sufficient, self-aware, independent, strong, creative, sensitive and compassionate human being without worrying about her gender or what society “expects females” to do or be or accomplish. I also am hoping that we are teaching our son to respect women and to treat them equally and with respect. THAT is also AS IMPORTANT as teaching our daughters…. teaching our sons to regard women in a different way that in generations past.

  • Brooke

    What a blessed little girl. I was touched not only by your words but by your perspective. We focus often on women and how we view ourselves. We talk about how we need to stop being influenced by the media, but it is a problem that can only be overcome by both men and women joining to overcome it.
    The truth is we both, men and women need to change our obsession with perfection, beauty, sex and how we compare to others.
    Thank you for taking the time to not only spread some positive energy to some but to many.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Brooke, thank you for this perspective. I do hope this issue can cease to be a divisive one and instead be a common ground upon which men and women can support each other.

  • SUSIEQ

    I also believe that one of the most important role models in a girls life will be the opp sex Father figure in a Girls life. I tried to prove myself to my father but he had such hurt himself that he could not have even begin to help me.. As I believe if a girl does not get the affection from her father or any attention she will look for it elsewhere in a man, She may not have the confidence to know what her real value is not her body but her soul,heart, warmth. My Son has a little girl and he takes time to talk with her I will try to pass this along to him. And would love to pass it along to all fathers new and old in the hopes that it may help a little or old girl along the way. its truly words to lighten the heart.

    • drkellyflanagan

      It’s touching to hear the ways you’re redeeming your own experiences with your father. Please do pass the letter along, Susie!

  • Michele Melvin

    Your words brought tears to my eyes, they are beautiful. I have one daughter, she is my third child. One of the most important things I have tried to impress upon all my children is education, I told them it is the one thing no one can ever take away from them. My husband and I are high school graduates, neither of us attended university, and I am proud to say my kids did. Between the three of them they hold four bachelor degrees, my daughter is working on her masters and hopefully she will be entering dentistry in the fall. When she was in middle school, I put a poster up in her room (it’s still there) saying a “a girl’s place is anywhere she wants it to be” and it is filled with occupations from mother to doctor to chemist to pilot, etc.
    I also believe that children need two parents and girls especially need their fathers. Dads are little girls’ first heroes and whether or not mom and dad live together, a dad should be a big part of his daughter’s life. My husband is still my daughter’s hero. Even though she is out on her own and has a boyfriend, no one will ever replace her dad.

    • Nika P

      Not every father is a dad; children need invested, loving parents who WANT to be there for their children. Speaking from personal experience, a ‘parent’ who doesn’t want to be there doesn’t help the children, and kids can be better off with one loving, caring, invested parent than with one caring parent and one emotionally-absent or abusive biological-donor. My ‘dad’ was never my hero or protector, he was the one we all feared. As for instilling a sense of self worth in his daughters, he told me that he didn’t know why my mum insisted on wanting to keep us, and if he had it his way he would have sold us off. That a sex slave is all I would ever be good for. I was 11 years old. But the reason why my mum stayed with him for so long despite his regular emotional and verbal abuse towards her too, was because she fell for the myth that children need both of their parents, and despite everything he did, tried to keep the ‘family’ together so that we had both a mum and a ‘dad’. It wasn’t until she finally found the strength to send him away when I was a teenager that we actually became a family, one that could live together happily, peacefully and in love. The myth of needing both parents is subjective, and is a lie that is used to maintain power by abusers. A loving single parent raising his or her child alone beats a mother and father pairing where fear and insecurity are predominant, and expressions of love or respect are rare.

      • MzC

        I agree with you Nika P. Having no father or mother is better than having an abusive parent/parents. It is wrong to allow your partner to abuse your children. What a bad example you are setting if you let a person abuse you or your children. They will not respect or learn from you if they see you living like a weak fool. But sadly the seb-conscious kicks in and they often repeat what you did even if they don’t want to because that was the only example set for them. I was told that it was wrong to divorce by a church person – worse advice I ever could have followed. I would say to all women, like your mother Nika – please tune into your God-given intuition and find shelter from verbal, financial, sexual, and physical abuse. There are shelters and helpers – it will get better.

  • Mimi

    Meaningful thoughts articulated beautifully. Almost bought tears to my eyes.

  • Amelia

    That was beautiful and as a 43 yr. old mother of four kids,( two adult daughters and one adult son and a two year old daughter) I felt like I needed to read that for myself…I will share this with my girls as the words of a male are so powerfully spoken at times over women and this is one of those times…thank you for sharing

    • drkellyflanagan

      Amelia, I’m glad the letter found you. Strength and courage to you as you raise another little one after already launching three!

  • Leigh Sutherland

    This is pure hogwash! Children will grow up with the values instilled by their parents. Writing a stupid letter, that everyone knows was done for the “what a great father” factor, does nothing to help a child. if you do not treat your daughter badly, she will not allow others to treat her that way. I love make-up, but am very secure in myself. There is no reason for anyone to look like a slob, but if that is what they want to look like, they should go right ahead and do it. By the same token, DO NOT say or imply that those who take care of themselves and take pride in their appearance have issues. Oppressive would not be the make-up aisle. Oppressive is looking the same as everyone else because your father did not know enough about life to tell you the truth!

  • shyswan

    women have been disguising themselves to please men through history. Women are conditioned to think that that disguise is the path to power, popularity, influence and acceptance. To stop the march of the Beauty Myth, we must first change male attitudes and take on pharmaceutical companies, media moguls, fashion designers (fashion, dominated by gay men, what’s that about?!), music and sit. coms. Good luck with that one! But also, I think it is bad parenting to tell children that they are “special” because, when they realise that they’re not, the mirror shatters (Santa Claus Syndrome). Best teach them how to treat others, how to enrich their lives by enriching others’, get off facebook, get out of their bedrooms, eat meals as a family, volunteer at an animal refuge and Stop Mirror-gazing!

  • Emily

    I love all of it expect this “The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on.” There’s a lot of implied meaning and judgements here. Wouldn’t it be better to say that whether you take your clothes off or not in any given scenario is your choice, and is not something that anyone has any right to judge you for?

    • Ellie Nottingham

      Emily, there is only one reason a girl takes her clothes off in public, it’s either money or attention, even if it’s bad attention. It shows no respect for themselves and none for other women whose husbands, sons and brothers are seeing it. Not too long ago these women were called Homewreckers, sluts, whores, prostitutes, strippers etc. Now they’re called entertainers, Porn “stars”, actresses, exotic dancers, working girls, proud of their fit bodies etc. No matter how you dress garbage it still stinks and is filthy. A real woman doesn’t parade it around like a slut and a woman with class doesn’t take it off in front of the men that belong to other women! That is SO low class. Sexual freedom doesn’t mean you have no responsibility to the rest of societies citizens, acting like a tramp is doing nothing to help women anywhere in the world.

      • Kinny

        Taking clothes off whenever it suits you ‘can’ be illegal. Yes it is the womans choice – true.. but just because it’s the womans (or mans) choice to inflict pain or damage upon someone else does not mean it is the right thing to do. Also, if a woman pretty much strips down in front of men in public, will that not encourage a mans testosterone to sky rocket and with men who cannot control such strong urges, to act upon them and do something to the woman who is showing off her body? To a man, I assume it’s like waving a red flag and saying “Come get me! I’m all yours!” It’s not fair nor right to either the woman or man. Only a husband should ever see HIS woman in the nude.

        If a woman stripped down infront of my husband I would be so full of anger that someone could do such a horrific thing.. and in front of MY man! Granted my husband is very strong and has the same views as I, but it would still bother me greatly. And if the woman had a ‘better looking’ body than mine, I’d probably feel the need to compete.. which in turn would create issues in the marriage to work through that need not have been there had the woman just kept her clothes on.

        And as Ellie says, that woman would be doing nothing to help women anywhere else.. it creates (i believe) an image to men that women are only as important and amazing as their physical appearance. And it teaches the man not to respect a woman and her body. Similarly, other women will learn that to be ‘so called respected’ by the world, they need to strip off and show their body off to everyone around them.. whether for respect or attention.. It goes both ways… Some men make it harder and worse for women, some women make it harder and worse for men.. It’s a complicated subject.

        I’m not incredibly attractive, but boy am I glad! I’d HATE to have men looking at me going “Oh she’s a stunner!” thinking only about the physical.. I’d be so worried and scared that something would happen. Even when I go swimming its boardies and t-shirts. NO-ONE shall see my skin.. It’s mine, private, personal, and I’m quite comfortable keeping it to myself.

        One more thing.. it’s also a persons own choice to do what they like, but if what they like is murdering people, well CLEARLY that’s wrong. There is a limit to ‘freedom’.

        I think I’ll leave it there. ^^

        • Katrina

          Do you realize that you have the classic “blame the victim” mentality, in regard to rape?

          I realize you’re not referring to that (at least I HOPE not) when you said “encourage a mans testosterone to sky rocket and with men who cannot control such strong urges, to act upon them and do something to the woman who is showing off her body.”

          BUT yes, a man can control “such strong urges,” plenty of men do it all the time. They’re not animals and are able to make the choice to not “do something to the women who is showing off her body.”

          I sincerely hope you are not raising any future men. The idea that a male’s mother would hold this view of men not being able to control themselves disgusts me.

          • kathi roark

            Katrina Women are not victims. You obviously don’t have grown male children. If you do – I challenge you to ask them what really goes through their minds when they see women in various stages of undress. If you have an honest relationship with them, they will tell you that yes they can control it but that it’s very difficult, and that they have to literally de-sensitize themselves all the time. Is it really so important for a woman to show her body that a man has to constantly struggle to overcome his natural inclinations. Is it a deep need we women have? Of course not…it’s pure ignorance or defiance of natural law. What has this attitude done for Europe. The destruction of the family that’s what. In fact, why don’t all you women who “MUST” have your freedom to be naked all move to Europe and see if you can find happiness there?

            • seen it alll……

              I teach… In middle school the boys asked me once, while pointing out tight skirts, shorts and shirts in my class, “Ms. Garcia…how are we supposed to be gentlemen when the girls dress like that.” They have a point. Now if we could get the young( now men) guys to pull up pants so I don’t have to see their chonies…………

            • PlacidAir MoonBat

              If this is true, then you RAISED them to think of the female body that way.

          • JohnB

            There is a reason why “the blame the victim mentality exist”. I don’t agree with it, but the rapist chooses his victim for a variety of reasons. Some like their targets strong, others weak. Some like the undressed, others the dressed. The Serial sexual predators often turn to violence, even murder after a time There is plenty of victim research on the internet…articles from professional publications, anonamous victims reports and prison Psych interviews with rapist. Whether you encounter a rapist or not, it would be no comfort to you to hear how men talk about you in a group in a bar, street corner, etc. “There are plenty of men who can control their urges”, but much of that stems from a Christian or religious upbringing…some segments our society hates that aspect of Christianity, so that self control issue may be a mute point in the future. Seems like it would be a mistake to display your youthful nubile body in a sexual way, relying on the self-control of the guy to protect you from harm. Most rapes go unreported…why? Many rapes are done by people in situations where a party, alcohol, drug use, date rape drugs and general loss of self –
            control by both parties and (even)loss of consciousness by the female can lead to abuse of the female and “consensual sex” (he claimed) as the girl never said no or tried to push the man away. And she certainly looked hot…she wanted it…so they will say in court. So you maybe believe your own argument, but you are hardly standing on defensible ground if you think incarcerating a aquaintance sex/rape perpatrator did the “rape victim” much of good after the fact. Better to educate the women about dangers from men who willfully disregard all moral boundaries to get what the female, sober, isn’t willing to give.

            • KT

              Your logic is so clearly flawed, it’s almost unbelievable.

            • PlacidAir MoonBat

              No, self-control isn’t about religion, it’s about being a human being vs. being an animal. Respect for others can be taught without religious dogma attached. If you need the threat of eternal hell to keep you from being a predator, then you’re already a predator — you’re just a frightened one. If the only thing preventing you from behaving in a monstrous manner is fear — then you ARE a monster. Most human beings are not monsters — and some that are use religion as their excuse for behaving monstrously.

              And “loss of consciousness by the female” does not LEAD to anything — unless a RAPIST chooses to rape. All unconsciousness leads to is unconsciousness… or a good nap. Anything else that someone CHOOSES to do is on them.

          • Ellie Nottingham

            But why do women get the right to tempt them?? Plenty of girls would not get raped if they had not put themselves in such risky situations. There is a MASSIVE difference between some slutty tramp, drinking & doing drugs and getting raped, and someone walking home from work or having their home broken into and being raped. Or being raped & mmolested as a kid, which happened to me, so I know first hand the horrors and how it messes up your entire life. I did nothing to bring it on myself, i was 2 when it started and 12 when I put a stop to it. However, i did know other girls who partied, hung out with the guys, flirting, teasing, doing strip teases & dancing very provocatively. They thought it great fun making them think they could have some by their behavior, only to say NO after getting them all worked. They’d laugh about how funny it was& how much control they had, you know, until it went wrong, then it was all tears and ” how could this happen to me?” It doesn’t justify a males actions by molesting or raping, not at all, but I fully believe a females very bad choice contributed equally and now she’s learned a very bad lesson. I really have little sympathy, girls know what reaction they’re getting. Apparently the women quit listening to what the men were telling them years ago and men are just not wired in such a way that they’re going to keep on trying to teach women what they know when women won’t shut up and listen. Women are too full of feminist self righteousness and the men just stopped sharing. Why do you all think fathers are so protective of their dating age daughters? A feminist will tell you he’s controlling & oppressive. A man knows how hormonal a teen boy or young man is, AND just how difficult it is to not act on those urges.Science has shown how the male brain in the area of impulse control is not fully developed well into their early twenties,and not every person is equal. Some do better younger, others older and yet there are females running around half naked with their sensual bodies for all to see. In case you females haven’t put 2+2 together yet, due to your feminist self righteous issues, MEN are very, sexually aroused by naked females!! If they have no feelings for you personally then you are a sexual object that is greatly increasing their lust for sex. It makes it extremely difficult for them to stop and think about YOU. Their sexual desire is all encompassing. Kind of like many women who spend too much on shoes they can’t afford or a pound of See’s chocolate they shouldn’t eat. Yet they will totally justify that tiny desire & impulse, claim they could not control themselves and in the same breath tell a man to get over his urges. Wow! What hypocrisy!

        • Mimi

          “Only a husband should ever see HIS woman in the nude.”

          So only a wife should ever see her man in the nude? He can never take off his shirt in public, right? Oh dear, look at that man in swim trunks, what if your husband feels inferior? He should really cover up! Plus, it’ll cause a woman to lust after him and she’ll try to tear him away from his wife. He’s pretty much telling the world that they can have his chest; he’s letting everyone look at it, after all.
          I know you mention that “men make it harder and worse for women”, but I doubt you think that men wearing too little is a big problem in today’s society. What exactly does a man do that makes things harder for women, in that case?

          “And if the woman had a ‘better looking’ body than mine, I’d probably feel the need to compete”

          Sounds like something that has to do with your own insecurities. How do you think male gynecologists do their job, having to look at different women on a daily basis? Or artists who draw nude models? You don’t think they can have healthy relationships with women? Do you not think you have a gorgeous body already, or are you comparing yourself with society’s expectations and are angry that other women fulfill those expectations better than you?

          “it creates (i believe) an image to men that women are only as important and amazing as their physical appearance”

          No, it creates an image that appearance has nothing to do with who they are, no matter what they wear. By wearing more clothes you’re making the statement that your physical image IS important. If you approach someone with a smile and bright demeanor it won’t matter what you’re wearing unless the other person is totally shallow. In that case you wouldn’t want to interact with them anyway.
          We all know what men and women look like. It’s really no surprise unless we cover it up and make it some kind of mystery, but in the end we’re all the same whether we can see it or not.

          • PlacidAir MoonBat

            Last I knew ownership of other humans became illegal in this country under Lincoln.

          • kathi roark

            Mimi what BS you spew. Tell that to all my 50+ friends whose husbands are leaving them en masse because them because they aren’t HOT anymore. Of course the men arent’ hot either but that doesn’t stop young HOT skanks from sleeping with them. It’s an epidemic. Good luck with your future relationships.

            • Kit

              Then it sounds to me like they should have chosen better husbands. I wish them well with the next chapter in their lives without the assholes who would leave them “only” because of their fading looks (assuming that’s the main reason, as you posit).

              If you have to keep someone on a leash/in a cage/in a blindfold/etc. in order to keep them loyal to you, they’re not loyal to you.

              I would never want to marry a man whose only reason for not cheating on me was that he never got the opportunity to look at more attractive women. It’s either HIS CHOICE, or it doesn’t count.

              • Ellie Nottingham

                Says the unmarried woman.

          • Ellie Nottingham

            You’re a fool if you think a male gynecologist doesn’t lust after some hottie that comes walking in his office. And male artists draw nude women because they like what they see, otherwise he’d draw cars or something. Try actually listening to a man who is willing to share the TRUTH with you. He will only tell you what he thinks you want to hear though if he feels like he’ll be attacked for it. So if you want to hear the REAL truth then you have to assure him you will truly listen and not be ready with ammo to plow him over. You may not like it, but if you ask questions nicely and give helpful feedback without accusation you are more likely to have him empathize with your view point.
            BTW your “bright smile” won’t even be noticed with your boobs and nether region on display. He won’t even look at your face, you know, while he’s staring you right in the eye. LOL! Women are clueless, I’m glad I have a husband that answered honestly what he thinks and feels and what he hears from other men. Not all men are the same but unless he’s gay he is still interested in seeing naked women, if he’s 4 or 104. I love looking at men, i also think women are hot too. I’m 51 and I feel the same way that I did when I was a young teen. My manners are better but my thoughts are the same. I can “stare” at a woman’s cleavage or a man chest and just say “what a cute top” or “that shirt looks nice”. See, better manners, but I’m still looking, same for men, feminists made them shut up, but they didn’t improve anything, it’s just more polite in most cases. Same thing for the LGBT issue, all lot of people will never be supportive, they just quietly find ways to avoid it and get around the in your face, forced compliance.

        • PlacidAir MoonBat

          And if nudity were not unusual — it would not be part of such reactions. People don’t have overblown reactions to that which they see every day. It’s the fact that we cover ourselves constantly that makes nudity uncomfortable, not the nudity itself.

          And did you REALLY just equate being nude with murdering someone? Seriously? WOW, that is seriously messed up.

        • kathi roark

          I couldn’t agree more Kinny. The women arguing for women’s nudity in the public square are most likely stupid young women with great bodies. They know the power their naked bodies wield and use it under the guise of freedom. They are not friends to other women and in their hearts they know it’s wrong.

      • PlacidAir MoonBat

        If you’ve never swum naked in the ocean you don’t know what you’re missing. That you make the presumptions you’re making about the human body and it’s need to be covered as if it were inherently dirty is a part of what’s wrong. No, the human body is not somehow dirty… it’s the vehicle for our souls, and nudity is how we were made. You are imposing something else on the body — something that in itself it does not own — it’s your mind that owns that.

        • JohnB

          I read that book “Jaws” and that girl in the beginning of that book sure did enjoy swimming in the ocean in the buff. The large shark enjoyed her too. Hmmm…I wonder if she was having her time of the month. Just kidding…enjoy your naked swim but watch for fins. As regards to dirty human bodies, there are many dirty human bodies in the world. Clean water access is a problem in 2/3’s of the world, maybe more. Of course I realize you were talking about the kind of dirt that water can’t wash off. Just ask any girls who has been trafficked into sexual slavery how pretty she thinks her body is after several months of being trafficked. Any sex outside of marriage can easily be termed exploitation. Just ask any girl that got pregnant, an STD, HIV or a pelvic infection from sex with a guy that shortly bid her “adios baby, thanks, but no thanks!”, as they moved on to next ‘beautiful naked body’. Placid air moonbat is aptly named, but forgot to mention the flies that swarm around his face, just barely visible in the stupid mug shot. Way to go ‘placid air moonbat …or is it ‘flacid (down) there-moron butt ‘?

          • PlacidAir MoonBat

            Seriously? 1. I’m female. 2. Sex is only exploitation if one of the parties involved was NOT enthusiastically participating and was pressured or forced into it (or incapable of reasonable consent). And if you found out the guy you were with is a jerk by his actions post-sex, he was a jerk to begin with, sex didn’t make him into one. 3. WTF has any of this thread to do with sex trafficking? Good grief. Anyone who does that to someone should be castrated, drawn and quartered — but that’s a wholly different topic than whether a teenaged girl should be allowed to experiment with makeup or not.

            Oh, and there’s a huge difference between putting on makeup/dressing up because you enjoy doing so, and doing it because you feel you HAVE to in order to meet some social “norm”. I get pedicures often, and put on toerings…. I enjoy it and find it fun to see my toes that way….. between pedicures I remove the polish and may, or may not depending on my mood, remove the toe rings too. But I don’t feel as though I need it to go out in public….. the same with dressing up, doing my hair or putting on makeup — some days I’m in the mood to do all of that — other days a shower and clean clothes are all I need to get rolling.

            The issue here is not the makeup aisle…. but feeling as if you’re not good enough without the makeup aisle.

            As for all the other stupidity you’ve managed to try to conflate into this — seriously? How about something resembling a grasp of logic, reason and civility — because you’re lacking in all 3.

        • Ellie Nottingham

          Swimming naked in the Ocean is not the same as walking around naked or half naked in full view of everyone else. I’ve been swimming naked without exposing myself to others, your argument is silly. I NEVER said the body is dirty, bad ugly, etc. It’s amazing and beautiful, it should be taken care of, protected and respected. It is also the main source that stirs sexual desire in humans. I believe in traditional marriage, one husband and wife, faithful unto death, he’s mine and I’m his. We have given ownership of ourselves to one another, nobody has the right to try to lure him away, any more than someone has the right to claim my child as their own. That child is MINE and I will kill you before you’ll take him. Marriage is a bond only to be severed by the couple for infidelity or death. To me death is far preferable to infidelity, having someone die is much different than having them reject you for another. You would protect your home from intruders, how much more valuable is your marriage? So a scantily clad tramp basically lures your spouses thoughts to her over you. My only true complaint about men, is that they are so weak in this regard. Even if he tells you he’s not looking, he’s looking, and women that dress trampy know it. It shows TOTAL disregard for other women that they supposedly support, it’s such BS.

          • PlacidAir MoonBat

            So you have so little faith in your husband, that you believe the mere sight of another woman’s body puts your “traditional marriage” at risk? How insulting to him, and how sad and insecure your marriage must feel to you.

          • PlacidAir MoonBat

            Seeing someone naked is titillating only because it’s about the only time people see each other naked. If we saw people naked without that as the context regularly, that would be removed as the response. It’s pavlovian at this point that naked=sex….. it doesn’t have to.

    • kathi roark

      No Emily I wouldn’t say that at all. If you take your clothes off anywhere but in private you are looking for attention or money. That’s it. Nothing more. And yes we do have the right to judge you. Have a little respect honey. Men do not respect you

      • Mimi

        Really?
        If you take your clothes off at the beach is it so men will stare at you or so your clothes won’t get wet in the ocean?
        If you take your clothes off at the gym is it so men will stare at you or so you won’t get sweaty?
        It’s perfectly fine for men to tear their shirts off and go jogging around the block. They’re just trying to keep cool. But God forbid a woman should want to walk through her neighborhood in a sports bra, she’s probably just looking for a man to ogle her. Actually, I would respect her for having the discipline to keep an exercise regimen.

      • PlacidAir MoonBat

        If you’ve never felt the sun on your entire body, or swum in the ocean in the nude — then I feel sorry for you. Those things are not “for attention” nor “for money” but for the simple bliss of being at one with nature…. I’m sorry you’ve never experienced that — it’s rather joyous.

        • kathi roark

          I have and it was. It was not in public though. I like being naked as much as the next person but theres a time and a place MoonBat.

    • JohnB

      liberal feminist blather…once your clothes are off, you are likely being photographed or should have that as a not unreasonable expectation. If you are attractive, you will be exploited although you may be reimbursed in some manner to make it worth your while. But then that becomes a form of prostitution…men paying for mental-visual sex. If your oK with that, then nobody need try to persuade you otherwise. However if you are young girl reaching womanhood, you want the respect of your father/mother/ parents/ siblings/ men you will meet…you just made that a bit more difficult. And protest to the contrary, people can and will, and have the right to judge you. The only religious figure that ever said, “Judge not lest you be judged, for with the same measure you judge, you will be judged…was Jesus, God in the flesh or God with us (Emmanuel). I don’t think you’re in His camp, but rather typically a Godless agnostic who loves to quote the God you don’t believe exist or whose teachings, you don’t ascribe to, so using a form of that declaration to defend against Christian moral “judgement” is strategically weak.

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  • samia ruponti

    That is a lovely letter. I love the fact that there is one father who thinks like this. I had a father who wasn’t much concerned about my appearance, but who constantly criticized me for being unconventional. He tried to mold me in something that will be agreeable in the future when I marry (our culture is radically different from yours, daughter-in-laws have to be more diplomatic than a diplomat) and I understand his love and need to protect me that drove him to do it, but I just wish for a world that would not try so hard to change me.

    I hope your daughter will grow up and become exactly what she wishes for.

  • Jeff

    Thanks- I shared on my daughters time line.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Jeff. My best to you and your daughters!

  • vuks

    this is beautiful. and i think boys need to hear it to (about girls and about themselves). thanks for writing this!

    • drkellyflanagan

      I agree, Vuks, both sexes need to be reminded where real beauty lies!

  • Ru

    I just wish more men thought like this. I know that people will try to define my body and the way I should look and feel, but I just wish that would disappear. I know it won’t. But even after reading something as beautiful and heartfelt as this. I still feel no hope in the eyes of men and the blind women who just let them get walked all over. It’s just a sad thought I guess, maybe to cynical but I can’t help it.

    • drkellyflanagan

      No, Ru, I understand your cynicism and despair. I think that’s why we have to focus on the fact that we can’t wait for others to change their perceptions of us. It has to begin in our own hearts. Where all good rebellions begin. Be a rebel, Ru, by loving yourself exactly the way you are!

  • ami Joiner

    Thank you so much for writing this. So true, I have two daughters.

  • Michelle

    Thank you. I wish my dad had been like you when I was a little girl.

  • Marly

    The marketing call is so pervasive it has become our inner voice. I think the best thing a parent can do is what you are doing Dr. and that is reinforcing the values of inner beauty, respect of self, and bring attention to the commercial aspects of beauty that have become so prevalent that we no longer question it. It doesn’t help to tell young girls that looks don’t matter – they will never believe you. It does help to invite them to question what beauty is, and what makes it important to them personally.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yes, Marly, we have to affirm that beauty is a very, very good thing. And we also have to affirm that there are all kinds of beauty. My daughter asked the other night why the beauty on the inside was “most beautiful.” My first reaction was, “Because it’s a forever beauty.” She liked that.

  • olivia

    Thank you, for making me feel like I can conquer the word. I feel beautiful right now

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Olivia! You inspire me with your response.

  • Anuja Pillai

    Well written and worth reading! At the end Confidence is the best accessory a girl can wear..Now I believe Where am I the most beautiful???…ON THE INSIDE <3

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yes, Anuja!

  • Makeup Mum

    Hi, I love this! So well-said! I am a makeup artist, and last week I was invited in to my daughter’s high school to give a makeup demo to the girls. As I sat preparing my presentation, I realised how focused it all was on the makeup, and it struck me that this was the opposite message from the one I wanted to give my daughter and her friends… so I rewrote my whole presentation, and hope that I succeeded in giving them the right message about their inner strength and beauty. I couldn’t agree more with every word you’ve said, and this from someone who uses makeup every day!

    • drkellyflanagan

      What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it! It’s so encouraging to hear your reaction. I hoped the letter wouldn’t be perceived as disparaging of makeup and beauty. Because makeup isn’t inherently problematic; it depends upon its function. Thanks for pairing the healthy message with your vocation!

  • JS

    Our culture is image conscious. I am not saying that’s right or wrong – it is what it is. Maybe this father’s attitudes and ideas are a bit extreme considering the circumstances. If he raised a kid who didn’t bathe and was ostracized by peers as a result that wouldn’t be ok either. Teaching the child to exercise good judgement and use such products in moderation is probably a good idea. Also teaching the child to watch for toxic ingredients like parabens, propylene glycol, and the like is also wise… kind of like teaching them to effectively read food labels. Hopefully this child can grow up and leave the house and go to a public place wearing no makeup and comfy clothes when she wants to. Spending an hour on hair and makeup only to go for gas and groceries seems like a legendary waste of time to me. On the flip side, hopefully she knows how to enhance her favourite features how and when she wants to out of choice not obligation.

  • Beth

    A girl gets all her queues from her father’s attitude to her. Your daughter is blessed. I know now, as an adult, that my father loves me very much, but as a child and teenager who got fat, and stayed fat, I was made to believe that I was unloveable because that’s how my parents made it seem to me, with their constant pressure to change. They crushed my soul, albeit without intending to. It took years and years and years to even begin to believe I was worth someone’s attention. I am so so blessed now to be in a healthy, nurturing, loving marriage with the most wonderful man who loves me just as I am, and we have two young boys who will always know that I love them no matter what. I’m actually glad that I don’t have daughters because i am too deeply fearful of them inheriting the same issues I had/have, of going through some of the things I went through, and of not being able to protect them from that pain, even though I’d have every intention of *not* treating them the way I was treated (boys can go through some of the same things but it’s not as bad for them, I think). You are your daughter’s first love. By showing her what you love about her, and what is important to you, you are helping her avoid the trap of believing that appearance is everything. But DO also tell her she is beautiful on the outside, even if what’s on the inside is more important. She needs to know that her father thinks she is beautiful, because if, as she grows up, others tell her she isn’t, she will still have the message from the most important man in her life that she is, on the inside and on the outside.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Absolutely, Beth, I couldn’t agree more!

  • Ruthie

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s nice to see a man’s voice coming forward in the discussion about gender equality and commenting on the fallacy and double standard found in the world’s vision of “the perfect woman”. As a young woman I have found that a lot of the women around me are trying to hide their amazing qualities like intelligence, wit, political awareness etc. in order to appeal to men and other women who prize outward appearance over personality and self worth. A lot of women don’t learn to prize those things until they’re not young and hot any more and only have their personalities to rely on. Women shouldn’t be wasting their prime years pretending to be vapid, beautiful idiots who can make a man happy by being the perfect arm candy rather than pursuing their own careers and making something brilliant of themselves so that they can later on give that to their daughters and their sons.
    Thanks for talking about this and being a good, supportive father to your daughter.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Ruthie, and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • LuvNHzMrc

    All smiles on this one. ^_^
    I was always my “daddy’s little girl”, and at age 50 I still feel that way about my Dad. We weren’t close during the teen years, I had some pretty hard times, BUT…everything my Dad poured into my soul when he was my “daddy” was embedded…and NOTHING will ever be able to erase it. My grampa, on my dad’s side, also poured into me; every time I saw him he would say, “Come her beautiful.” and he would hug me and kiss me…to this day I can see the twinkle in his eyes when he would speak these words as we shared a cup of “coffee” (a cup of milk with a splash of coffee). Even my grampa, on my mom’s side, was very loving and edifying to my soul…as he gazed down into my eyes when I stood on his feet dancing to “Guantanamera”…I wore only mascara in high school and I wear very little make up today…I am not skinny and I am not obese…I am healthy and happy inside with the beauty that is within my heart.

    Thanks for sharing, this is beautiful.

    • drkellyflanagan

      This is an encouragement to me. I hope the words I share with my daughter will have a lasting impact, and your comment gives me hope. Thank you.

  • Guest

    Thank you, I needed to hear that for myself. I do not have a earthly father capable of saying such things, but a Heavenly Father who knows me from the inside out. I choose to hear and absorb your further comments, and will post them near the mirror in my bathroom to be reminded that it is not anything I can place on my body/face, but the items I can place and live out in my life. I’m 34 and there seems to be a ton of erasing in my mind about my person that causes doubt and ugliness, the marks of those who would rather make a sale than care about the person. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’m honored you would choose to do that with my words. I do hope they can be a reminder to you of where your beauty lies.

  • Deb Warkentine Hodgins

    beautiful and powerful!!

  • Jen

    This honestly made me cry, what a great way to look at those phrases. I’m very lucky to go out without makeup on and not feel uncomfortable (not that I don’t own any). Can’t imagine life any other way. Both of my parents, especially my dad, were always proud of me for my accomplishments and praised me as a person rather than my appearance and that has always made me comfortable in my own skin.

    You may think you have a lot of work to do in the next 5 years, but you’re already doing it right and your daughter will love you for it.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Jen. I love hearing from folks whose parents also encouraged them to think and live in this way!

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  • Laura

    I just wanted to say how much I genuinely appreciate these posts to your daughter. As a 25 year old woman who lost her father 5 years ago it is refreshing to read the things I heard from my dad on a regular basis. I am lucky enough to be marrying a man who also tells me the same things when I least expect to hear them, but there’s nothing like hearing them come from a father.

    May your daughter learn to be comfortable in whatever makes her happy. I admit that I love doing my hair and makeup, but by no means do it on a daily basis. I do it for fun, when the spirit moves me to. I have never felt like it was a necessity to leave the house. I hope to one day be able to share that belief with children of my own as you have.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Laura, congratulations on your engagement! And thank you for pointing out that this letter isn’t about shaming women in the opposite direction. Beauty is a good thing, both inside and out. But we do have to disconnect our sense of worth from products and messages of perfection.

  • Daddy loves his girl

    Prophetic words. I have a 4 year old as well and at some point I will show her this video on “The Evolution of Beauty”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knEIM16NuPg

    I think every young girl should see this and read your letter. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Good to connect with another dad out there. And thanks for the link! Will check it out now.

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  • Jessica

    Naked and nude refer to natural makeup. Get real. When I hear nearly naked I think of a fresh face and when I hear go nude I think a nude lip that would complement a rockin’ cateye. You clearly don’t understand makeup. Have fun gaining character(as a man) while women in their 5’s are struggling to get a job next to their younger counterparts. #getreal

    • Jessica

      50’s* Fifties.

    • Guest

      I am the woman in their 50’s and I can beat I have no problems getting recognized for who I am no matter what age my counterpart is.

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  • justme

    What an awesome daddy…here’s hoping there are more just like you out there!

    • drkellyflanagan

      There are! One of the great delights of this letter getting wider readership is to hear that I’m not all that special! There are lots of dads out there sending this message to their daughters. We have good reason to be hopeful. : )

  • tcdurdle

    thank you from my 48 year old body that has the heart and soul of a 20 something… and for saying what I wish every father (and mother) could have and should say.. I feel better about myself already!

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  • Joni Clark

    I loved this ! I just posted on my blog site a letter to my daughters in response to something I read on how mothers influence their daughters by thier words and I believe fathers have such power aswell, fathers are the first relationship ,and play such an important role on how girls will expect to be viewed and treated when they are interacting with boys and men as they get older .. .daughters will look their mothers for their value and selfworth …and we are responsible for the tools we give them by which they measure themselves in this world and to make sure they know not to define themselves by someone elses standards or the marketing in the cosmetic aisle …if you would like to read my letter it is at http://www.faerieconfidential.com titled love letters to my daughters

    • drkellyflanagan

      Looking forward to reading it, Joni!

  • Jane

    While I appreciate and agree with the intent of this, I think it’s very important to remember that it’s not just the messages girls get from the media that impact them. Words do have power, and I am troubled when I read your thought process: “When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy.” Did it really take having a daughter for you to see that women have “the same life and gifts and passions as any man”? Until you had a daughter, did you only see women “as a pretty face and body to enjoy?” What about the woman who gave birth to your children? To you? What about your colleagues, your classmates, your friends? I am not trying to attack you by saying this, but I think that kind of attitude by men is more harmful than the fashion magazines could ever be. Until men can learn to see women as people just like them, it’s not really going to matter what the magazines say. Just my 2 cents.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Jane, you make a good point actually. “Start to realize” probably wasn’t the best phrase to use there. At the same time, I wouldn’t deny I’m a work in progress and leaning on grace to get me through the journey.

  • hppyasaclm

    It’s so refreshing and heartwarming to read the words from a man who understands how difficult it can be for a young woman in our society with all the sexualization being thrown at her. I’m sickened and sad with the obsession toward womens’ bodies and the disrespect of so many and the sad fact the so many young women buy into that fantasy. A little girl looks upon her father as a hero and what he says and does will influence her life and the kind of man she ultimately chooses to be her husband.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Mother

    May I print the article if I leave out the pictures of the magazines? Or do you prefer that I do not print it?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Oh, yes, please do print it!

  • Isabelle Goyer

    Thank You!

  • Guest

    Absolutely amazing article. It’s not easy raising a daughter these days with so much media coming at them from every angle. I have always taught me daughter that true beauty comes from the inside out. I can’t wait to share this with her. Real food for thought and I agree words have power. Thanks for sharing your words with such a powerful message.
    Julee Ireland

  • Julee Ireland

    Absolutely amazing article. It’s not easy raising a daughter these days
    with so much media coming at them from every angle. I have always
    taught my daughter that true beauty comes from the inside out. I can’t
    wait to share this with her. Your daughter(s) are blessed to have you guiding them. This is Real food for thought and I agree words
    have power. Thanks for sharing your words with such a powerful message.
    Julee Ireland

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re quite welcome, Julee!

  • Maeshelle West-Davies

    after many years of thinking feminism was about man bashing, i find myself agreeing with the opinion that society needs to reassess how it views women if we are ever going to be equal. societal objectification leads to self-objectification and i am one who wrestles with what the borders are. thank you for your words. i needed them too.

  • Lauren

    Dear Dr. Flanagan.

    As a new mum to my beautiful daughter Alexa, I would just like to tell you that ‘Words from a Father to a Daughter’ is one of the most beautiful, honest and powerful pieces of writing that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I hope one day to pass on this wisdom to my own daughter but on a personal level, your words have genuinely put things into perspective for me.
    I rarely leave comments on blog posts but this one honestly touched my heart.

    From,
    Lauren in Dublin, Ireland

    • drkellyflanagan

      Lauren, Thanks for leaving a comment on this one, and congratulations to you on the birth of Alexa! I’m sure you will bless her, and I know one of the best ways you can bless her is to fully comprehend your own internal beauty and worth.

  • cher

    Thank You!!! I have had people tell me I’m not whatever enough for a very long time. When I turned 50 after many years of pain, I am now at that point where I am good enough for ME!!!
    I have talent and worth beyond my looks. My father loved and encouraged me also but the thing that gets lost is outside the home that place where others are very hurtful and you hear that everyday for years it adds up. This year will be my 35th High School Graduation. I have no need to show them how well I have done, how thin I am now or even that I give them a second thought. You keep up telling your daughter she’s wonderful but also remember there are those who won’t be so kind. Help her to give every last ounce of who she is into what she wants and believes. If she falls so what make a step and move up to whatever comes next and NEVER let ANYONE Tell Her She CAN’T!!!!!
    Again Thanks

  • Ellie Nottingham

    Dear Dr. I think your article was amazing and I hope your daughter can truly appreciate it when she’s older, and, that YOUR words will have a larger impact in her life than what the world will tell her. Not to criticize at all, because I don’t know you, just something to point out if you haven’t already thought about it, but your own conscious and subconscious behavior toward your wife and other women will speak much louder than your words. Your daughter is watching you right now, and every day of her life she will see how you treat your wife and if you compare your wife’s outward beauty to other women. More than ever before, are women themselves, dressing more & more provocatively and acting in ways that are so detrimental to young girls & other women. I’m not talking about those that make a living by it either, I’m talking about your average female that dresses like the town tramp, but they all seem to be the town tramp! I can’t go anywhere, even Costco without having some female in short shorts, skirts & dresses and low cut tops not to mention “bra tops” or see through clothing. It’s making me not like my own gender at all. YOU as a man could help the situation by showing outward displeasure, instead of doing like most men, which is to silently enjoy what they’re seeing and/or just keep quiet so as to not offend the tramp. Wives NEED to know men like you DON’T like this behavior and in fact don’t need the constant visual lures constantly thrown in their faces. We also need you to take a verbal stand against it and speak up! When we do, we’re labeled as jealous and worse. And when we see our husbands giving in to the temptation to look and imagine what it would be like to be with any of them, well it breaks our hearts and we feel worthless, inside and out. To make matters worse, as we women age and our outward beauty decays, if we never had any self esteem to begin with we end up feeling sad, desperate and lonely. Your daughter will need to see you actively protest the slutty behavior, not be lured by it, and how devoted you are to her mother BEFORE she’ll believe your words. Your behavior in action will trump the words she’s just hearing you say in the future. If your behavoir and words don’t match she won’t believe anything you say at all.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Well said, Ellie. “Behavior in action will trump the words she’s just hearing…”

    • Kinny

      I agree. Very well said!

      My husband and I went to the supermarket just last week (I stayed in the car and relaxed ^^ but could see everything going on) and a woman walked past him who was wearing a top so low-cut her ‘items’ were so close to just falling out, and a rather short skirt..or were they short-shorts.. and she had 3 young children with her! My husband told her to please put some clothes on… she got very aggressive of course.. but I would have said the exact same thing to her… It’s very difficult mentally.. You said everything perfectly Ellie. Even though my husband never thinks those things, I’m still silly and worry about “Oh but what if he does one day!”.. it’s very difficult. AND YES YES YES SO TRUE: “Behavior in action will trump the words she’s just hearing…”

      My parents said one thing and acted another. The behavior and actions MUST be the same as the good words said. Thank you ^^

      • Estefania

        I don’t necessarily agree that a woman needs to cover her body in order to be respected – that ideology belongs way back before women were allowed to vote. I believe a woman must have the choice to feel empowered as she chooses – life is a process which is different for everyone.

        When I was in my early 20’s, I discovered for the first time that I was beautiful, something I never thought before (I was practically the lowest rung in the high-school hierarchy). I decided then to live my life as a beautiful girl, wearing short skirts, the occasional hot pants and a bit of makeup, why not? I needed some form of validation, even if it came from the outside. Yet the world responded positively because I had more to give than just that – everything I did came from my heart and I always strived to excel.

        Now that I am about to begin my 30’s, I have found a different kind of strength – one that comes from the inside, from the knowledge that I am an intelligent woman who would shine regardless of her physical beauty, and my dress has changed a lot to reflect it. I have a shaved head (and I look fabulous that way), I wear almost exclusively black voluminous dresses which are seldom revealing (although I am quite fit) and yet men and women give me honest compliments – “beautiful” and “sexy” among them. I no longer need them to feel validated as a woman; that is certain! But perhaps my point is this:

        I doubt I would have come to this level of self-confidence if I had lived through my 20’s as a wallflower. Please live and let live. It’s not nice to tell a woman to “put some clothes on” if all she was doing was candidly walking past you on the parking lot. Did you (or your husband) stop for one minute to consider her self-esteem?

    • Mimi

      What’s so disgusting about a women’s body that men need to show displeasure when they see it?

      • Ellie Nottingham

        You missed the point completely, blinded by your own agenda. The female form is quite beautiful even when fully clothed. But some clothing makes it much more physically desirable, partial clothing psiibly more so, and sometimes revealing clothing, as well as nudity certainly creates sexual desire. All you have to do is see it displayed. Women don’t have the right to stir MY husbands desires by flaunting it in front of him in public places. We don’t go to strip clubs and bars, we just want to go to the park or a family event or shopping, and now, Costco or Target has women and girls running around like strippers and I don’t like it. I can’t wait til those little tramps have THEIR guy looking at one when they’re 8 months along and feeling like a whale. Their tune will change.

        • Stacy

          Oh, now I see what your problem is. You are afraid your husband’s desires will be stired, because you don’t feel sexy anymore.

          The problem here is YOU, and your lack of self esteem, and not other girls, who are confident enough to show their bodies, or just because they felt like it. If you think they do so just to stir desires, then you are completely wrong.

          I have heard men think that their wives look beautiful while pregnant, and some of my friends actually did looked stunning while being so. If you felt like a fat whale is probably because you did looked like one. If your husband didn’t make you feel like the world’s most gorgeous woman, then, I pity you.

          For my boyfriend, I am the most beautiful woman in the world, and he tells that to me every day, even if I am wearing sweatpants. And years before I had a boyfriend, my father used to tell me that, he still does.

          I wear what I want because I feel like doing so, and because I know that I look good.

          But I really feel bad for you. You obviously don’t feel beautiful and sexy anymore, and that is why you are afraid your husband might see other women. Then, if you say that you are really honest with each other, why don’t you ask him if he would like for you to wear something special for him?

    • PlacidAir MoonBat

      Honey, if shopping at Costco makes you so uncomfortable, stay home…. seriously I’d much rather do my own shopping without having to worry that some prude is judging me because it’s a hot day and I’m wearing a tank top, shorts and flip flops.

    • Susana

      Has it ever occured to you that short skirts and tops might be a necesity somewhere? I live in Mexico, and right now, the weather is hot as hell, specially in my office, so I hace to use short dresses and tops not because I want the attention, but because I don’t want to die of suffocation. Besides, I like the way they look on me, so, why should I avoid them?

      You seem to be a very insecure woman, not wanting your husband to be looking at some other woman who, like me, happens to be comfortable with her body. If YOU don’t like to wear them, it’s fine, don’t do it, but don’t criticize women who do. I’m in a loving relationship, and my boyfriend likes the way I look in everything I wear, and he has never asked for me not to wear something revealing in public, which makes me trust him even more.

  • Olja Pinkoson

    Hi :) Your letter to your daughter was also translated in Serbia. My friend from Serbia shared it this morning on her FB wall. I also shared from here for all my friends in California (where I live now). There are so many people who enjoy this article. It’s refreshing and beautiful for someone to know what the essence of the true beauty is… and to teach it to their children. I think as we get older we realize what that beauty is as we searching for our true self….at least I feel that way now. I felt I lost my self somewhere along the way. When I was growing up I thought everybody was better than me. Your little one is very lucky to have a father like you. Thank you for this blog

    • drkellyflanagan

      Wow, Serbian? That’s fantastic! I’m glad it was able to reach you in that way. And thanks for letting me know!

      • Olja Pinkoson

        my pleasure!

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  • Nat Doyle

    Amazing words. Thank you

  • Nick Mullinix

    Only in America can someone feel “oppressed” by standing in the make-up aisle at Target. What an incredibly mentally weak country.

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  • SherryLynn

    Thank you. While I’m 46, soon to turn 47, I grew up without my dad in my life and an abusive step-father. I need not say more. I had no mother, just a woman who is named on my birth certificate that I lived with growing up. I need not say more on that either. I will say, I needed this post, I needed to hear/read these words to understand that I am beautiful just the way I am without all the hair, make-up, senseless definitions out there of what I should be. In my heart, God has made me beautiful and my hubby cherishes my inward beauty. No, my body isn’t sleek but my heart is big. Putting the pieces of this together is so difficult. I’m more a child inside than adult. Thank you so much.

  • CDM

    My father passed away when I was 15, I am 51 now. He traveled sometimes for work and had written me several letters while out of town. All these years I have kept those letters. I still read them now and again. I wish he had written more letters. Occasionally when life has been tough and I find myself low, I open them up and read….the signature line where he wrote “I’ll love you forever, Daddy”. Even at 51, sometime I still need to hear that. What a beautiful gift you give your little girl every time you put thought to paper and leave her a bit of yourself.

  • Donald Younger

    Your article is right-on! We have two adopted daughters that went from foster home to foster home. By the time we got them their self image was lower that worms in a compost pile. My wife and I worked for years telling, showing, exampling the beauty is only skin deep, but ugliness is clear to the bones. It’s what is in the heart that counts and comes out in a postive attitude. I have two of the most beautiful daughters on the planet. They care for people, they serve without being asked, they give in every aspect generously and they love their parents, as well love them. We love being around them and they love being around us. We are blessed!

  • James

    Well said, sir. I look forward to sharing this with MY daughters. They’ve already discovered the makeup aisle… but they’ve also found a shot put, a discus, a base guitar, and running shoes.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Ha! Love it! Indeed, these are not mutually exclusive. : )

  • Summer Saliba

    Nobody sees the bigger picture in his letter. It’s not the makeup it’s the message to all women society tries to shove in our faces today. I know mothers are suppose to teach daughters about womanhood, but there are some things only a man can give to his daughter–confidence and self assurance. He is the first man she knows, loves, cares, cries, misses, admires, emulates….and that father will be the type of man she looks for later in life. If a father doesn’t show/teach her she is beautiful and special who will? Mothers are extremely important, but in this case father’s is the only one that can stoke the fire of independence, confidence, self assurance, and acceptence in a little girl.

  • John Pappalardo

    I have two daughters, 8 and 5 years old, and I will show this to them over and over as they grow up. This is, to me, maybe one of the most valuable lessons i can ever teach them. Thank You for sharing this.

  • Tiffany Phoenix Johnson

    From someone who had a father but a man who didn’t care to talk to me, acknowledge me, value me or teach me about a little girls first love besides herself. Thank you. Children are a cup we can fill with love, crap or leave empty… I work with what I have and then work harder to be a good mother for my daughter so she can learn love, self love, strength for hard times and peace for good times. I’m happy I found this article! It can help me in my every day struggle with myself and my journey with my own child.

  • Regina

    Beautiful article, thank you!

  • ashouhdy

    Well .. Thats a MAN not a MALE ..thats morals thats what everyone should be.

  • A Thinker

    Amazing. Knowing that a Father thinks about his daughter and her future when she’s young will make a difference in her life. I completely agree. Media tries all it’s best to strip young women of their self-esteem just so it can get a profit. Opening girls eyes by letting them know that they are gorgeous despite what others say is extremely significant and crucial. Thank you.

  • Debra Stoughton

    Very lovely letter – I wish someone had explained things to me this way when I was young………might have saved me a lot of heartache!

  • thinkingabovemypaygrade

    Good words. There are basically two messages to / about women. One message is basically what you are saying…
    ***A female human being…with her wonderful gifts, etc. that she has to offer the world. Her best power and beauty comes from within herself.

    ***The POISON message… the woman is only her exterior body. As her body ages (or if it doesn’t meet to current standards) she is less valuable (Quite similar to your local county fair judge’s criteria for judging cattle. except there is no bathing suit contest for cows.)

  • kathi roark

    If women would stop being morons by worshipping at this ridiculous beauty/youth altar the whole issue would go away. STOP buying magazines with young half naked women on the covers, make sex and nudity on TV and in movies something you won’t tolerate and STOP trying to pretend like it doesn’t matter or bother you. It does and it should. Teach your daughter modesty and self respect and our world will be a much better place for women of the future. As it is now a woman has to be EVERYTHING and men have to do NOTHING.

    • Terri

      And you just gave women a list of more things to do, starting by calling them morons. Any genuine points you may have had in there get buried when you call names, then blame the beauty/youth altar entirely on women as if men don’t exist and don’t affect the issue profoundly as well.

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  • Seakaypea

    Thank you. I’m a Daddyless Daughter and I needed to hear that. Bless you.

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  • Sensible Interjection

    I cringed when you used the word ‘oppressive’ to refer to a (presumably) voluntary shopping experience at Target. It makes your otherwise respectable concerns about 21st century zombie-culture seem unintentionally postmodern-feminist.

  • Tom Sheil

    What a powerful, insightful message from a father to a daughter. I wish I had had the wisdom to write such a message.

  • Betty Rocker

    Thanks Dr Flanagan. This was beautifully said.

  • broken lass

    Simply stunning I wish my dad would see me like that

  • KJacobsen

    Beautiful letter xx as a daughter that grew up without a father, it makes me so grateful that your daughter has you and that there are men out there in the world caring for their kids. Good on you and keep up the good work you are doing in your life and in your blog!

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  • Naliandrah

    Wonderful, I wish my dad wrote that to me, and/or to every women to read this. It’s a great thought, thanks for sharing it.

  • Ana Jcf Mendibles

    Thank you, I needed to read that, I always got the opposite from my father, he want me to get into the modeling business just make money off of me, thank God for my mother who didn’t let him. I believe we need more fathers like this to tell their daughters the truths about how the world sees them and how God sees, and of course how their fathers sees them.

  • Leah

    Thank you for writing this beautiful letter to your daughters. It’s so important for all women to hear the voices of REAL men who have the ability to understand, recognize and appreciate their true beauty. Women are bombarded everyday and everywhere with toxic messages about what makes them valuable, how they should look and who they should serve. With the new boom in “breastaurants” like Hooters, Twin Peaks and The Tilted Kilt, I was beginning to loose hope and faith in men. I really needed to read this today. I hope you realize how valuable your message is to your daughters and all women in general. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

  • Rachel Elbert

    Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful, personal words. I wish every little girl could grow up surrounded by such wisdom to build an unshakable confidence. I’m so happy to be able to share your words with others – especially parents of little ones. :)

  • JB Farrell

    As the father of 3 daughters it drives me nuts when people refer to how pretty they are…. My oldest is extremely intelligent, and can read people so well. My second is persistent and courageous…. Those are the things that will really make this world a better place… not fleeting beauty.

  • Dani Johnson

    This was amazing! Thank you so much for writing this!

  • Angela Mondor

    From a woman and mother of two beautiful girls. Thank you for your wonderful words!

  • Michelle

    Thank you for being a father to the fatherless. Young ladies need a father to help them understand what is true out in the real world and what true beauty is.

  • Estefania

    Lovely, lovely letter. When I
    read it, I thought this was something my father probably would have said to me,
    or at least forwarded on if he was around today (he died when I was a child,
    well before the age of the internet, and was also a psychologist). Thanks, Dr. Kelly!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Estefania, One of my favorite things about the response to this letter is hearing from many young women like yourself who have had fathers who would echo these words. It should give us all much hope! Thank you for sharing.

  • Amy Volk

    thank you for writing this. I have a 15 year old daughter and some days it feels like I’m doing battle to protect her from receiving these wrong messages. I wish I could attach a picture of a book at Books a Million on the teen table that I took this weekend. It’s from Seventeen magazine and titled Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Guys: What he really thinks about flirting, dating, relationships and you!
    My daughter and I laughed and said, “who cares what he really thinks!” and yet so many girls are searching for this confirmation. My heart breaks.

  • Ashley

    Wait. So if women remove their clothes and have sex they are sluts, but if men take off their clothes and have sex they are “players”. Shame on women! Just a thought, if men could be women, just for a temporary time, I bet you they would use their sex appeal to gain money and fame as well. Or free drinks.

    Women can do as they please, they are adults. They do not need to conform to any standard of beauty that is portrayed in the media or by conservatives/religious groups. If they decide to wear makeup that is their choice. If they decide not to that is also their choice.

    If you worry about your kids using the media as a moral compass, I would just get rid of the media. It’s not worth having them grow up with a sense of dysfunctional self-image and trying to please their peers all the time.

  • Breann

    Wow. Your words are not only beautiful, but also moving. You are such an inspiration and a guiding light for your children!

  • Jessica

    I would like to repost/share this article, but will not do so because of the picture at the top, which includes provocative pictures of females on the magazines. Is it possible to change your picture and still make the same points?

  • A Mom

    Thank you.

  • Tglidd

    I just read your letter to your daughter and it made me cry. My husband and I have a son (almost 10) and then 2 daughters (7 & 4) and we are forever telling, teaching and showing all of them what TRUE beauty is and explaining that it is not found on the outside. I won’t lie, our son is extremely handsome and and our daughters are breathtaking but we explain to them that their outside beauty can also harm them, just as it can do well for them. We teach them that NO ONE looks like the women on the magaxine covers, not even that woman. We teach them proper nutrition and at the same time teach them that having that piece of cake every once in a while will not hurt them. We of course want soooo much for our children, smarts, compassion, strength, beauty but most importantly we want happiness. I asked them what they want to be when they grow up and each of them told me a career they want, Dentist, gold madalist in halfpipe (yup, the Olympics is all that we’ve been watching), etc. So then I asked them to guess what I want them to be when they grow up and the careers changed, Dr, millionaire (not likely) etc, so I told them they all guessed wrong. I told them I want them to BE happy and then explained that what they want to DO and what they want to BE are 2 extremely different questions and answers. Anyways, now that I’ve talked yiur ear off, I just wanted to commend you for doing right by your Daughter and sooooo many other little girls out there. Maybe if we can get more parents to explain these things to their children, as you have to yours, maybe we can make a deafening change.

    Warm Regards-
    Tammy
    Tammy@newfoundme.com

  • mothertoo

    i am going to share this with all the other moms i know who have daughters.
    this is what we need to hear more.
    not more makeup and disney.

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  • ax
  • Jeanie Wright

    I set the example for my daughters. I am 56 and I refuse to become a part of the outer-beauty hype. I have wrinkles and blemishes, but they don’t matter. What matters is what a good mother I am, how devoted I am, my morals, my compassion, my gentle soul.

  • Kezzia

    I disagree with mom of girls not completely just in the way that I am not a mother just a daughter and I feel that it is more effective for the father to tell them this because most girls put themselves through all the makeup and dieting for boys so to hear your father or any man say that’s not what really makes you beautiful it has more of an effect. I do however think it is important for a mother to set the example but I feel as an 18 year old daughter that my father being the one to tell me this would be more effective. I loved the letter it made me feel a little better about myself however it’s a bit too late for me the insecurities have already been set deep inside me I rely on the makeup and weight loss in order to even feel a little good about myself. I wish I had a father like you my dad was always a little too much into body image he once told me I was revolting because I was a fat kid.

  • Aparna

    Wow! It is such a heart warming, strengthening post! Almost the most remarkable I have read in months! Thank you for posting.

  • Scott Vater

    I call B.S.! No way this dude wrote this entire thing in the makeup aisle of a Target. Not to mention, why was he in the makeup to begin with?! Like, WTF is going on here?!?! Does daddy have some secret he needs to tell mommy? LOL!

  • Sally

    Not just for little girls but for big girls too, i think…beautiful and tearful at the same time ..like the best things should be.

  • luba

    I applaud your letter to your daughter. I pray more fathers of daughters will take them to heart and practice. (Totally love Meg Meeker) But more importantly, I pray that parents, especially fathers, of young boys/men will start talking to their sons about the respect they need to show women. I’m so tired of hearing parents of young men say “Boys will be boys”, as an excuse about why their son behaves like they can’t have self-control. As a mother of 3 girls (26, 18, 16), I’ve made it a constant point of having them dress modestly, speak up on moral issues, keep good company, not date till college. I want my daughters to find men that not only have good character now, but they exhibited it when they were teens too. As the mother of 1 son (21), we raised him to respect women, to not see them as objects, to pray for his future spouse to have the same virtues as he does. Are my kids odd when compared to the norm? In many areas, yes. And that’s ok. But let’s hold both genders to higher standards.

  • Crystalynn

    Thank you, this brought me to tears because it’s exactly what I needed to hear. Such a lucky little lady you have to have a father like you! I never had a father and my mother never explained what ‘fake beauty’ was. I have come to learn that on my own with struggling with a eating disorder 12 years and hating myself. At 26 I am just starting to live and love my life and this life! So thank you for writing this. Even if it wasn’t for me it meant a lot to me…

  • Pranava

    Ahh such ‘beautiful’ words. More energy to you dear man:-)

  • Jackie

    Thank you so much. My tweenage daughter has just begun to pinch her thighs and call herself fat–despite my husband’s and my unwavering insistence on linking eating to health and beauty to strength and determination. I’ve printed out this blog entry and plan on showing it to her tonight. Maybe if we can muster up more voices with this message, she’ll listen more to us and less to the Industries of Female Shame.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Right on, Jackie. No matter what we say, there is no guarantee we can prevent them taking in different ideas and images. But abide with her through it. She’s lucky to have you.

  • kat

    For all you Women who think female nakedness in public is OK and covering up is oppressive – you need to stop living in your alternate universe and realize that Men and Women are very very different. Men are stimulated visually, women are not. My 33 year old son has told me many times that it’s almost impossible for him to be a “good guy” because there are so many visually stimulating images everywhere. I asked him how he dealt with it and he said the only way he could keep his mind from going there was by looking down all the time. Again…Women and Men are Very Very Different!!! When did our society decide that we weren’t and that women needed to act like men. I believe women today are ruining their own chances for a happy future. Men today can see and get all they want and need from women without any sacrifice on their part. Imagine what the world will be like in 10 or 20 years. Marriage…forget about it. Why would any man in his right mind get married if he can get everything he wants without having to make any sacrifices at all. I don’t think all men are nasty scum. God made them a certain way. I truly believe many men would like to be honorable but women today make it very difficult. If you don’t agree read “Every Mans Battle” and see how different we are. Personally I find that women that like to be as naked as possible are women with really good figures and want to show them off. Thanks for the solidarity with your sisters. NOT!

    • E

      So, basically your son “can’t be a good guy because everyone else is doing it wrong”. Sounds like a crutch to me, one that you are enabling. Interesting too, that the men around me (boyfriend, friends, uncles) don’t have that problem… but I guess they all come from very open-minded backgrounds, so that might be the difference.

  • kat

    Mimi are you a stripper. You sound like one.

  • a daughter

    Thanks for reminding me what my Dad would’ve said if he was alive. Brought me tears of joy. Best wishes.

  • MaryAnn

    As an older mother of a daughter with Down syndrome I am always telling her how beautiful she is because of her electric personality. She is short, a little on the heavy side and has beautiful brown eyes but what makes her so attractive is the fact that she compliments everybody no matter what the color of their skin, their nationality, what kind of clothes they have on, etc. I cannot tell you enough how many times she has changed the way I look at things and of course my priorities. She has wonderful manners, is kind and so compassionate to others. That is what I call beauty and I have often said that “if everyone in this world had a touch of Down syndrome” it would be an entirely different world. Thank you, Kelly for showing us “real” beauty.!

  • PlacidAir MoonBat

    My Mother used to say “I need to put my face on” when she was about to apply her makeup before leaving the house — as if without it she was faceless…. it always freaked me out.

  • ak

    Thank you!!!! Words really do have the power of life and death. Thank you for words that edify and build up instead of tearing down confidence.

  • a lady

    While I like the sentiment of the article, what bothers me is that it seems to be an epiphany reserved for fatherhood – a dad writing to his little girl about the things he’s finally realizing affect women. But what about all the other women in your life up until your daughter? Did you ever think your wife or sister or mother feel the same way as your daughter will eventually feel?

    And even more than that – while you might tell your daughter these things – how often will you compliment females who are wearing makeup on how they look. How often will other people make comments about how pretty models and movie stars look? It’s not just about how you treat your daughters, it’s about how you treat all women. Because your daughter’s going to see that too.

    • drkellyflanagan

      A very good observation. Thank you for this. Next week’s blog post will focus specifically on it.

  • Todd Sierfeld

    How bout we just lock our daughters in the closet so no harm comes of them.Does a father really need to say this to his child.Are we raising milk injected calves that,cannot stand on there own or figure out what is within them,and learn from there trials and tribulations. Keep “montering” everything,and soon we will become a communist country or another Third Reich

  • Nicole

    Thank you. Thank you for writing this. I am so thankful that my daughter has a father who speaks similar words into her life.

  • Zehan

    I am going to save this for my daughter one day. Much love Dr Flanagan, thank you for this truly beautiful and sincere post.

  • Father Too

    Check out DISCOVERY GIRLS Magazine. It promotes and instills the correct and most important attributes a young should know when growing up into a young women. Fantastic positive magazine!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Will do, thanks for the recommendation!

  • STYLE DELIGHTS

    Great letter!! I certainly agree that emphasis should be on being beautiful on the inside, but no harm if a woman wants to put make up on if the skin is blemished or put a anti frizz serum if her hair gets too wavy, or put some lipgloss on to feel pretty even on the outside. I grew up without any makeup, my mother never wore any make up or put hair care products in her naturally healthy hair, but I grew up to be an adult who loves ‘putting on a face’, wearing stylish clothes and style hair after every wash. But that does not mean I grew up to be fickle or I am doing it because a company is telling me to (although the words do have power and it is very easy to get on to the slippery slope) I can safely say that interest in make up or beauty products could be dangerous to the self-esteem or it could be harmlessly as superficial as someone putting on a pretty console with a flower vase at the entry of the house (which might be a great home with or without the pretty vase) , putting wreaths on the door to make it extra preppy every season(even though their family is happy every day to be together), or typing your resume in ‘good’ fonts so employer can see what’s that you offer ( even if you have all the skills needed to get the job). Although, I again agree, doing all we do to look beautiful from the outside, it is STILL THE INSIDE that matters. But sometimes we want to wrap a brilliant present in an equally brilliant paper. Now, finding the balance between the inner beauty and outer beauty is key and I THANK MY MOM every single day to teach me never to lose perspective of beauty.
    I really loved ur words, and I agree that our daughters need to be told the truth about the beauty industry game!

    • drkellyflanagan

      This is an excellent point, and something I’m going to address in a blog post a week from this Wednesday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Marisa

    If only we could all see each other as someone’s son or daughter, first, rather than what someone represents, can offer us etc. And, that worth begins and ends with the person – not what we need (to have/be). My daughter is 5 and we already struggle to work against the lies she has been told, and sadly believes, in order for her to ‘be’ something.

  • Tracy

    And each and every man. You, Kelly Flanagan are a great example of that change for men. Thank you!

  • Tracy

    To those of you who take issue with the ‘keep your clothes on’ thing. Really? He’s not allowed to be her father? He’s not allowed to hope she keeps her clothes on and not use her body to establish her self worth? Yes, his little baby girl has a right to her own choices, but he has a right to want to protect her from the world that ‘wants her to take off her clothes’.

  • disqus_uUkGvWxIg5

    Amazing and so refreshing to hear especially from a father its so important for a lil girl to hear these things especially from her father. I congratulate you for looking into the deeper meaning and recognizing the impact it has on our little girls sad to think what society has trained the majority to believe what is important and what is” important” One thing that sadens me is my little girl is amazing, beautiful inside and out strong, courageous and so much more and her father can’t even find the time to visit her …call her… etc etc only every few months does he reach out to visit or call and she might not ever have a “FATHER” that will tell her these things that you are saying and even though i do daily its just not the same as her “father” I applaud you for your words& thoughts!

  • Anu

    Awesome post.. Well Said.. Kudos

  • Lisa

    Clothing is even worse for young girls. . . “Too pretty to do homework . . .”. “Shopping, makeup and the mall. . . . “Look at this!” And the baby shirt that reads “Don’t feed the model.”. My daughter has a shirt from Wear Hope Clothing that says “True beauty is on the inside.”. Clothes that don’t have inappropriate comments, aren’t too short or exposing, or made of fabric that was never meant for play – challenging!

  • skwirrell

    Thank you so much. I wish this had been around years ago when my girl was as young as yours. But tonight I will share your message with her in the hope that she can still take it on board. Your words made me cry with their truth. Thank you

    • drkellyflanagan

      One thing I’ve learned in my role as a therapist is that it’s truly never too late. I hope she can hear the truth about who she is.

  • Robert

    You posts about the marketing of make-up and show a picture of magazines? Plus, three of those magazines are actually teaching fitness not how to cover yourself up.
    Secondly, as you are someone in the medical field who has to go by BMI and make people healthy and fit feel fat. Could you write about that.

  • Nadine

    Your words really moved me. Many thanks for sharing. I wish all you all the luck and joy and in the world and look after your daughter. Let her know what a great dad she has.

  • Cindy

    While reading this article I imagined my father telling me these things and it really made an impact in my heart. As a woman I have little confidence in myself because I feel the need to become what the world dictates as beautiful. As a late adolescent this was such a meaningful read. After reading this I have gained confidence in myself and in my own beauty. Thank you for this wonderful and much appreciated insight.

  • Mom of 4

    I agree with most of what you have said with the exception that you chose a magazine that’s focus is on living a healthy (exercise) and clean eating lifestyle. One that believes women should have curves, but those curves should be through exercise and good foods. It isn’t the magazine’s fault that the grocery store put their health & fitness magazine on the make up aisle instead of right next to Men’s Health magazine. Now people who read your blog may never pick up this magazine. I have that issue and it’s cover has nothing on it that would be harmful to a women or a girl growing into a women. It has things like, “4 Quick & Healthy Holiday Meals”, 2 X Olympia Champion shares her upper body workout”, “30 minute yoga routine for athletes”. Not a mention of make-up, or naked, or age defying, etc. anywhere on their cover.

    • drkellyflanagan

      My concern with those magazines is that, even though the messages inside are healthy, they still Photoshop the models on the cover, making them a literally unattainable ideal for any young woman.

      • Mom of 4

        Actually the magazIne I am referring to does not use PhotoShop for their covers. They are very proud of that fact and have published many articles and comments about it. I agree with your message. I think our society creates unreasonable goals for women (young and old). I just think before we post a picture of a magazine like this, a bit of research is needed. People tend to remember what they see and a tag line long after they forget the actual article. So people will associate that magazine with an unhealthy portrayal of women when their message is anything but. One of the things I like about that magazine is a section in every issue that shows (submitted pics) women of all ages who have achieved their fitness goals, along with their stats (age, profession, etc.), what work went into getting there, and a memorable moment for them. This section shows that every woman can be fit and healthy.

        • drkellyflanagan

          I stand corrected and I’m heartened to hear that! I love it when my faith in humanity is bolstered even further. : ) Thanks for challenging me on it!

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  • Theresa Kipper Hall

    What a beautiful letter to your daughter! I lost my father when I was 14 and after his death my mom sort of checked out. My self-image was influenced by these kinds of magazines and of course I never measured up. Over the years I have come to realize that my self-image is rooted in who I am in God and that is who I go to when I feel myself comparing myself to the seemingly flawless aging women of my age. Thankfully I have a husband who loves me just the way I am and we have a beautiful daughter who definitely knows who she is but as with all teenagers can get preoccupied with her looks. She is 18 and a Senior in high school. I will be working on her high school memory book soon and I would like to ask permission to use the descriptions in this book?

    • drkellyflanagan

      Please feel free to use the words, Theresa. Thanks for asking permission, and if there is any way to cite them within the project, that would be great!

  • KRae

    Good stuff! I actually just finished blogging about this from a woman’s perspective. http://lightheartedliving.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/here-we-go/

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yours is good stuff, too, thanks for sharing!

  • Kim

    Thanks Dad. My dad may not have written this, but he and my mother instilled in me good values, morals and a
    strong sense of self. We need more parents like this in the world, not only for our daughters, but our sons.

  • love my sweetie

    Absolutely beautiful! Have always felt this way and try to tell my daughter the same, but this was articulated so perfectly I had to bookmark for future reference!

  • Betsy Agar

    Thank you for re-writing those words as empowering and truthful.

  • Brian

    Found this today, the day before Valentine’s, on a friends FB page. It has inspired me to write a letter/ Valentine’s note to my 11 1/2 year old, sixth grade daughter. She is my oldest of my 3 daughters (9 and 8) and my new stepson who is almost 8. This post reminded me to tell her first, how much I love her, second, how much the world is about to bombard her with what it deems as “perfection”, but most importantly how much I need to make sure my daughter knows how beautiful I, as her dad, think she is on the inside and outside BEFORE the boys and the world get to. It’s never too late or too early for her to know how much I love her, as she is no longer my “little girl” but now my “little lady”. I’m reminded I don’t have much time to come along side of my daughters and my stepson, to help build an inner character within my that may provide just a bit of protection against “the world” and its expectations. Their faith and character will ground them at times, but they will have to choose which voice to listen to. I am going to give it all I can for it to be my voice, and not everyone and everything else’s!!!

    Thanks Dr. Flanagan!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Brian, I’m so glad the letter could inspire you to be intentional in that way. Your children are lucky to have a father who is thinking about them so deliberately. My best to you and yours!

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  • Stacey B.

    Beautifully written. And thank you. Let’s also remember that many fathers and grandfathers, like my own, shared their passions with me. I love watching football – LOVE IT. My life partner is the first man that ever shared this with me (and he is an artist and snowboarder – and we do yoga together at least 4 times per week). I’m 42 and have had supportive, nurturing male figures in my life that loved sports, and cars, and building stuff, and included me in all of it. My mother recalls being 5 years old ripping shingles off the roof with my pop pop (to the horror of my mum-mum) because she interested and willing and able to help. My mother required me to know how to change a tire, change the oil and identify things like the starter under the hood (“sometimes if it won’t start just whack it with a broom handle”). I did dance and gymnastics and a little cheerleading but was eventually the lead snare drum/ drum captain in the marching band. Usually (in 1989) a position held by a boy. (The other drum captain was a gal as well.) Styles and likes can blend but the true story is what was written above – the brightest diamonds shine from within. When dad’s show you that you are valued – just the way you are – you can shine brightly.

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  • Part-Time Jedi

    Please, don’t just tell this to your daughter. Make sure you tell this to your wife, too.

  • Rachel Simmons

    Absolutely wonderful. Fathers have a unique opportunity to show their daughters what real love looks like, and to affect the way in which she navigates the world. You are doing a fantastic job providing your child with a sense of what really matters.. I am extremely moved by this and will be presenting it to my Women’s Studies 100 class at Allegheny College!
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful letter.
    -Rachel

    • drkellyflanagan

      Rachel, please give my best to the men and women in your class at Allegheny!

  • ann

    I’m 26 years old and I grew up without that father figure in my life and a mother who I love with all my heart, but she focuses on the way she looks because she’s not happy with it. So I grew up focusing on the way I look. When I read that letter to your little girl, I felt as if you were speaking to me and I have to say it really meant a lot. And I want to say thank you for writing that letter to your daughter and letting her know that what’s on the inside is what really counts.

  • Melissa

    Beautiful letter and I wish every dad and mom encouraged and supported their daughters (and sons for that matter) in this way. I have a five year old daughter and hope to instill the same values and self-respect, and love for herself that you are talking about. Thank you for sharing!

  • PS Edwards

    I really love the letter to your little girl. I would like to ask your permission to do a wall hanging for my nieces and or granddaughters should I have any. I will not sell anything I create, only give as gifts to family and friends.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Please feel free to give the words as a gift. I’d be honored.

  • Helen Gray

    Wow! I read this with tears in my eyes. What a great lesson you are teaching your daughter. My mum raised me saying, “Beauty is within” which is undeniably true. Thank you for sharing this lesson. God Bless.

  • Robin

    beautiful — I hope you dont mind if I borrow what you said to pass to my daughter

    • drkellyflanagan

      Of course not, Robin. Let your little one know how beautiful she is!

  • Robin

    so many comments about taking the clothes off and putting too much into it. I get it as a parent.

  • Melanie

    Unbelievable…I cannot remember the last time I read something that moved me as much as this post has. I have a 14 yr old daughter and I identify with her trying to fit in just starting highschool. We are all unique, that’s what makes us special but at that age, they all try to blend in to be the same. Thank you for writing this:) You are a beautiful writer.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Melanie. My best to you and your daughter.

  • Moks

    i was 4yrs old when the most beautiful woman in the world stood at our door. her hair was done, her face was colorful, her nails were red, ear rings, rings, bracelets, long flowing dress. i just stared up at her beauty. then her husband joined her. he was very handsome. and it dawned on me that his beauty was as a shave and a shower. his beauty was real and hers took hours to bring about. that’s how i found out i had more interest in men than women. all thanks to make-up. and now that i’m in my sixtys i feel that make-up make women second class…because they seem to not want to go outside without their ‘face.’ if women put half of the money they put into make-up into women’s issues they would be better off. money into women’s issues is real power and money spent on makeup is a waste. also, i’ve heard women ask another woman (about her new male friend) ‘has he seen you without your makeup yet?’ that sounds like a kick to the balls to me.

    • moka

      p.s. also, there are women who have their lips fatten, their breasts enlarged, and their rears made bigger, and their lady parts tightened. if one believed in God then this might be a good way of stating that you weren’t pleased with His gifts. (if one believes) this also goes for men. so lets not be jealous of youth – it’s only a passing phase. time for me to shut-up.

  • Tiffany Dawn

    Wow. Wow. I love this! How I wish every young woman had a father who would share these things with her as she grows up!

  • Eric M. Nestor

    Very well written and inspirational.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Eric!

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  • dawn

    Thank you for this wonderful letter! I pray that more mothers and fathers will try to instill these powerful lessons to their daughters. Hopefully, sons will be taught what is important in young ladies also.

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  • Kelsey

    I loved this article. While a lot of people seem to not like the Naked section of this, that was one of my favorites… “The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on.” seemed more to me to explain the fact that as women in this particular society, we feel pressure (and men feel it too, I’m sure) to have a physically attractive body and to show it off. The fact/problem that our society values the outer appearance so much is what this line said to me. That to gain value in this world, we shouldn’t need to show off our physical body, regardless of whether we want to wear little clothes or a lot of them. How much/what type of clothing we’re wearing shouldn’t be the defining factor in our value as a person in general, but in our society today, it can be. And the media definitely does a great job of showcasing people with physically attractive bodies, who felt the pressure to show/wanted to willing. Whether or not we want to take our clothes off is not the issue, the fact that our society puts so much value on physical appearance is the issue.
    Moving along. Loved the line following, “But take your gloves off. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches…Say what is in your heart…Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly.” Loved the change in what the word “naked” means at the end. To be naked of fear and totally vulnerable. To not see nakedness as a physical amount of clothing but a feeling of being totally open to embrace and love.

    Another favorite part of this, “May your strength be not in your fingernails, but in your heart.” so simply and perfectly put.
    I’ll refrain from quoting the rest of the article, loved it all. Good work.

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  • Maria

    Very touching words! I would have needed it years ago ;) anyway, better late than never.
    Your daughter is a happy girl to have a father telling her these words! I shared it on fb, hope many of my friends will read it!
    God bless you!
    Kind regards!
    Maria

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  • Courtney (Fassler) Walsh

    I wrote something kind of similar for my son after having a very similar reaction to all the magazines. I’m not a boy, but seeing all those magazines (the same ones you’ve posted) on display at the grocery store–I have to wonder how it shapes his view of women. How does that change or alter his perception of what a woman should be? How does it tell him to treat women? Bothers me a lot, actually. Loved this, Kelly! You’ve come a long way since high school. ;)

    • drkellyflanagan

      Hi Courtney! I think the last time we had a substantial conversation was in high school and I was losing money at your house in a card game. : ) It’s good to reconnect with you here. And I agree with you, those images are affecting our boys, as well. I work with many young men who have had their minds trained to look for a certain kind of body and have difficult being interested in anything else. It is a very difficult situation to reverse. By the way, your writing and the success of your Sweethaven series are a constant inspiration to me that a kid from Dixon can get his/her words out there. So, thank you!

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  • Good For You Girls

    Dr Flanagan, At first glance you may think it strange I would comment, but I absolutely loved this message to your daughter. I am the mother of two girls, and there is nothing more powerful than the love of a parent which is why I started my company. You see, I recognized that girls were entering puberty much younger than ever and while I certainly can’t stop the hands of time, I do my best to slow things down. Being in the natural industry I recognized that chemicals do effect girls hormone development during puberty. There were no products I felt were natural, effective or age appropriate for girls. You are absolutely right with the criticism towards marketers and their messages. Girls do pick up on them. We need to realize as parents that the conversation needs to start earlier and more often then we think. We must never underestimate our role in creating strong, healthy, and secure young women. Respectfully, Kim

  • Karyn

    I can only wish my father had said some of these words when, at about age 5, I asked my father if I was pretty. He said only, ‘it doesn’t matter what’s on he outside. Only what’s in here.’ He was tapping his head when he said ‘in here’. I knew immediately that he meant I was not pretty and have felt ugly since that day a very long time ago. Fathers’ words have power

  • Jesno Werus

    Yes! Dear Dr. Kelly Flanagan, very good!
    To get more, you may try to transform the “not´s” and “but´s” into more positives. WE Thank you for remember US (JesSiNO), what WE get trough US and|or out of US. Jessica & Norman, Berlin, Germany

  • Lisa

    What an amazing dad – and man. And how blessed your daughter is to have you for a daddy. God bless you. And may He protect your precious daughter’s heart from all the messages the world will send her way. Thank you so much for sharing this. I mentor a group of 15 yr old girls and will definitely share it with them. Beautiful.

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  • Robert

    Der Wert eines Menschen, hängt nicht von seinem Gewicht und Aussehen ab. Dies ist nur eine Hülle die wir verlieren werden. Wir alle sind einzigartig und von Gott geliebt. Es gibt alte, vom Leben gezeichnete Menschen , die von innen her
    eine Ausstrahlung haben, die manche auf hochglanz gedruckten Beauties nie erreichen werden. Was ist wohl das Geheimis?

  • Elizabeth

    I whole heartedley agree with your message and with less aplumb I believe we were successfully with our now twenty- something daughter. Critical thinking of how the marketing world targets our self worry, need to belong and drive for acceptance is a foundation to valueing your essence and acknowledging your spirit. All children are self content, sponges for information. When we as parents can also model belief in ourselves, with only a reasonable regard for what others perceive, we are encouraging our children (boys too as there is more of this sort of marketing being aimed at them now) to have self esteem and a gentle confidence in who they are and naturally still have self acceptance. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with those of us out here in the web world

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  • Courtney

    I’m not so sure why… but this post has brought some tears to my eyes, good tears, ones I don’t mind crying.

    I am sixteen and I live in a world that does not see me. They see my face and make assumptions of who I am based on how I wear my hair, where I buy my clothes, the height of my heels and how many layers of makeup I pile onto my face every morning. Each day, I wake up and look in the mirror. For a brief moment, I can see what they see: a teenager girl with a beautiful face, flawless grades and the quiet, polite attitude of a model student.

    But then I see my hair in a mess, my eyes blurry with sleep and taste the hideousness that is my morning breath. And I, essentially, see who I really am: just a sixteen year old girl with a desire to know her destiny, a wish to change the future of children like her and the weight of a world too cold for her. In those moments, I can see the dried tracks of every tear I have ever cried, hear the screams I wish to shout of mountain tops and I can taste the blood for every time I have bitten my tongue and stopped myself from saying anything.

    Looking at the world around me, I can never understand what they are trying to tell me and I never know what to believe: magazines encouraging the “beautification” of the world, or those that gripe of the ugliness that hides behind a beautiful face. From my perspective… I am lost, drowning in a world that refuses to hold out a helping hand. I sometimes feel that those who see my face will never see the true depth of the pain inside. I do suffer from anxiety and I do suffer from depression and rage and fatigue and joint pain and there are many others that I can list. But no one sees it. No one sees the severity of it. The world has blinded itself with certain prejudices of those who are… outwardly perfect, for there is no such thing as perfection, and I simply hide the imperfections inside.

    Maybe I assist in the misjudgment of myself, but I do not know. I like dressing nicely and wearing heels and I do like looking in the mirror and seeing a smile that can light up a room. But sometimes I just wish… someone would actually listen when I said something. Stop being so… so, so starstruck and just look at me. Strip down the image that blinds them and just look at me.

    I do not mean to be pessimistic or narcissistic or to moan over my life, for there are people close to me that can see past my appearance, but there are so many others out there that just brush me off when I do find myself in need of help. There are more situations than I can count where I have found myself in a fit of depression and wanting to rip my eyes from my face — to erase everything that they see of me. So many moments in my life that I have wanted to scar my face, and hide under a plastic bag for the rest of my life. There are even more times where I wish I hadn’t inherited my father’s hair, my mother’s lips, my father’s nose, his eyes, her eyebrows, his body stature and her height.

    Sometimes… I just wish the outside could portray how broken I can be on the inside. Maybe that is a selfish wish, but I cannot help but still wish it from time to time.

    Maybe if my father had said something like this to me, or maybe if my father was in my life at all, just maybe I wouldn’t feel so hopelessly lost. Or feel like such a burden to my mother for she is truly the sweetest and the best thing that could have ever happened to me. But I suppose I will never know, for he and I, we will always be uncomfortable within each other’s presence.

    Just maybe… maybe I wouldn’t feel this way, if he had been a father to me.

    • chenelope

      It goes without saying, the answer to life’s dilemmas, or any guidance at all, won’t be found in magazines

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  • JD

    Thank you for this. Not all of us were blessed enough to have a dad that cared that much. And it’s never too late for us to hear those words of encouragement.
    God bless.

  • Mary-Kay Roberts

    Absolutely one of the most moving words I have ever read. I literally teared up as I read it because you are absolutely right. Its sad to grow up in a world that cares more about outer “beauty” than inner beauty. Women are too pressured to look unhealthily thin, make-up plastered to their face, and to act a certain way to be attractive to others. Of course, I wear make up and I dye my hair but not because I’m trying to have society to accept me but because I like those things. My mother always taught me to have self-respect and to always love what I do despite how others feel. Society is too used to seeing women as sexual objects rather than people and it puts all of us down. My generation thinks it’s alright to take off your clothes for attention and it absolutely is not. Young girls around the world should see this because this is a truly amazing letter. Very inspiring, thank you.

  • Rodzilla

    How do we go about giving this message to every female on the planet? Actually, men might benefit from it more than women. Society’s opinion of how women should look, and act, is ruining a lot of good people. Photoshopping pictures in magazines, for example, is setting unattainable standards, and making so many girls feel as if they will never be attractive enough.

  • Jodi

    Thank you for TRULY loving your daughter! I wish more men felt this way.

  • suespen2paper

    Thank you! That message needs to go world wide, especially to Hollywood.

  • Wolfgang Gnagflow

    I agree with you 100%…..great post

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  • anonymous

    Thank you. I heard the voice of my deceased father reading this letter to me. i am 59 and needed to hear this. :’)

    • drkellyflanagan

      We’re never too young or too old to hear about our worth, are we? I’m glad these words evoked the memory of your father.

  • MacNomadic

    Yes. That is awesome. I have battled this culture all of my life because of this issue. I can’t believe what is expected of me as a woman in this culture that I’ve grown up in. I can’t believe that all this crap has been created all around me and worse that the majority of other women around me seem to support it as if they have no other choice. I will never ever defend my actions of the past. The times I opted out of fun events because I felt ‘bloated’ or the money I’ve spent on ridiculous products that have promises that are simply stupid. Natural Beauty? I already have that.

    The bottom line for me is I feel abused when I walk into a mall that has La Senza and Victoria Secret displays that are simply borderline porn. I feel abused not by men but by other women that promote this stuff. It is abuse to flash these overly sexualized images of women all over the place, it’s not just the words, it’s the images. You can’t unsee that stuff and it’s all right there whether you want it or not.

    So good on you Dad – you are a real person that cares about other people and you’ve shown some insight into this debilitating issue for all people.

    To other dads that aren’t sure about this – make up and beauty issues aren’t a ‘female thing’, most of us don’t even know what we are doing. We are just born into this culture and are seeking approval. Encourage your daughters and sons to be more that all of this. Dads, we need you. They need you.

    Not all of us women are taking repeated trips down the cosmetics or so called beauty isle. As I see it, these products are not only a cruel joke on self image for women and men but they are cruel to the planet as well with all the palm oils and animal testing. Who needs it? Not me. God help us, I encourage all fathers to stand up for the power and strengths in their daughters that goes beyond physical images.

    But you know what would be even more (or at least just as) effective? Having mothers truly encourage this strength and independence in their daughters, sons, nieces and nephews and never, ever to blame men for these choices that women have been making in this culture — We do it to ourselves, we do, and that what really hurts.

  • Jae

    Thank you, thank you, thank you <3

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  • Kit

    …He didn’t realize that females are “just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man” until he had a daughter? What did he think women were all the rest of those years before that? What did he think about his wife? His patients?

    This is a cute story with lots of nice buzz words about rejecting superficial standards of beauty promoted by the media, but are we really applauding a dude who apparently went most of his life without realizing women were people, too?

    Sometimes I like to try a little exercise where I switch out “male” and “female” with “white” and “black” and see how offensive it sounds that way. Let’s try it here: “When you adopt a black child you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house—a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any white person.” Golly gee, who’d have thunk it before then?!

  • Marisol

    Amazing, intuitive, inspiring words. And Johnny is correct, this is about men too. Important for everyone to focus on those three words, “On the inside.” Beautiful article – your love for your daughter is tangible through your words…brings tears to my eyes. Thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Agreed. For men, too!

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  • ClaudiaPutnam

    I think when you say “most people won’t see her this way,” you mean “most men.” See how you are?

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  • watshipi

    I read this article a few days ago and all I can say is thank you. You are a great father and man relevant in the times we live in.

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  • I have to disagree.

    Ehhhhhhh “Brilliant strength” strengthens your fingernails so they don’t break so easily. Strong nails are a sign of internal health. All the “naked” foundations are named as such because they look natural. The foundations look like you aren’t wearing anything on your skin. Naked skin. The shadows are neutral colors, meant to look… wait for it… natural. People that love makeup realize that that is skin deep. We love makeup because it’s fun. Ask a man how he prefers a woman to look- generally, they prefer a very small amount of makeup. Now look at girls that love makeup. We love color and liner and lashes and outrageous nails because it’s FUN. We wear makeup for us. Any woman that’s worn red lipstick even though all she’s doing is vacuuming the living room and watching Netflix will tell you: we don’t care what anyone thinks of how we choose to decorate our faces. This is our art. This is our creative outlet. Stop putting meaning into something that isn’t there. (For the record, my mother is a tomboy and has worn makeup twice in her entire life- once was her wedding day.)

    • drkellyflanagan

      I think you’ll like this coming Wednesday’s post. : )

  • MJL

    Dr. Kelly,
    I hope you can make it another 5 years. My kids did not want to wait until they were 9. Society did not want to let them. Its a constant struggle — trying to figure out when to intervene and when to allow them to explore and express themselves.

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  • lisaspeaces

    Thank you for writing this, since I was four years old I have grown up without a father in our home. I can’t begin to describe the sacrifices and unconditional love my mother showed my sister and I. But, hearing these words from a father are so moving. I was brought to tears by the truths you have written here. Again, thank you.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Lisa!

  • Christy Cahill

    I wish I would have had a father who would give me this kind of advice rather than using me as his sexual play toy and anger outlet. Being molested and abused by him left some lasting impressions that carried on to later years. I watched my mom go through several abusive relationships, with the men abusing both me and her. I ended up feeling distrust toward the male gender for some time and it has taken me years to make the progress I have made. I am fixing to graduate with my Associates in May, and I have a wonderful boyfriend who is a gentleman, loving, and takes good care of me and is always there for me. I also have several guy friends that I am close to, and I no longer feel distrust for the male gender and can actually relax around guys without worrying about being abused. Every woman should be able to feel confident about herself without worrying about what society thinks of them.

  • lcamper522

    Thank you for the kind reminder. I am 43 and still struggle with self-esteem. My dad died when I was 5 and I never had the daddy to remind me that I was worthy! You have touched my heart, and hopefully those of countless other women. I recently remarried and my new husband shows me daily that he loves me for who I am. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to understand that I have much to offer the world! Keep up the good work, daddy! Your daughter is one lucky lady!

  • Anya Cordell

    Wonderful post! Just perfect. Your daughters are lucky! I’m going to look deeper into your blog. I’ve worked on such issues long and hard. (See http:www/Appearance-ism.com) I’m presenting 2 programs related to this in Miami on March 1st at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science there, for everyone “who lives in a body” Please come, if you’re in the area or share the info. https://www.facebook.com/events/227192254136671/ Anya Cordell, Recipient, Spirit of Anne Frank Award

  • Rebecca

    I can’t tell how much your words moved me and how much I agree. Thanks for this really BEAUTIFUL letter!

    “The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on.”

    – So true! I recently asked a photographer to take some close-up pictures of my face, all natural and very expressive. I wanted pictures that would give a hint at my personality. I had seen awesome examples in his portfolio so I asked him. He answered by sending me some other photos as way of example and told me he would rather like to take pictures of me similar to those. Well… they were images of a topless woman with her long hair covering her breasts and most of her face. This was so devastating, I admit I cried about it.

    Girls and women, keep your clothes on! Keep in mind that what matters about you is in your eyes, in your smile, in the words you say, and in the things you do.

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  • Monica

    Thank you for posting this. It brought me to tears. My dad would have never told me to keep my clothes on…I thought it was normal for dads to be creepy. I am finding that it isn’t and I’m grieving that.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Grief is the right word for that, Monica. And the last stage of grief is acceptance and peace. May you find peace.

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  • CuriousPerson

    Excellent post, thank you. I especially love the end. I have a question though. You want her to fearfully live out her brilliant strength?

    • drkellyflanagan

      It’s a great question. I had another word in there, but it didn’t seem realistic. In my experience, living out our strengths takes us into new, unknown, risky territory. I wanted it to be an encouragement to live into fear, rather than running away from it.

      • CuriousPerson

        I figured that must be the case… Fear is inevitable in my opinion and all we can do is live it like you said. Thanks for the quick and honest reply.

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  • crysta

    That is a beautiful letter. I am saving it to read to my daughter who will arrive in June.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Congratulations on your upcoming arrival, Crysta!

  • artsgirl

    Amen, I wish all Dads/Fathers were like you, good thing I have my father in Heaven

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  • Barbie Bieber Beyond

    I absolutely loved this!!! I run a blog called Barbie Bieber and Beyond – Raising Girls and I would love to mention this post on my blog, with full credit and link back to yourself. I think my readers would love it too. I saw it through IVillage Australia and was wondering if you give permission for me to share the post and pictures. Again very well written, thank you http://www.barbiebieberandbeyond.com/

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yes, indeed, please feel free!

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  • Unsung lilly

    Amazing post – thank you for this!! We wish more parents felt the same – sadly a lot are battling with these issues just as much as their future children will be! Def time to make a change! We have just launched a campaign on the same sort of lines…would love if you can check it out and share etc? The address is http://www.JustBeCampaign.com

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  • Kelley B

    Thank you for giving me a reference to use during my conversations with my daughters. I think you just created your legacy! God bless you.

  • rebecca

    that is very sweet! thank you

  • Sins-Yu-Ahl Angel

    I just saw this on the Today Show. AWESOME! I have a son who has 4 Daughters and think your letter to your Daughter could be a wonderful way to help him see his importance in their lives! What a great foundation for Daughters & Fathers alike to build upon. After raising 3 boys and watching the changes within our young ladies, have been truly glad 2 of my sons (the 3rd hasn’t found his mate) picked young ladies with morals and are similar to myself in using little make-up when they do wear it. I have never been one to wear much make-up as I am a What You See Is What You Get person. I feel for the women who are so dissatisfied they feel they must completely change their looks…and the men who wake up one day realizing they truly don’t know this woman who has been hidden behind extensions, fake nails & lashes, padding, etc. I have seen women I did not recognize at all when I caught them without their “Make-up”…Sad.
    You have done a wonderful job in summing up the unimportance of superficial outer-trappings and calling attention to the importance of the inner Soul! Well Done!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Glad you found us through the TODAY Show. Welcome!

  • Deborah

    When you were on the Today show you mention another person who contributed to your thoughts. Who was that man? I would like to look him up and read how writings also. Thank you. My dad passed 29+ years ago and I never felt the beauty you expressed not because my dad did not feel it, I think that in his time he had trouble expressing it. Too bad, we have learned so much since then. I am 64 now and wish I could go back just a little with my only son.

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  • GrammyCarol

    Dr. Flanagan, thank you so much for your beautiful letter to your daughter, I am now a grown woman with children and grandchildren, but my father’s words to me as a child have unfortunately stuck with me throughout my life – words like, you’re “ugly”, “fat”, “slow-poke” and “stupid”; because if your father doesn’t think you’re beautiful, whether you really are or not, how can you have a good self-image and be happy in your own skin? I realize my father thought he was being funny, or at least I hope so, he’s been gone a very long time now, but his words I remember as if it was yesterday. All fathers should know what a high impact their words and their actions take on their daughters and I truly praise you and thank you for being so thoughtful and earnest – your daughter is sure to grow into a “beautiful”, self confident person. I’ve done my best to relay to my daughter and granddaughters that beauty in innermost and if you are beautiful inside, it shines out for all to see – thank you again, Carol

  • Jenny

    It makes me sad when I see my friends and family post pictures of thier little girls that always seem to be about how cute and beautiful they are, how they are perfect little princesses. Not all parents do this, but many do. It brings me joy when I see my firends and family post pictures or stories of their little girls exploring science, or math, or building, or singing the alphabet at 2. I want parents to know that kids learn what is important from what they show them they care about. If a parent is quick to snap pics of their girls in princess gear and dressing up, but fails to make a fuss over digging in the dirt, and learning about math and science, I fear those girls will always define their worth by their looks first and foremost. An interest in makeup, handbags, clothes, and being a princess is not something that needs to be encouraged to happen. It is a force that bombards these girls every day as you point out in the letter. It is important to counteract that not encourage it. I am not saying don’t let them explore those things, just saying that it need not require extra encouragement. Save the praise for things that matter, not makeup and external beauty. You nailed this daddy!

  • Marybeth Little

    Hi, Kelly: I heard you say on your Today Show interview that you were “channeling an author named Henry Nolan” regarding your thoughts about one’s “passing being a gift.” Cha you tell me how to go about finding more of Henry Nolan’s writings?

  • Reba Fritz

    I think you need to write that letter to fellow males, not to your daughter. She sounds like she has decent parents and, thus, already knows or will learn all of what you wrote, trust me. The battle is not with her own perceptions of what and how she should be, but with trying to fit with the concept of “what men want.” Girls don’t wear make up to be desirable to themselves or other girls…

  • Wendy

    I read your letter and I wonder how different my life would have been had my dad said those things to me..I am 50 years old and I am constantly thinking about my weight and how I look, I wonder if people judge me more on the way I look than on my personality, humor and my heart. I have been told that if people do judge me on how I look I have absolutely nothing to worry about but that is really not the point..the most important man (my dad) in my life never told me I was pretty or smart or funny, but he did comment on my weight one time and I will never forget it. He is gone now, he died two years ago of a massive heart attack, very sudden. I am so tired of getting up, showering, putting on make-up and lip stick which I hate but I have to because I have a job that requires I look a certain way. I wish I could get up and shower, brush my hair and my teeth and put on jeans and work boots and go. Just be me, natural, and comfortable and for once in my life not care what other people think about my appearance. Thank you for writing this letter, it is not only going to help your daughter but it will help alot of other women as well.

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  • Molly

    Thank you.

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  • DJ

    Thank-you! I love this! Very touching. I wished my father write something like this for me.

  • Tish

    This is so beautiful. Fathers of the world take note. In a world where women constantly feel judged (as do men) it is so special to see a father take prurient interest and care in helping his daughter grow up seeing the unfortunate expectations of society for what they are.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Tish, An award to you for the best (and probably only) use of the word “prurient” in a blog comment ever! Well done!

  • Patti Ann Ridgway

    A beautiful message from an insightful, noble dad. You captured the essence of true beauty, our God-given beauty, the one that springs forth from within to truly bless this world. Thank you for sharing your heart, your daughter and your wisdom. We need more dad’s like you to guide every daughter’s journey, with the understanding of her true worth as she moves through life with confidence in who she is, and trust in knowing that the world will see and feel her real beauty.

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  • Aimee Bass

    Could you tell me the name of the book and the author that you mentioned on the Today show?

  • dad

    As the father of two beautiful daughters thank you for writing this. I want nothing but the best for them in this life in a world that just wants to minimize them. This should be shared by everyone.

  • Hope

    Dr. Kelly Flanagan… Reading this made my day and I’m going to share this with my loved ones. I’m a 27 year old woman who grew up without a father. Both my biological father and step father left my life willingly and although I have tried to connect with them when I was younger… it was always unsuccessful. I am happy this was the case since they aren’t the most positive figures. However, at that time I was only a young girl who just wanted a ‘daddy’.
    You’re letter to your daughter is beautiful and perfect and I know she will love you that much more when she finally gets to read it one day. Fathers like you change the world because they help guide the lives of their precious children.
    I am so grateful I learned about brilliant strength, choosing dreams, being naked, the importance of learning that infallibility does not exist, aging, and how flaws are absolutely beautiful. I somehow learned all this without my father. I am lucky:)
    I am also so grateful that fathers like you exist and I just wanted to thank-you for sharing this letter for others to read. However, I know your daughter will love it more than all these positive comments combined:)
    Happy weekend!

  • Jenna

    This is beatuiful. Thank you.

  • linda

    now, how about a loving letter for our sons! Nice, thank you, I shared…..

  • rp311

    I heard similar sentiment from my Dad growing up and while I do not obsess about my looks, I have always worn some makeup, but now I find myself having to try and keep a youthful look to be able to find work. I am over 50 , lost my job and despite excellent references, skills and an MBA , age and looks discrimination ( I am also about 25 lbs overweight ) pop up more often than not. How nice it would be to let my hair gray, not spend money on skin smoothing creams and not have the lap band surgery suggested by a doctor.

  • sagescenery

    Awesome!!! reblogging on:
    godssceneryandpromises.wordpress.com

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  • wensdazechyld

    I would like to thank you for a very moving article. I’m 39 years old and yet found myself sat here very tearful. It’s the message I wish I had heard – from either of my parents. This is something I will keep for myself to look at in future, to print and give to my students, and maybe to one day give to children of my own, if I should ever get round to having any!

    Thank You.

  • Marian Fraitag-Palmer

    BEAUTIFUL– SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL

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  • Mandi O

    Dr. Flanagan, the SADDEST THING IN THE WORLD just happened when I read this. (I read it on a different site that had reposted it, and when I got to the bottom of your amazingly honest statements, there were more articles below. The VERY NEXT one was called, “Make-Up Can Do Wonders” and it shows before and after photos of women with and without make-up.”) Here’s the link to that offensively ironic and under-edited page: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vt86j

    • drkellyflanagan

      Hi Mandi, Thanks for keeping an eye on things. I always appreciate that! It shows we still have a long way to go, doesn’t it?

  • Marybeth Little

    Many thanks for leading me to Henri Nouven’s book speaking to the point living your life with a “Flawless Finish.”

    • drkellyflanagan

      I wouldn’t be writing today without the influence of his words in my life. Glad to lead someone else to him!

  • Fred

    This is why I joined DADD. Dads Against Daughters Dating!

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  • TT

    that is really cool, and I agree with him. The only real beauty, is inside of you. Notice how animals and pets-they don’t care how you look! They just want love, and play.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Great observation, TT. Young children are the same way!

  • keishballs

    This letter makes me love you Dr. Kelly Flanagan. I hate to see that some of the comments are tearing this sweet letter to your daughter apart, but I guess that will happen on the internet. I wish every girl could have a father like you, who will encourage her to be the person that makes her happy, and not who the magazines and make-up aisles tell her to be. Thank you for adding your kind, wise words to the miserable, angry internet. I will definitely be reading more from you.

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  • Khidir

    Dear Dr. Kelly,
    As a father myself (my little one is 15 now), I am so impressed by your letter to your daughter. It went viral simply because millions of parents feel the same way about how far that kind of industry has gone distracting women from reasonable ways of becoming more beautiful. I wrote an article in Arabic (my mother tongue) highlighting the good message you are trying to disseminate. I compare ( the viral status) it has gotten to an incident of a simple Sudanese livestock herder ( a shepherd) in Saudi desert who adamantly refused to take a bribe betraying the owner of the livestock who entrusted him to take care of. I almost translated your entire letter. Appreciation of your letter and that shepherd’s honesty , show that goodness is the championship of human life that transcends color, creeds and regions. Thank you again

    • drkellyflanagan

      It’s a great point, Khidir, and I’ve taken great encouragement from the fact that this letter went viral because so many parents out there feel the same way. It is reason for great hope!

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  • mish

    Thanks you for writing this! We as parents need to start protecting our children from the influx of over-sexualized “role models” with which our society constantly bombard them.

  • Chem Lloyd L. Signapan

    You’re amazing. God bless you, Sir.

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  • Young depressed girl

    Hello, I apologize right now for my english because I’m not a native speaker. I only want to praise you for how kind you are towards your daughter. I am a daughter too but my father never told me things like that, and when he speaks he hurts my feelings… but usually he ignores me.
    He doesn’t care about our life and he has never spent his time with us (he doesn’t like us, he didn’t wanted us, and he thinks that we are –worthless, stupid and a waste of money– his words) at least he cares about our instruction (i have 4 sibilings).
    He never told me that he loves me, he never kissed me or hugged me or made me feel important or told me that I’m beautiful (luckily I have few friends and relatives that make me feel ok, but I suppose that he may be one of the causes of my really low/inexistent self esteem). So as a daughter I can tell you that you are really a good father, because the most important thing, if not the only important for a parent, is to love his children and to care about them. She’s lucky to have you, I hope that one day I’ll find a man like you so if I ever will have children they would feel loved :)
    I really needed to read a thing like this letter, this made me cry.
    a big hug, she’s a lucky girl (I’m a little envious), I wish you all the best, sorry again for my bad english.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Your English is fine! Be good to yourself, and remember, you are worthy of a man who is good to you, too.

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  • Leigh

    Hi Dr Flanagan! I absolutely LOVE this article! I have a website called Reclaim where I would LOVE to feature this if it is ok with you! Thank you for this beautifully written truth! Leigh
    http://www.reclaim-living.com

    • drkellyflanagan

      Yes, Leigh, please feel free to do so. And I’ll look forward to checking out your website!

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  • Jean

    MY mother’s words were just as powerful if not more than dad’s, as mom is the like parent for daughter. Dad does not have more power than my mother .
    Sorry you daddy exalters, sorry to burst your daddy bubbles. 3-26-14

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  • Montella

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so important for young girls and ladies to hear these words. Especially from a dad.

  • Montella

    How did this become all about clothes people. It’s about loving and respecting ourselves. Being a role model for young girls and women everywhere! Not about what your wearing. A rapist will in fact rape whomever he desires. This man is just asking his daughter to love herself and respect herself enough to not have to dress scantily to get attention from anyone, good or bad. He wants her to know that she is good and whole on the inside and then the outside won’t cause her grief. I love what he said and what his intentions were.

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  • Jo

    Beautiful poignant and much needed. If we all had daddy’s like you!!! Unfortunately men primarily still set the tone in our society hence the change must come from men as well.
    Women can use our voices and fortitude tirelessly but it must be a collaborative effort. We are amazing powerful strong women capable of the most grand of gestures. But as you said we could all use being a little naked. Each and every human on this earth. And yes it would be nice if we could foster a feeling of safety to reveal that part of ourselves. All of us could use a dose of vulnerability with out feeling like we were going to get
    the shit beat out us one way or another.

    • Blah

      I think the change will need to come from women much rather than from men. Simply because WE are the ones targetted here. For men caring about this topic is optional, and yes luckily there are men who care too. However for women, wether we realize it or not, MOST of us are affected by this media body shaming. A lot of women dont think they are affected by this, but how rare it is nowadays to find a woman who’s happy with what she looks like? It did not always use to be this way.

      I dont think the media will change anytime soon, because they very well realize that unhappy people are better consumers than happy ones, and money is what drives them. Women who are unhappy with what they look like are women who buy beauty products. So it is us who have to change, and who have to realize what they are doing, and stop buying into these shaming tactics, and stop buying their products.
      The website http://www.beautyredefined.com and the documentary “killing us softly” are great places to start

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  • Terri

    Dr. Flanagan, I work with the Assemblies of God World Mission in the Dominican Republic. Our ministry works with adolescents and wants to publish a magazine that focuses on purity in all areas of life. Would you be willing to allow us to translate and publish this article for our teenage girls here in the DR. We would, of course, credit you with the writing and idea!

  • Sue Alexander

    As parents what we forget is we plant the first seeds in our children s’ life. These seeds are like a Redwood tree. Slow growing but enduring, sturdier and long lasting.

  • Lorene Rutherford

    Wise words from a good father to his very fortunate and well loved daughter.

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  • Ernie

    Thank you Dr. Kelly Flanagan and thank you as well Johnny great advice to pass on by sharing with our friends.

  • Marfusia

    I really appreciate these words, Slovakia will carry them on. I hope, we can create a better world (not only) for your daughter ;-) take care!

  • sabitha pandey
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  • Patrice Stanton

    Have to disagree w/ you, Dr. Flanagan. 1) if a makeup aisle is “one of the most oppressive places in the world,” then dude, you seriously need to get out more often or do therapy on thyself; 2) yes, words have power but again, analyze yourself if you’d prefer products proclaiming the opposite of Affordable/Flawless/Brilliant Strength/Power/Dream/Natural Beauty [dude, it's Marketing 101; females are the target for most every product cuz as a sex, they have the buying power]; 3) quit w/ the false humility; you’re a 2nd/3rd/4th or worse rate therapist if you actually believe YOUR words, as the girl’s father, “MAYBE can compete with those of ‘the world'”; and lastly, 4) if you see a makeup aisle or fashion department as a “gauntlet of INSTITUTIONALIZED SHAME,” then what in the world is a day of humiliation in the asylum called Public School (with 2.5x as many boys as girls forcibly medicated for behavior-mod (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html))? Or how about standing in the boys-only DRAFT (oops: “selective service”)-Registration line at the post office? Would those be walks-in-the-park for our sons, doc?

  • Bradley Speck

    Hey Guys,am so so happy..
    I had a problem with my boyfriend six months ago,which lead to us apart.
    When he broke up with me,I was no longer myself,I felt so empty inside
    .Until a friend of mine told me about one of her spells that helped in
    same problem too that she found on a television program. i emailed the
    spell caster and I told him my problem and I did what he asked me to
    briefly make. to cut the long story short,Before I knew what was
    happening,not up to 48 hours,my boyfriend gave me a call and he come back
    to me and told me he was sorry about what has happened, I’m so grateful to
    this spell caster and will not stop publishing his name on the internet
    just for the good work he has been doing.If you need his help,he can cast
    spells like,spells for money,spells for wining lottery,medicines to make a
    barren woman pregnant,spells to be brilliant,and so so so many more spell
    of any problems you can think of,you can email him at
    (UNIQUELOVESPELLCENTER@YAHOO.COM)and he will also help you to Dr Akim is
    his name
    (UNIQUELOVESPELLCENTER@YAHOO.COM) I will be forever grateful to you.or you can also call him on his mobile for easy contact on +2348159645271

  • Vira Kuznetsova

    Thank you, Mr. Kelly. Your words mean a lot.

  • nancy Alfred

    HELLO to my friends out there i am testifying about the good work of a man who help me it has been hell from the day my husband left me i am a woman with two kids my problem stated when the father of my kids travel i never help he was living but as at two weeks i did not set my eye on my husband i try calling but he was not taken my call some week he call me telling me that he has found love some where easy at first i never take to be serous but day after he came to the house to pick his things that was the time i notice that things is going bad i help he will come back but things was going bad day by day i needed to talk to someone about it so i went to his friend but there was no help so i give it up on him month later i met on the the internet a spell caster i never believe on this but i needed my men back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it for doing sake but after three day my husband called me telling me that he his coming home i still do not believe but as at the six day the father to my kids came to the house asking me to for give him the spell work to said to my self from that day i was happy with my family thanks to the esango priest of (abamieghe)esango priest he his a great man you need to try him you can as well to tell him your problem so that he can be of help to you his content email is this esangopriest@gmail.com indeed you are a priest thank you for making my home a happy home again. remember his email is esangopriest@gmail.com

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  • Andie

    Words only a Dad knows how to say. Thank you for the beautiful post to remind us all about the strength we have.

    http://Www.youngerous.com

  • Zayle

    @Dr. Kelly Flanagan,
    “every woman who needs to hear the words of a father.” Wow, these modern trends, that try to place dad before mom. I continue to be amazed at the way we throw these man made doctrines out there that suggest that dad should be the one at the helm of the daughter’s well being.
    Are you suggesting that the mothers of daughters are not important; the person, who conceives, carries for nine months, labors-gives birth, and continually nurtures, guides, and takes care of the daughter and son, every day of her life, all the way to adult hood and beyond? We need to be careful that we do not confuse anyone with this notion.
    In my home where I grew up, in my home as the mother of three daughters, in the homes of my friends, relatives, neighbors, co workers, et al, the daughter AND the son are guided and directed by mom and dad, not just dad. What moms have to contribute is very, very, vital, if not more important. You cannot not do this to mothers. Dr Kelly, do not contribute to this unfair man made doctrine that disregards the vital and important mothers!! 4-23-14

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    thank for shering…………

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  • so frustrated

    great words, great advice. however, unfortunately, my 13 year old daughter’s father (my ex-husband) hasn’t a clue and is constantly telling her to “fix” her “messy, frizzy hair” (she has thick , wavy, frizzy hair that she pulls into a ponytail 100% of the time she is with her father because he dislikes it natural so much). my daughter couldn’t care less about hair, clothes or make up yet. but i KNOW this is affecting her self esteem. he does not know how to communicate with me so speaking with him is out of the question. how do i counteract the effects of his relentles criticism of her looks? i build her self esteem up all the time (she is a very smart, sweet girl), but i really feel he is damaging her.

  • Sandy_C

    There is not one word that I could add that would improve what you wrote! Wish I had gotten one from my Daddy way back when.

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  • Demi

    Whow ..
    You know, I’m 15 years old and I actually cried reading this.. uhm. I’m Dutch so it took me some time but I Just.. I have no words.
    Dr. Flanagan, I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful and powerful words on this blog. I printed this and put it on my wall and every time I need to, I look at those three words; On the inside. Because your words made me see that I don’t have to hide or conceal, the people who really love me and who are the most valuable (is that how you write that?) Will love me just the way I am. And when I think of that all of those products and big words just kind of fade.
    Mr. Flanagan, please keep up the good work, your blog really is a little piece of art. I’m praying for you and your family. And I hope your daughter will never forget those three, extremely vulnerable words. On the Inside.

    • drkellyflanagan

      “All of those products and big words just fade.” Demi, I hope my Little One is like you when she grows up. May you continue to trust in the place where your worth can truly be found. On the inside.

  • Philo Ignatius

    This is one of the best lines i have read :) Each word touched my soul..A girl should realize who she is..what her dream is…where the world makes a girl only as advertising product & posing her to live by physical exposure this kind of message is important for a girl..Its high time that each dad carries this message to his daughter..nevertheless dad indeed must follow in his life :) not to look into other feminine except his wife…:) i remember a line reading this in my language movie ” only a Dad who has daughter will know a kiss doesn’t come from lust” A great dad can raise up a good daughter as my dad did ( this is boasting :) but my dad is no more) so U r & of course ur four year daughter will boast abt her as u raised her!

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  • Kristie

    Thank you for your words. I will definitely be passing this article on to my beautiful 21 and 19 year old daughters. I am also keeping a copy for myself.

    • drkellyflanagan

      You’re welcome, Kristie. My best to you and your beloved daughters!

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  • Wamis

    C’mon, don’t tell me your attraction to your wife that led to your getting married had everything to do with these inner-qualities and nothing to do with how “her face looks today” or her pre-wrinkled skin and youth that has not yet faded.

  • Samantha

    I wish I had a father that care for me I’m 16, I lived the first 13 years with my mom, then these 3 with him,but everyday of my life I’m hurt and always sad. Wish me luck

  • Samantha

    I wish I had a dad that love me but instead he just leave me then renters my life to hurt me more

  • Heather B

    This world today is so backward. We have to build our children up the right way – the girls to value themselves as the true lovely creations they are and the boys to honor and respect them. We just got a copy of a brand new book, well renewed, so to speak, I think everyone would enjoy called “She Calls Me Daddy: 7 Things You Need to Know
    About Building a Complete Daughter,” by Robert Wolgemuth. The original book
    came out in the 90s, a best-seller, has been updated for today. His girls are grown up and give their own input along with their husbands who are daddies to girls. I understand 40% of the book is new material. It’s so unique in this way. He says, “I need to remind you of what you’re learning already. Your girl is a free agent. Nothing you can do will ever force her into a certain kind of thinking or behavior. Like it or not, there are no guarantees. There are no risk-free formulas. You’re dealing with a person who has her own agenda, her own mind, and her own will. Ultimately, she’ll think and do what she decides to think and do. However, and this is a big however, you can create an environment that gives you—and her—the best shot at success. There are certain things you can do that will raise your probability of success. That’s what this
    book is about—low-risk fathering.” I highly recommend it!

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  • BevsMom

    Thank you — a million times – thank you.

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  • Elisa

    I love this. I am trying to raise my 5 year old daughter with the knowledge and confidence to go out into the world knowing her worth does not come from what she looks like on the outside.