Young girls want to be pretty. They believe it will help make them popular and well-liked, and therefore be included in the fun and excitement with friends.

And they’re probably right. Because every aspect of popular media promotes a classic form of female beauty. For example, when was the last time you saw a female cop on a TV show who wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous? And practically every model in every ad has the kind of cuteness that is the envy of nearly every young girl.

The message our culture sends to young girls is that physical attractiveness is a very big deal.

A young woman’s attempts to conform to cultural norms for beauty will indeed cause young men to pay attention. But this may well be the wrong kind of attention; sexual desire is something new to young men, and they aren’t wise enough to understand that their lust is all too often the real reason they’re attracted to pretty young women. In other words, they show interest for the wrong reasons.

Classic female beauty is rare. Only a very small percentage of young women have the genetic make-up for it. Even then it usually doesn’t fully blossom until after adolescence. And then it begins to fade with age, even if a woman maintains good health and fitness.

Physical beauty isn’t what it’s promoted by our culture to be. Consider a gorgeous female who is lazy, impatient, emotional, mean, needy, vain, self-centered, self-indulgent, materialistic and shallow will not seem so gorgeous after one gets to know what she’s really like.

Also, cultural media create ideal images that few women feel they can achieve.  A woman may in fact have what is considered classic beauty, but when she looks in the mirror she may think, “I’m not pretty enough,” a tragic thought, because of the negative, totally unnecessary impact on self-esteem. I’m reminded of the strange phenomenon of beautiful women who cut or otherwise self-harm because of they feel they aren’t beautiful enough.

What a young woman looks like – external beauty – can create a first impression; but after that, who the girl is – her character – will far outshine her external characteristics. If she has “average” good looks and is intelligent, understanding, kind, a great communicator, confident, humble, hard-working, goal-oriented, healthy and physically fit, after getting to know her she wouldn’t seem plain at all. The beauty of her character would create the dominant impression, and people would want to know her and spend time with her. They would always see her as a beautiful person.

In short, external beauty is vastly over-rated. It lasts for a short time in life, it doesn’t have the value our culture says it does, and it’s being promoted mostly to sell fashions and make-up. Considering how powerful true beauty is – the beauty of who you are – it’s unfortunate that young girls have always been so influenced by media images.

Loving parents need to help young daughters achieve wisdom about their physical attractiveness. Yes, good grooming, health and fitness are important. But if girls want others to see them as beautiful, they need to work on having the kind of personal qualities that make a lasting impression.

“You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn’t matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn’t strong. There is nothing more attractive—you might even say enchanting—than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions.” – Angelina Jolie, American actor

In my book I explain several ways you can empower your daughter to acquire a beautiful mind:

How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain.

Also you can improve the way you listen to your child, growing the bond between you. Download the FREE ebook, Listening to Understand.