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What I Wish My Daughter Knew About Editing Her Appearance In 'Facetune'

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I read an article recently which disturbed me about the mental health of my 15-year-old daughter. It talked about the fad of using the app Facetune to alter images of yourself to share on social media. I knew about Photoshop, but this app is accessible to anyone and it is taking body-altering to a new level. The alterations include changing breast size, waist, length of legs, eyes, nose, cheeks, forehead, smoothing skin — just a total redo. Supposedly, just fixing up some of your God-given flaws.

The entire time I read the article, all I could think of is how this could impact my child’s mental health if she participated in it and how I needed to do something to stop this app from being used. It should be banned. It is destroying the self-image of girls worldwide and it is driving them to want to permanently augment their bodies with plastic surgery or not be seen in public because they do not match their online images. There is even now an app that will do these image adjustments to videos.

It is not lost on me that a group of five men developed the software.

I placed my 15-year-old for adoption when she was 5 years old. She is now being raised by a lovely Black lesbian couple. This means I cannot talk directly to my daughter about this matter and how wonderful she is just the way she is.

Up until recently, I was on a 40-year quest to lose weight. I was not happy with my body (and still struggle with this). I have chosen to stop dieting and to improve my relationship with food and my body image. Every time I have a visit with my daughter and her moms, we end up talking about the latest diet we have been and are on. Right in front of our daughter. I now know how damaging this is to the child and her image of herself.

I do not know how they are talking to her about her body but now that I know better, I want to do better for her.

So here is my open letter to my daughter:

Dear daughter,

I love you more than life itself. I cannot begin to tell you how the last thing I want to do is cause you any harm. I have suffered greatly in life and I do not want that for you.

My entire life, I have been at war with food and my body. My mom raised me to want a body that was not obtainable for me, but she insisted. In many respects I do not blame her; she was also steeped in diet culture and was just trying to do her best. She was told I would have fewer opportunities in life if my body was not a certain way. She believed it and by extension so did I.

The reality is that there is no perfect body type. We all are different and that should be celebrated instead of shamed. You are a Black girl growing up in a world that will teach you that you are not good enough just because you are Black. I do not want that for you, and I do not want to be the source of any of that messaging for you.

I give you permission to love your body just the way it is. To be proud of the curve of your hips, the fullness of your lips, the width of your thighs, the roundness of your breasts, the prominence of your nose and the kink of your hair.

I will do my best to be a role model for you to imitate. I will not diet again. I will commit to speaking only positive things about my body. I will model having a positive relationship with food. I will support other women to love their bodies and celebrate them just the way they are. I will fight for a society that appreciates bodies like ours just like any other. I will celebrate my body just the way it is and love it.

Your chance is now to have a positive relationship with food and your body. I will support you in this in every way I can. I encourage you to surround yourself with others who are loving their bodies, and if they are not, encourage them to. You will experience peer pressure to change your images on social media, to diet and to speak ill of your body and your eating habits. Do not take the bait — that thinking is not for you or about you.

If you learn anything from me today, it is that I love you and you deserve to be loved and celebrated. Your self-worth is not tied up in body image. You are smart and an incredible human being who deserves nothing but happiness.

I will be watching out for you. I know, regretfully, I cannot be there every day, so take care, my baby girl. I love you.



I hope this letter gets to her someday.

Please write your own letter to your daughter; she needs to hear this. Your daughter deserves to be Mighty Strong!

Photo by Kelly Fournier on Unsplash

Originally published: June 9, 2021
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