And that's because as a society, we teach teach girls through ads, movies and magazines that they must be a certain size. They must be a certain colour. And they absolutely must have a certain "look" in order to be successful.
When we tell girls they are beautiful on the inside, it's taken as a slight. A statement that screams, you are not beautiful at all. It's a consolation prize that no girl wants. Because what she thinks is that she must compensate for her lack of outward beauty by being beautiful on the inside.
Parents do tell their daughters they are beautiful. At least the good ones do.
But as is so typical among young people, they care more about what other people think than what their parents know. After all, parents are supposed to see the beauty in their children. So such comments mean very little in how girls view themselves. It's small comfort because the message is taken for granted.
Girls need to hear and see the message through ads and movies and magazines that beauty really and truly is on the inside.
The very industry that sets them up for self-condemnation in the first place is the very industry that we must now rely on to send the message to these girls that they are beautiful just the way they are.
No one addresses this issue with more eloquence and heart-felt sincerity than the beautiful, Lupita Nyong'o, speaking at Black Beauty Essence Magazine before winning the Oscar as best supporting actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave.
Yes, it starts at home. But as long as we have a system that inundates girls with subtle and not-so-subtle messages of what beauty looks like, we must demand that the system show them that true beauty comes in many--in all--exteriors.
Beyond hearing that their beauty comes from within, girls must see in ads and movies and magazines that every size, every colour, every look is represented. And accepted. And embraced. Only then will girls begin to see that true beauty really does come from the inside.