A Lib Dem MP has told parents not to praise their children for how they look. Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire, has warned that telling children they are beautiful risks undermining body confidence by reinforcing the importance of beauty over ability.
"I know as an aunt you fall into the trap of turning to your niece and saying 'you look beautiful' - because of course all children do look beautiful - but if the message they get is that is what's important and that is what gets praise, then that's not necessarily the most positive message you want them to hear," said the Women and Equalities Minister.
The 33-year-old, who has no children of her own, has also advised mothers not to comment on their own looks.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Swinson said: "Perhaps they [mothers] can consider what they say about women in front of their daughters, how they are being judged and whether they're saying any inappropriate comments suggesting that women's value is in how they look."
The MP's comments precede the launch of the government's "Body Confidence" campaign, which is designed to address problems of wellbeing and self esteem brought about by popular culture's obsession with appearance.