After MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday, a speech given by Pink has gone viral as an inspiration to young girls everywhere, as well as an example for parents. Amongst the political statements that were trending throughout the evening, Pink’s acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award was a refreshing reminder of the importance of positive body image.
She began her speech repeating a comment her 6-year-old daughter had made during a car ride. Her daughter, Willow, said she thought she was “the ugliest girl she knows,” and that she “looked like a boy with long hair.” Hearing negative self talk come from such a young girl is despondent enough, and was especially upsetting to the singer as her 37-year-old mother.
Assuming her daughter had been bullied, the feisty singer was ready to take action, joking about beating up a six-year-old. Instead, however, she went home a created a PowerPoint presentation of many androgynous artists who had successful careers, despite their adversaries. These artists included David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, and Elton John. Artists “that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on, wave their flag, and inspire the rest of us,” according to the singer.
Pink then explained how people often criticize her in the same way, saying she looks like a boy, is too strong, or too manly. But she accepts herself and chooses not to change for other people; she continues on as herself and her success continues on with her.
“So, baby girl,” Pink finishes her message to her daughter, “We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.”
Pink emphasizes the importance of accepting yourself, and embracing your own beauty. This kind of body positivity is essential to the development of children. At a young age, children are bombarded by the media telling them to look a certain way, have a certain body, or conform to certain gender stereotypes. Combatting these ideas early aids in creating a positive state of mental health.
The conversation Pink had with her daughter should set an example of a positive, healthy way to discuss issues such as body image, non-binary gender expression, and self acceptance. Both the conversation and the way Pink sets an example personally are admirable. Willow is able to look at her mother and see a successful, happy, confident mother and be encouraged to express herself as she feels.
Pink has inspired people everywhere with her touching speech, and truly sets a standard for how one should instill body positivity in young people in a world that tries to push conformity.
Anna is a recently-retired ballerina, trying to use her experience to bring awareness and help others. She is excited to work with NEDA as an intern after her own recovery from an eating disorder. Anna is currently pursuing a degree in psychology.