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“Every Woman is a Ten”

–Heidi Klum’s response, after Trump was quoted as saying she’s “no longer a ten.”

Despite the many strides women have made in terms of equality, there’s one clear area where we remain unequal: How much we’re judged on our appearance. It’s as true for teenage girls as it is for older women. Teenage girls feel they need to be looked at and found attractive in order to have value; as women age, they tend to feel more invisible, as if they’re losing value.

How can we combat this at any age and protect our self-esteem? Read on for some thoughts.1) Recognize that when it comes to female appearance, our society is sick.

What I mean is, the focus on women’s looks but on male accomplishment is unfair, and it’s disturbed. And it doesn’t have to stand.

Women don’t have to play into it. Every time one female attacks another based on looks, it perpetuates the sickness.

2) Reclaim feminism.

Beyonce did it, why can’t you?

Plus, there are plenty of male feminists out there. Andy Murray, the top tennis player, chose a female coach–not to make a statement, but because she was the best for his game–and it has nothing to do with her appearance, either.

Every time women are celebrated for their accomplishments rather than their appearances and their sexuality, it elevates us all. And when I say “all”, I mean the entire society, men included.

Because when women are reduced to appearance, they don’t put adequate time and energy toward developing their other assets, and that robs our country of those assets. It drains the talent pool.

3) Mothers: Think of the messages you send your daughters.

When you complain about your weight, or your crow’s feet, or other physical attributes, when you allow those attributes to deeply affect your mood and your self-worth, then you teach that to your children. You’re a role model, and you can’t model what you don’t feel. That means working on your own self-esteem in order to project positive values.

Then when you observe our society’s mixed message (that boys do good, and girls just look good), point those out to your daughters. By making them explicit, they can be neutralized. We can’t fight what we can’t see, right?

It’s time to see things clearly, and that’s where change begins.

Four women image available from Shutterstock

“Every Woman is a Ten”

Holly Brown, LMFT

Holly Brown is a marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay area. She has a private practice in Alameda ( ). She is also a novelist ( Her latest is HOW FAR SHE'S COME, a workplace thriller which received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly: "This provocative tale will resonate with many in the era of the #MeToo movement."

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APA Reference
Brown, H. (2015). “Every Woman is a Ten”. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Aug 2015
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