Wish I could convince them they’re beautiful

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Middle-school girls are so hard on themselves.

“I’m too fat,” they tell me. “My nose is too short. My nose is too big. I’m too short. I’m too tall. My hair’s too curly. My hair’s too straight.” They mostly agree that thin and light-complected is a win, despite the fact that complexions run darker in this school.

I had one girl run out of the class in tears when someone told her she was “flat.” They don’t necessarily want big breasts, but they sure don’t want to lose the breast-development competition.

Classroom instruction ground to a halt while I stood near the doorway, trying to simultaneously watch a class and discreetly convince the girl in the hallway that her breasts were just fine, exactly right for her age.