Friday, October 15, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

....Who's the prettiest of them all?

Snow White was the classic story about a bitch Queen who was  hating so hard on a younger woman's beauty that she tried to kill her.  All the while said beautiful girl tra-la-las through a forest all day being blissfully pretty, her only real danger being TOO beautiful for her own good.

This story and many variations of it have played itself out in many aspects of pop culture.  The crazy thing is that these are kids stories.  From youth, girls are conditioned to think that being beautiful is an essential part of womanhood.  Mothers and Fathers make sure they tell their little girls that they are "beautiful" and "pretty" in order to re-enforce a positive self-image.  Then the media proceeds to bombard you with beautifying products and suddenly you find yourself crying to your girlfriends about the numerous guys you had "relations" with because you wanted to feel pretty.  Growing up doesn't make things any easier, whether you're a 20 yr old girl wondering why you didn't get any "looks" in the street or a 40 yr old woman setting up her next botox appointment. 

The issue of feeling pressure to always be beautiful is so damaging that Dove deodorant has begun what they call 'The Campaign for real beauty' that tries to expand the definition of beauty in order for every girl to feel included in that category, thus never falling victim to feeling ugly.  Even Tyra Banks, former supermodel, is confident that this "big tent" approach to beauty will solve the self-esteem issues face by many girls today.

I see a MAJOR flaw in this plan.  Whether  a parent that tells their little girl "you're beautiful" or suggest she get an extreme face make-over, they are both contributing to the same problem:

Too much emphasis on beauty

The way  I see it, the heart of the matter is that girls get the message that beauty reigns supreme and everything else follows.  What about being smart or kind or any other characteristics that make you a great person ? The reality is that there will always one of two things: (1) an overall societal standard of beauty, and (2) different individual's perceptions of beauty... and your little girl may only fit into one or none of those categories.  A 400 pound woman may not be society's standard of beauty, but some dude will probably love that. On the flipside Rhianna may fit the general standard, but some dude will be like "nah, not for me.."

 We have to teach our kids to be strong enough to deal with being an exception to the rule.  No matter how large the category of beauty is, there will always be outliers...and if she is an outlier, then so what? She has to be able to deal with the fact that someone, somewhere will think she's ugly, and she'll be grounded enough to not have a mental breakdown. 

Bottom is a bitch! Maybe Walt Disney was on to something...

1 comment:

  1. Maybe Walt was on to something or nothing. But maybe he was just trying to tell girls that who is the prettiest of them all can not be decided by them as you were saying some people might like Rhianna or some just might like the 400 pounder. But what I have learned about the word beauty is beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I know you understand that. Also another that girls fail to realize is people have preferences but they think because they hear the word beautiful that a guy likes them for overall everything. It can be the case but it can also be just cuz their hair is long, there ass is phat, titties are nice or she like skin or she is like a Kelly Rowland. But the parents I think do is only tell there kids one thing and they fail to realize that if you only tell one side of a story that is all the kid will know growing up.

    Yes their kid maybe be beautiful but when they tell them that is were the problem is because when a girl hears another girl is beautiful she thinks to herself, am i not beautiful enough and that is were jealousy comes in to play. Girls should realize that they cant please every guy and im not talking about sexual.I agree about teaching are kids to be strong just in case they are not the one at certain times that its not really them its the persons preference.Also when people do have kids try to be more real and talk about both ends of the spectrum.

    Lastly girls should remember that being beautiful is not always a good thing because some guys are afraid of that and others embrace it. So the thing to realize is that being beautiful can be a gift and a curse.

    A quote from Confucius "Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it"