Snow White was the classic story about a
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 line...beauty is a bitch! Maybe Walt Disney was on to something...