Usually I’m very upbeat, but as I was going through my morning regulars reading up on the news and such (the news I want to see at least), this link hit me, and it was so disturbing I had to let it rest for a couple of days before I could actually talk about it.
The fact that she has to ask this of folks, she doesn’t even know, is so scary. Where are the folks who she adores and looks up to? Maybe I’m lucky. The girls I get in my studio are adored by their parents. They only want their happiness and their success in life. They may not always be their kids’ best friends, but they are respected and the kids are told a lot how much they are succeeding.
What’s really disturbing is that, as YouTube is want to do, on the alley (that’s the old printer in me talking) on the left of the playing video are tons and tons of other videos with similar subjects – one after the other of girls wanting to know if they are pretty or not.
I understand the fascination with this at an early age. It’s like anything else that kids first learn: worms, dirt, shoes, tying a bow, learning to say what you mean and what you want, combing your hair, looking neat and well groomed, putting on make-up – – looking pretty is part of that. It’s learning about it. It’s when this takes on an obsession, and after learning about it that so many girls can’t move from this onto the other things: keeping light behind their eyes, finding their passion – wanting to find their passion, wanting to be the best and all they can be – – whatever that is, accepting their limitations and extolling their assets. It’s all these things that get pushed to the side.
Being raised in the 60’s, looking pretty was the end-all. You learned how to apply make-up not to enhance your looks, but to hide your faults – this would make you have a thinner nose, because (I was told) my nose was too fat; this would make my lips bigger/smaller (because I was informed my lips were too small/big), this would make your cheeks shallower (cause my were too chubby) and of course the all time favorite – I was too fat. And all that nonsense.
In the famous Women’s Movement (that prescribed sewing as some sort of task relegated to some form of life in the bottom of a Hieronymus Bosche painting), it seems that we could have at least moved away from this attitude at least just a little.
We all have different looks and appearances – that’s part of the charm. Personally I love it cause those different looks and appearances and shapes and sizes and styles and personalities means I get to do something different all the time. One of the most treasured comments I get on my dresses is that folks say, “It looked just like her!” I love that. It translates from her personality to a dress that is so perfect it looks just like her!
I am reminded of this in spades today, because last night my little deb came to pick up her dress. We have two deb events in the city, and when she does the first, I always (as part of the package) offer to re-fluff, press and just generally freshen up the dress for the second party. And since Blossom (my generic name for all debs) was busy getting ready, Mom came by to get the dress!!! She was effusive and went on and on with her compliments about how different she looked, which is just what she wanted. This is a family with lots of artists in the family and their expression of that is always encouraged. Mom reported that the whole committee at the ball and the parents were all in awe of the dress. Why? Cause it was just like the deb and yet so different!
The compliments were nice and always appreciated, but it was the difference that was the beauty for the girl. It was her beauty in being different. And that difference should not only be appreciated, recognized but encouraged.
Today, or in the future, if you are in contact with a tween (these young girls just entering into teenage-hood), without asking, prompting or anything, tell her how pretty she is – give her a compliment – she looks so well-put-together…..or she seems to have a great grasp of her style and wears it so well……or you love her creative and individual style…..or how pretty her hair is…..or what an intoxicating smile she has…..or her sunshine attitude is very catching……or her eyes are full of life!!!! Anything like that. It can make a girl’s day.
One thing I’ve learned is that since I’m not mom, I can say things to the girls as a fashion consultant and general know-it-all, that the girls will listen to but won’t with mom around. A person, without prompting who says this, is so much more likely to be believed – yeah, I know, it’s not logical, but believe me it’s what happens. And your saying a kind word to a young girl can not only make her day, it can make her life.
My aunt was the one who told me I was pretty:
And she should know cause she was one of the “Glam-Aunts!!!”
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