True Beauty: Change Begins at Home
The first woman your daughter will ever see as beautiful… is YOU. She will watch you comb your hair, put on your make-up, get dressed and then look yourself over in the mirror. She will look for a model of true beauty. You may not think she’s watching… but, she’s watching everything. She sees the times you pinch your thighs and wince. She notices when look at your side profile, while sucking in your gut. When you look at your face applying gloss to pouty lips, she’s watching. When you feel pretty, it shows in your countenance, and she can tell. She can tell that she’s found true beauty.
The saying goes that true beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s true, then it’s crucial that you behold yourself as beautiful. If we are going to teach our young girls that true beauty isn’t determined by media, that it’s not meant to conform to a societal standard, then we must prove our point by directing women toward real life standards of beauty.
In God and Boobs the book, I share my philosophy regarding true beauty. I think that every woman is beautiful, if you look close enough. But I also think it’s possible to mess up our beauty. One way that we can mess up our beauty is by conforming to societal expectations of beauty. In so doing, we strip our young girls of the opportunity to see what true beauty looks like.
I’m inspired by a story circulating this week about Karrie, a young girl with Down’s Syndrome. Karrie’s mom posted a photo of her on Facebook and moms of other girls with Down’s Syndrome wrote back asking where she bought Karrie’s clothes. Her mom wrote that they purchased the clothes at Wet Seal, and that Karrie always wanted to be a model for the brand. Wet Seat found out and they flew Karrie to LA for a photo shoot.
Props to Wet Seat for reinforcing Kerrie’s personal sense of beauty! But it got me thinking about my post from last week about Lammily, the world’s first average doll. Unlike Barbie, the Lammily doll is based on the proporations of an average, healthy nineteen year old girl. I thought to myself: Will girls like Lammily?
I think girls will like Lammily, if they believe that Lammily is beautiful, fun, smart and interesting. They are more likely to think this IF they believe that they are beautiful, fun, smart and interesting. Why? Because if average is beautiful, as the maker’s of Lammily suggest, then that means average girls are beautiful.
The trouble remains… I don’t think girls will think they are beautiful because Lammily tells them so, or because Wet Seal tells them so. If that’s our solution, then we are deceived into thinking that media can fix the problem of misrepresenting beauty. Media is only part of the problem. The war for true beauty starts at home, with each individual woman. The more we believe that we are beautiful, the greater chances our young girls have of seeing themselves as beautiful.