We have so many notions about beauty in our societies. Everyone has something to say. Heck, I’m saying something to you right now. I want you to listen to me and believe something about beauty. Something that’s “more true” and “more real” than the last person you heard and read.
Makeup tutorials and all of the “do’s and don’ts lists, amongst all of that we have the message for little boys and girls that looks don’t matter floating around somewhere; No matter how you look you are great and you are fabulous.
I’m totally playing into the double standard with my kids. I tell them every night how proud I am of them and how they have a great heart. We talk about what that means and all the nice things they did that day. I don’t want them to feel like looks don’t play any part in their lives. We talk about how adorable they are and how much I like their physical aspects as well. Look at your cute little nose, and your big beautiful eyes. I do this because the world values beauty and I want them to know that they are beautiful along with being smart and kind. We just discovered both boys and their dad have a birthmark almost exactly on the same spot on their bodies. They were all so proud of that, dad included, as much as their dad tries to act like he doesn’t care about how he looks, he cares. He cares a whole lot more than he’d ever admit to me at least because he’s just too cool for that.
So far it feels like we’re doing things pretty okay. But then there are those times when I do those things that are not quite okay for kids to watch.
For example, when I eat a whole ice cream cone and unknowingly say, “man if I start to get fat again it’s going to be all your fault, because you brought two of these things” to their dad.
“Oh no, don’t use that picture. I’m not wearing makeup”. I have never denied wearing make up. I love it. I wear it proudly, I go without makeup most of the time but sometimes you are just not feeling your look without it. Nevertheless, how it sounds and come across to a child is dangerous and all these side notes cannot be explained in one breath to a 4-year-old.
I have heard them say to me “you don’t have stuff on your face still you look so pretty”. I have taught them that its unusual to for me to look pretty without makeup even though that’s so not me.
I’m confused. We are all confused. We want a balance. Rather what we have is an elaborate confusion.
I was once told by someone very close to me that if I don’t dress up for my husband he will “look” at other women. Well, I was told that more than once. So, basically you’re telling me that I stand by his side for almost 20 years raising his kids going through all the ups and downs of life with him but the minute I’m not “pretty enough” I’ll be tossed aside? He didn’t say that. Others did. However, he already got the message that IF he ever did something like that, others will justify it for him.
There’s the confusion. There’s nothing wrong with dressing up. There’s nothing wrong with doing it for others either. We claim we dress up only for ourselves, but its okay if we are doing it to look good for others. Everyone wants to look good for others sometimes. It’s natural. However, It shouldn’t be out of fear of being left or out of some other insecurity or jealousy. It should be because its fun and other people appreciate who we are in all our beautiful dressed up glory. That’s all right. The question remains however, at what point is it not all right? What point is it too much?
I don’t want my kids to grow up without knowing how to take care of them-selves aesthetically. I also don’t want them to think that all their value is imbedded in just that. They are so much more than that. They are smart. They can make the most interesting and imaginative stories. The older one is really good at puzzles. The younger one likes to make his own music: At the same time they could both be models. Yes my kids are perfect. You see how I’m completely confusing my children? Confusion. Confusion everywhere.