Mommy am I pretty? NO, you’re UGLY!

Really, what are you going to say, lady who thinks it’s harmful to tell your little girl she’s pretty, when your beautiful little girl asks you if she’s pretty?

“Whatever happened to moderation?” Conservative Werewolf muttered before realizing she’d become an old fogey before hitting thirty.

Here’s an idea – don’t make a big deal about looks but don’t pretend looks don’t matter to people.  How’s that?  “Yes, you’re pretty, but it’s much more important that you be a good, moral person.”  Or, if your kid is ugly, “You are a beautiful person, and anyone who tells you otherwise is only commenting on you because they’re insecure.”  Or, if your kid is an ugly jackass, “Your only hope is to have inner beauty, kid – better get to work on that.”

[And when said jackass brings up the possibility of plastic surgery, you could say: “Sure, you can make yourself beautiful, just like Voldemort could make himself live forever.  Now, let’s have a talk about the kind of person you want to be.”]

“Har har, Conservative Werewolf.  But is it really bad not to tell your daughter she’s pretty?  Wouldn’t it help her not focus on her appearance?”

No, it wouldn’t.  You can fight society’s shallowness, but, for the sake of your kid, you shouldn’t ignore it.  Similarly, we can fight our impulses, but if we ignore them, we’ll end up mauling an entire small town in one moonlit evening (well, maybe not YOU, but, well, it’s a metaphor).  Little missy is probably going to want boys to like her at some point in her life.  If she expresses no interest in anything related to romance until she’s thirty, well, good for you.  But, if, like the author’s daughter, she does, what do you do?:

“The other week, when Hannah tried on a new dress (yellow and twirly at her request) and asked if she could wear it to nursery because ‘Louis [her friend] will tell me I look beautiful,’ my first reaction was to laugh, then text Louis’s mum to discuss wedding plans.

Of course, because it’s cute and normal.  Oh, she wants a boy to notice her?  Couldn’t be that someday she’ll want to smooch one? OMG, let’s freak out that she’ll become anorexic:

But once I was over the comedy factor, it bothered me that my three-year-old thought the way to impress her friend was by looking pretty.  And I was horrified when I read that a recent BBC survey had found that six out of ten eight to 12-year-olds thought they’d be happier thinner, and that research by Girl Guiding UK had found that girls under ten often link happiness with body image.

This is a prime moment for guiding your kid in the ways of not being a little whore (i.e., not feeling she needs males to drool all over her for self-esteem, and therefore not going around wearing next to nothing and/or feeling she must radically change her body).  But ignoring that she’s gonna grow up into a cutie-pie isn’t gonna do it.

When I take them out together, my one-year-old son Rafal gets ‘clever’, ‘friendly’ and ‘smiley’ thrown his way, whereas my daughter is bombarded with pretty dress chat. The well-meaning compliments of passers-by is a reminder of the world in which she’s growing up. Rafal will be fine being friendly and clever, but Hannah will constantly be judged on how she looks.

It’s little wonder that studies have found that attractive women are assumed to be kinder and more intelligent and are also more likely  to make friends and even find jobs.

Do you realize this doesn’t make sense??  “My daughter is bombarded with pretty dress chat” –> “It’s little wonder that studies have found that attractive women are assumed to be… MORE INTELLIGENT”??? Really?  Could you explain to me how A leads to B?  Or, in her case, how it’s a bad thing?  So people will assume good things about her- great!  Help her be able to live up to the expectations of being able to figure things out, being up for the job, etc.

We can’t shelter our daughters from that reality, but as psychologist Susie Orbach, author of the ground-breaking body-image bible Fat Is A Feminist Issue, puts it: we can ‘innoculate’ against it. ‘When others say “she’s so pretty”, we can concur but also add that she does such a great job of skipping, running or playing her drums.

See, even you understand.  Couldn’t have just gotten straight to the logical point, hm?  Had to whine for several paragraphs about your concerns and feelings and shit.  There’s a time for processing our feelings, and there’s a time for addressing them.
‘Or talk as well about an aspect of her character so the pretty is acknowledged but not primary.’ Dr Sandra Wheatley, psychologist and author of Helping New Mothers To Help Themselves, agrees: ‘It’s natural to dress up girls in a typically feminine way and there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as that’s not all you focus on. If you fight against human nature, you’ll always lose the battle.’
Thank you, modern psychologist lady, we could not have figured that out ourselves.  People haven’t known this for generations.  This, feminists, is your legacy: people being quoted in papers saying the obvious things that counter your messages of gender sameness and such bullshit.
The article concludes:

There’s no getting away from the fact that being comfortable and confident with her appearance will help my daughter get on in life. And as long as I help her to value her other more enduring qualities, feeling good about her looks is something I should encourage, too. So next time I brush her hair and she gives me that ‘tada!’ look, I won’t feel guilty about telling her how pretty her curly hair looks. And I won’t even mind if she says mine is pretty, too.

All children, while growing up in a physical world and addressing the day to day issues herein, need to learn that it’s the things we can’t see that truly matter.  Maybe next time the Daily Mail will publish an article that delves a little deeper into the subject.  *snrk*

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost. “
-J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
-C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
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One Response to “Mommy am I pretty? NO, you’re UGLY!”

  1. Well done

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