I've read a few articles that are titled things like "What you should say to your daughter instead of you're beautiful" or "Why I don't tell my daughters they are beautiful." And I think it's so sad.
Once upon a time (this means that I can't remember exactly where and who this story is about) I was with a group of people and they started talking about how they were shopping and found a shirt that said Beautiful Like Mommy. (take note, they also found a shirt that said Handsome like Daddy but they didn't care about that one.) They were appalled. They asked to speak to a manager so they could complain and eventually organized a petition that they sent to this store's headquarters and had all the Beautiful like Mommy shirt taken off the shelves, (once again, keep in mind the handsome like dad ones were still proudly displayed) The woman kept talking about how proud she was that she fought this injustice for her girls because she didn't want them to think that they were beautiful like mommy. Her daughters were smart and funny and confident, not beautiful. Now, I know what she meant. And kudos for her for fighting for what she believes in. I commend that. I typically don't. If the shirt bugged me, I wouldn't have bought it but that's the extent of my activism.
But here is what gets me. Why is beautiful suddenly the antithesis of intelligence? If someone is beautiful, does that mean that there is no way they can have anything else going for them? There was a kid in high school and me and my friend used to say that it wasn't fair that God gave with both hands. She was attractive. And smart. And funny. And athletic. I feel like that flies right in the face of this idea. There were lots of people like that. Girls and guys.
Sometimes when I'm out with Natalie, I'll tell her she is beautiful and other moms will glare at me. Uhm, hi, excuse me but my daughter can be told she is beautiful. That really isn't your business. Me telling her she is beautiful doesn't mean she is a dunce. I tell her she is smart and funny just as often as cute. I think it's nice when people tell me how cute she is. She is cute. Natalie is 17 different kinds of attractive. Why can't I compliment that? If I tell her she is smart, that's great. But you know what, if Sue Grocery tells Natalie how smart she is at the store,what does that mean? Uhm nothing. She doesn't know Natalie, she is entirely unaware of how smart she is. That is a completely empty compliment. Thanks for trying, I appreciate the thought but how is an empty compliment better than telling her she is beautiful? Telling her she is beautiful will help her to grow in confidence in that area of her life. Just like if I tell her she is funny, she will be funny because she thinks she is funny. Same goes for beautiful. I just don't understand at all why suddenly it contradicts each other.
When I was growing up, I was constantly complimented on how funny and smart I am. Thanks world, that's great. But you know what, I've never thought I was beautiful. Why you ask? Because people didn't tell me. Once in a while I would get oh you look just like your mom. Or you look just like Shelly and I have spent my entire life hearing how beautiful they are. I would also get you are a beautiful daughter of God. Which, maybe this is wrong, but I always took that to mean the same sort of thing as "sweet spirit."
I am so glad that I don't doubt my intelligence or my humor. I think I am dang funny. I make people laugh all the time. Honestly, it's probably my favorite thing about myself. And I am beyond proud that my kids have inherited a wonderful combination of mine and Jake's sense of humor. I am glad that I am smart. I know it. I am proud of it. I might not be Mensa material but I am able to teach my kids things and I can understand and comprehend things. I can keep up in conversations. I am going to teach these things about themselves as well. But you better believe that every single day of their lives, they are going to hear how beautiful/handsome they are. It matters too. It's not the most important thing but it matters. And every time they hear it, they are just going to take it at face value. It's not going to mean they are stupid. It is in no way going to negate their intelligence. If the world wants to fight a battle, that in my opinion is asinine, do it, just keep me and my kids out of it. It's just going to mean that in addition to all the other wonderful characteristics they have, they are nice to look at too.
Thanks for reading.
|They are saying Batman. Hence the open mouths haha|