Being a parent has been the most humbling experience of my life.
I've never known how many ways there are to mess up, second-guess, and then keep messing up. Does the messing up ever stop?
But enough about my parenting foibles.
One friend of mine sent some of her thoughts my way.
Her mom did not allow her to have Barbies as a child, and she was the ONLY KID without a Barbie. Looking back at the why of this, she writes,
I think it was more about teaching me to like myself and trying to avoid having weird, narrow, impossible ideas about beauty and a distorted sense of femininity jammed down my throat. It was part of a larger idea, I think a backlash to being raised in the 50's... There were a lot of things - no makeup, jewelry, dressing a bit too much like a Pilgrim, etc. Note: I would avoid doing anything to help make your child a social reject.(Noted.)
She goes on:
There are two points here from my wise friend:I think WAY too much emphasis is placed on women's looks all across the board (like people talking about Hillary Clinton's hair or ankles when everyone in government is freakin' hideous) and in many cases, it is what women are noticed or praised for, rather than being smart or funny or creative. I sometimes wonder if the emphasis on looks comes at the expense of developing these other skills. In retrospect I think many of my mom's ideas were great and probably helped us be strong, healthly independent women who don't have eating disorders.
1. How much potential remains untapped because instead of developing fully, we're learning how to curl our eyelashes? Or straighten our hair? Or reading about "makeup magic" and "the best bikini for you"?
Because this, right here, takes up brain space. And I'd actually prefer if anyone who works for me in government doesn't look even a little bit like they're trying to be hot. Because there's not enough time to read through every bill AND get a Pilates 8 pack. There's just not. Besides, when is the last time someone did a fashion shake down on these guys:
I want my representatives teeth to be the color of coffee from late nights working towards justice for all.
We keep confusing the two worlds:
Paid models = less than 5% of the population, ooooh, plus re-imaging, so actually 0% of the population.
And then us. You and me and everyone we know. And the people we vote into office.
2. Would my wise friend be the sage she is today had her mom NOT dressed her like a pilgrim? Or the bigger question here: what did yer mama do right? Or what did she do so wrong that they are now THINGS YOU WILL NEVER DO WHEN YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER?