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Next time you talk to a young girl, tell her that she is pretty awesome. Let her grow up to believe that she is not just a pretty face, but an amazing person.
“Oh, what a cute baby, so pretty, so beautiful!” Yes babies are cute and we all adore them but as they grow up into little girls and boys, can we look beyond their being just a pretty face? Or is it too difficult?
I read a quote on a website and it’s so profound that I made a resolve that I will never use the word pretty as is – ever for my child or that matter any other child.
I quote: “The word ‘pretty’ is unworthy of everything you will be and no child of mine will be contained in 6 letters. You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing but you will never be merely pretty!” This awesome quote is by Kate Makkai, a poet.
Wow is the word! I have always believed that young minds are very vulnerable and what you teach them at this age is something their tender minds will grasp and etch it in their memory and this will be very difficult to shake off. The unrealistic beauty standards these days, defining beauty in terms of fair skin, tall and petite, big eyes -no glasses of course – silky straight hair, perfect set of shining white teeth,… and the list goes on and on. TV and Internet are already doing enough damage by feeding this to our kids.
Remember Jassi in the popular soap on Sony- Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi, though we had an unconventional heroine which took the show and the protagonist places, finally it spilled cold water and went back to the same old and disappointing path of the plain Jane transforming into a ravishing chick and the hero falling in love with her new look. I had stopped watching the show after this as it was such a dampener.
Our fairy tales are not far behind here. The beautiful princess, handsome prince, evil ugly witch – well who had defined these? The witch need not always be ugly and black. Why not a plump, bespectacled and dusky heroine for a change? Time to re write the age old fairy tales and teach our kids something more realistic.
Let us look at Barbie, whom every young girl swoons over (I did it too). I was glad to hear that Mattel (the company that produces Barbie) has come out with 3 new variants which are more realistic – the names that they have given again seem weird and unrealistic but they are in essence the not so thin Barbie, the dusky, and tall. Well the #TheDollEvolves.
Looking at kids only in terms of their outer appearance and using that criteria to judge them or make a first impression for that matter is really unfair. What happened to intelligence, compassion, boldness, creative thinking, daring to be different and so much more? Aren’t these more relevant qualities and something we should focus on? Only ‘pretty’ without any qualifiers renders the word useless.
And by inadvertently feeding this to a child – “Oh you are a pretty face, you will have it easy”, we are doing more harm. The child will gradually develop a superiority complex and may become complacent in other aspects, after all – “Am I not pretty? Why do I need to work hard?” This is definitely not what we want to get our kids into.
I ask who has defined what is pretty? This definition itself is flawed. So are we implying those who don’t fit into the checklist of pretty are doomed and will only get it the hard way?
So dear fellow parents and those who are not yet there – the next time you meet a little girl let her know that she is much beyond her physical appearance. Let her discover her strengths, overcome her fears, face the hurdles and excel, and for that she needs to be taught that she is much than being pretty. She is pretty awesome, I would say.
Published earlier here.
Image source: a young girl by Shutterstock.
An avid reader, a shopaholic, head over heels in love with my little bundle of
Well written !!
Thanks a ton!!
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