During a naptime Facebook scroll, I came across this article in The Inquisitr, and I nearly threw the glass baby bottle I was holding against the wall.
If you don’t care to click through and read, let me summarize:
Lady Gaga’s “belly steals the show” at the Super Bowl, because… wait for it… it’s there.
It takes only a partially-functioning set of eyeballs to see that this alleged “belly” that was offending so many Super Bowl viewers was, in actuality, her skin that happened to move around her leotard as she danced and sang and entertained a GAGILLION people during the most-watched television event of the year. How dare her anatomy function as it should??!
It’s no secret, we women have been subjected to judgment based on our looks—and sometimes our looks alone—since time immortal. It’s a lesson we learn early—that what we do matters, yes, but how we look when we do said things also matters.
And hey, that’s okay. For me and so many others, beauty (and its accompanying rituals) is fun. We embrace it, we exploit it, we enhance it. There is no shame in any of that. (Hell, have you seen my list of posts about beauty products I’m obsessed with?) Eventually every girl learns how to balance the world’s expectations of us with what we want to be. In other words, We learn how to say F U.
So no, it’s not the existence of the beauty standard in our world that bothers me and makes me want to smash glass objects whilst holding a small child.
It’s the prevalence of it.
The thousands of voices, chiming in everywhere, deciding how our girls and women should look.
It’s the judgment on our girls face from the moment they leave those nursery walls.
And it’s the fact that those hateful words are EVERYWHERE these days. The inescapability of all that noise.
This is the world our little girls are growing up in. And—someone pass me my cane and Polident—“It’s so different these days.”
Our girls are growing up in a world inundated with images—pictures and videos showing them what “beautiful women” look like, what they do, how they shop, primp, decorate their homes and more. And these picture “stories” are most often literally right at their fingertips. Daily, they take in media of how women “should be,” holding in their hands very fake images that purport to be very real.
It’s enough to make the mom of any daughter want to scream.
That’s why I fight every day, here on this blog and in real life with my children, to be as real in the way I live my life as I can. My kids will see me cry; they will sometimes hear me scream; they will see me at my worst; and they will learn that that hey, that’s life, and it’s okay. When I screw up, I will apologize and acknowledge it.
I will not aim to be perfect for them; I will aim to be real.
And I will teach–with the hope they actually absorb it–that it is never okay to be that person, posting anonymously behind a keyboard, who gets to decide who they should be or what they should look like.
Why? Because, greater than my fear of them thinking life is hard, is my fear that they think life, and people, should be perfect.
It goes for women’s bodies and appearances just as much as it goes for everything else in life.
If we can’t love what’s real, then what is there that’s left to love?