Monday, October 11, 2010

Beauty and The BEAST (that is the media)

As the mother of two beautiful daughters (in my "where-on-earth-did-they-come-from" humble opinion), I must admit that I fear for them. Adolescence is right around the corner. In fact, my oldest just entered the double digits a few weeks ago. They are both starting to care about what they wear, they're becoming a bit style conscious - and it is all just hitting me like a punch in the gut! UGH!!!

That's really not the subject of this post, but that is where it starts. I look at these wonderful girls of mine (and Bert's - of course) and I wonder what's in store for them. I see their strengths and their weaknesses, I see their talents and their shortcomings. I see everything about them and I am so excited for the way they are growing and the people they are becoming. And yet, in the same moment, that excitement gets a little tarnished when the world around me reminds me that it is there. And, it is waiting for them!

Everywhere I look I see story after story of this pop star or that movie star. Of course, the story really isn't about them, it is just about what they look like and what they are wearing. As much as I don't care how they all look in their bikinis, my real hope and desire is that my daughters won't care.

I hope that my daughters can develop a good, strong sense of self despite this over-sexed and over-exposed media that seems to have nothing more important to do than focus on the bodies of young women. It sickens me, and more importantly, it saddens me. Our girls are being taught over and over and over that their worth is defined by the size of their waists and their breasts. They are being compared, they are being judged, they are being categorized.

It can be a devastating thing for a young girl.

It angers me that the most fragile and innocent members of our society are the ones being targeted. And despite the efforts of companies to celebrate the unique beauty of each and every woman (thank you Dove), I am still greeted by "news stories" featuring scantily clad young women each and every time I turn on my computer.

We are fostering a situation where girls are growing up with society's standards for "beauty" being forced down their throats, instead of being encouraged to find and celebrate the beauty that they intrinsically possess.

If I could, I would just pull all of this nonsense out of their lives. But that would require a major lifestyle change involving complete isolation on a deserted island. (okay - so some days that doesn't sound so bad) But, realistically, I know that if they are going to find happiness in their lives, they need to find their own beauty and define it their own way, despite everything going on around them.

Not an easy challenge.

And to be honest, it is one that I lose sleep over sometimes.

But they are smart and gorgeous and strong. So I know that they can do it.
And they will do it.
And I will be cheering them on every step of the way.
(But a mom can worry, right?)

So, to my beauties - here's to celebrating you and who you are each and every day!

And to BYU Women's Services, thank you for the "Recapturing Beauty" campaign! Love it!


The Loosle's said...

It is scary!!! Your girls are so cute and sweet and they have great parent...that is two amazing things they have on their side.

K said...

I think I have a problem with this some days still and I am almost 40! It is a tough thing to deal with. It is hard on girls, but I am noticing and learning that boys are under pressure as well to look a certain way. Isn't it terrible what society does to our sweet little innocent kids? Great post.

Jenny said...

You have voiced some of the same concerns that I have for my 3 girls. We are in the middle of the teen years at our house. I have talked with my girls about dressing modest and the effects it has on boys. How to encourage friends or even pick good friends. It is a wonderful challenge that lays ahead.

Lara said...

As a mother to three girls, I wholeheartedly agree. It kills me when any of them say that they dont' look right, or that they look fat (whatever!!!) or ugly.

This is an awesome thing, thank you for sharing.