STOP! CEASE THE MADNESS!
In a way, this is a sequel to my last post. I wrote about grooming- besides a daily shower a fresh pair of underwear and shirt and teeth brushing, I basically suck at it. But then I just read this article via Blogher (I am not sure how best to reference this) about eight year old girls being taken to the spa for bikini waxes. Bikini waxes! WTF? It is like some sort of Strindberg play- the total absurdity of it blows my mind. Let us ignore the fact, for a moment, that an eight year old HAS NO HAIR DOWN THERE, and focus on the message these girls are receiving. A part of their body that hasn’t even grown in yet is already deemed unacceptable. They must eradicate it immediately. These girls are also the ones who are getting their eye brows pucked while their mothers hover over the aesthetician barking out orders. The eight year old girl already knows that she is not adequate. Her mother has already made sure of that.
Now, this kind of behaviour is as far from my reality as feasting with the Queen of England. This kind of narcissistic behaviour is obviously reserved for the rich and pampered of the world, who have nothing better to do but make sure they are more beautiful than everybody else (and by more beautiful I mean more plastic).People in my world do not send their duaghters to spas and beauty is not a regular topic of conversation. My daughters and their friends are still playing dress-up and pretend and are pre-occupied with ballet, music and school.
I am not saying, however, that my daughters shun everything that is girly or beautiful. Just this morning, my eldest daughter popped in a Bella Dancerella video her friend had given her (I am still reeling from the insipid, Stepford wife quality) and followed it to a T. My youngest daughter has made me read her the picture book Fancy Nancy about three times in the last 24 hours. And in my opinion, the author Jane O’Connor has got it right. Little girls like to dress-up. They are little magpies, attracted to everything that is glittery, puffy, and pink. But it is not in the way of Vogue- they are not concerned about whether or not they look fat in something or whether it is at the height of fashion. They just like pretty things. My daughters spent the years from the age of 2 to 6 wearing only dresses, the puffier sleeves, the more they looked like a disco ball, the better. They would put their dresses over their leggings and long sleeve shirts and wear them everyday. And in their minds they looked beautiful. Sometimes the dresses would be pink and the pants would be orange and the shirt blue. Sometimes they would dress themsleves in a blur of plaid, stripes and polkadots. And I kept my mouth shut. Why? Because why would I interfere with what they want to wear? My only concern as a mother is to make sure they are warm enough and clean enough. The rest they can decide for themselves. The important thing to remember is that they thought they looked great and beautiful and I was not going to tell them any differently.
My girls are going into the world thinking they look awesome. I am sure time and adolescence will probably dampen this, as well as school and the cruelty of their peers, but at least they have a good start.
I remember the first time my daughter’s “style” was called into question by one of her peers. She was in Grade one and she was wearing a skirt that looked like it was made out of cow skin. It was awesome and she felt like a cowgirl in it. But the first time she wore it, a boy commented on it and she came home crushed and crying. We talked about style and how we each have our own and we shouldn’t let other people dictate it to us. She listened and understood but she never wore the skirt again. That was the first episode of a world that dictates that she must look a certain way. Since then, she has met her best friend who likes to wear seal skin boots, her mother’s dresses to school and big fat furry coats. The acceptance level has gone up dramatically.
Now with the world being such a precarious place for our daughters’ self esteem, why would I contribute to it by sending her the message that her eye brows are not perfectly formed, that her nose might need some tweaking, that she might need a tummy tuck before long?
What the hell is wrong with us? How did this become so important?
I am reminded of a scene in Lady Chatterly’s lover that reminds me all the time about how I should view my body:
`Tha’s got such a nice tail on thee,’ he said, in the throaty caressive dialect. `Tha’s got the nicest arse of anybody. It’s the nicest, nicest woman’s arse as is! An’ ivery bit of it is woman, woman sure as nuts. Tha’rt not one o’ them button-arsed lasses as should be lads, are ter! Tha’s got a real soft sloping bottom on thee, as a man loves in ‘is guts. It’s a bottom as could hold the world up, it is!’
All the while he spoke he exquisitely stroked the rounded tail, till it seemed as if a slippery sort of fire came from it into his hands. And his finger-tips touched the two secret openings to her body, time after time, with a soft little brush of fire.
`An’ if tha shits an’ if tha pisses, I’m glad. I don’t want a woman as couldna shit nor piss.’
Connie could not help a sudden snort of astonished laughter, but he went on unmoved.
`Tha’rt real, tha art! Tha’art real, even a bit of a bitch. Here tha shits an’ here tha pisses: an’ I lay my hand on ’em both an’ like thee for it. I like thee for it. Tha’s got a proper, woman’s arse, proud of itself. It’s none ashamed of itself this isna.’
When they are all grown up, I want my daughters to be proud of their real woman arses.
Now that about says it all, doesn’t it?