Pretty in Pink?
Kids know how to hit where it hurts sometimes.
We were sat watching some ‘So you think you can dance?’ (approx title) kind of programme the other day. A couple whirled around the dance floor, the man in a snappy black suit and the woman in a floaty pink dress that resembled styled candyfloss. She wore high heels and had beautiful long, thick, wavy, golden blonde hair and a perfect hourglass figure.
Darlek was transfixed, and Sausage similarly so. A nice relaxed end to a manic day, I was enjoying the peace and quiet. My mood changed when Sausage stopped staring at the TV and started trying to remove my glasses. He knows full well that my glasses are delicate and are not something to play with, so I didn’t really understand the sudden interest in them.
Then he said ‘Take glasses off mummy’ and pointed at the TV. ‘Make you pretty like her’ he said. Call me sensetive, but it felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach. I don’t think childhood insecurities ever fully go away, well for me they don’t. Over the years I’ve buried them under a bit of bravado, but underneath I think I’ll always be a speccy four eyed, straggly haired, awkward 13 year old. It really did hit me hard.
In true responsible mummy fashion, I decided it was just the media polluting his little brain, telling him that prettiness and attractiveness always comes in a pink, frilly, high heeled package – so I decided to explain a few things to both children. Whilst they carried on watching the beautiful people dancing about on the stage, I muttered half to myself, half to them about how people are pretty on the inside, and that is more important than anything else.
Having said that, I sat on the sofa in my knackered jeans, with a faded ketchup stain on one sleeve of my top, wearing my big black Cat boots, with my hair that hasn’t been cut for a year (I never get around to getting it done) with a lump in my throat.
Darlek often looks me up and down when I go out. The other day she said ‘Mum, you know you said about white lies? Well, I’d tell you something now, but it would hurt your feelings and you’d be mad at me. So….(loaded pause)….I think you look very nice’. Ouch! Bruised ego!
All I can say is that, in time, I’m hoping they’ll realise beauty is in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes. I try very hard to put this across to them, but I’m battling against TV, Barbies and Bratz, billboards, magazines and peer pressure. I’m just hoping something is sinking in, and they make their own decisions about beauty, rather than believing everything celebrity culture throws at them.
In the meantime I’ll just have to keep pointing out how big boots are sassy (that’s big ‘Boots’ in case you read that wrong), that people look good in clothes that they feel confident in, whether they’re fashionable or not, and that people are still beautiful even if they’re over 30 and over the hill. It’s the sparkle in the eyes that’s important. My grandma is 91, and she’s one of the most beautiful people I know.