Feminism Takes Shape At a Young Age
A post about feminism? Why golly gee, I thought women were equals at this point and received equal rights and had all the same opportunities men have. Ha! It's interesting, having recovered now from a long weekend at South Padre Island, pondering my own self-image, that I came across this post about how shaping a woman's perception of herself begins at a very young age. This post is timely, especially when some men apparently still believe women deserve to be paid less because of gender differences.
I digress. Ladies, I'm sure you can relate to the hours spent in front of a mirror, touching up hair and make-up and sifting through outfits upon outfits just to come up with something acceptable enough to wear out and be judged by other women. Maybe the mean girls in us can't be put to rest just yet (come on we all judge each other), but this post did open my eyes to the way we should be talking to little girls.
Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!"
But I didn't. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.
What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, hones
Suddenly your mind is starting to race with all the things you've ever said to kids isn't it? There's nothing wrong with telling a little girl how cute she looks in her princess dress, but imagine if at a young age we raised girls to think about what's inside their mind instead of judging on first glance (whether good or bad judgment) and making a comment about appearance.
The post had some other shocking revelations:
This week ABC news reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather winAmerica's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.
I remember always being told I needed to look proper, sit up straight, wear lipstick when I go out (and God forbid if it wasn't red) and always dress to impress. This isn't meant to discredit the value of making a good first impression, but remember that at the end of the day it's always what's in the mind that will truly be valued.
Come on girls, we have some really amazing female role models out there, let's prove that feminism really has gotten us far.