Friday, March 2, 2007

Thanks Janet...

Annie's Aunt Janet sent her an almost life-size Barbie make-up head thing for her birthday. Ugh! Cheap make-up and a narrow ideal of feminine beauty all in one gift! Hmmmm. I was delighted to see Annie trying out a more "tribal" make-up look on herself than the packaging was suggesting. (See above photo!) I hope she can continue to find her own definition of beauty as she grows!

Maybe you're saying to yourself, "Oh don't overreact Patrice... she's just a little girl having fun!" Yes, she is a little girl, and even with limited access to media, I see she's getting the media message. If you look skinny you'll be happier! If you just buy _______ you'll feel satisfaction! Just yesterday, Annie expressed to me how she wants to look skinny. Wow!? I asked her why, and she said that she wanted to be a princess and that princesses are skinny. Ugh! She's never really seen much princess stuff at all! So, I tried to guess what it was she was after.

"Hmmm, are you wanting to feel special, and cared about?"


"Are you wanting to have fun and attention?"


Then I asked her if she thought that girls that were bigger were as happy as the smaller girls, and she said


Whoa! How to proceed? I'm not sure. All I know is that I will continue to share with her what I value, and
I value very highly the intrinsic...caring for my own and others feelings and needs, caring for the earth, following my heart, listening to my gut...and that's what brings me peace, happiness and beauty.


nina said...

Wow-I thought if I protected my dd from the media, television and magazines (I won't even let her look at the Pottery Barn Kids catalog) that she wouldn't pick up on this message. The photo is quite dramatic and I love the use of the makeup. I must agree that the Barbie head is terrible. Does your sister not know how you live? I could see my in-laws buying something like it. Last year they bought Citcat a portable DVD player and a video. I just looked at them and said "I'm sorry but you will need to take this back." We don't watch video or television. They think I'm nuts.

I going to leave a link to a post on another blog about "size doesn't matter" and my comment as well. I think children do get the message that the little skinny kids are cute and special.

futuregirl said...

I had one of those Barbie heads growing up. I'm pretty sure I begged for it. I turned out OK ... I think. :) I don't wear makeup or obsess about my looks.

There is no way for you to keep those messages away from her, but I think that if you just consistently say things from your view point, your message will end up being stronger since she knows and loves you. When Annie says she wants to be skinny to be a princess, you could just say, "That's silly. You don't have to be skinny to be a princess."

And even if you were able to keep her from seeing any advertising messages, you can't keep her out of the world. The sad truth is that skinny people are treated differently than not-skinny people in our society ... she is going to see not-skinny people being treated differently in the store, on the beach, etc.

But, I'd never worry about a kid that asks for a unibrow. She's definitely going to be her own woman, even if she dabbles in the dark arts (aka Barbie princess land) during her journey. I think your wonderful example as a parent and woman will have a good influence on her.