This weekend I was scrolling through my social media, cheating on my wine with a homemade margarita, when I came across a picture of a beautiful little girl. This young girl could not have been older than four years old and I couldn’t help but notice that her face was caked in make-up. A FOUR year old!!
I can’t help but think this is seriously what is wrong with society. It is bad enough that children are growing up with social media and internet constantly sexualizing girls, but I think parents guilty too.
Why are parents putting their daughters in pageants, allowing them to wear revealing clothing and caking their faces in make-up? Why are parents putting their five year old daughters in provocative dance classes, dancing to explicit songs? It may be cute. It may be funny. But it is damaging to the child’s mental health. Kids need to be kids. They need to spend time playing outside with a ball. Not worrying if they are more beautiful than the girls competing in a contest. If they lose, they wonder what was wrong with them. Were my eyelashes not long enough? Did I need more make-up? Maybe I needed a different outfit? Are these questions a child hardly in elementary school need to be asking? I think not.
This is not okay.
Because of social media and the internet our daughters are inevitably going to learn the harsh realization that the vast majority of this world see women as a sexual object instead of a person. So why rush that? Social media and the internet has been the the largest contributor to women obtaining eating disorders, depression, and the need for plastic surgery. I read this article on the effects of this sexualized culture and this statement really spoke to me; “if we can change what girls see early on, we can change how they feel about themselves later in life.” It really gives you something to think about.
If children are raised to value beauty, how are they suppose to ever be comfortable in their own skin? I wasn’t raised that way. I wasn’t put into pageants and these grown up dance classes. Thankfully I was put into several different sports. I grew up playing rough and tough with the boys in dirt. Playing video games. That sorts of stuff. It wasn’t till middle school that I started realizing a change in what was normal to me. Suddenly it wasn’t “cool” to be getting dirty with a contact ball. The girls I were around started experimenting with make up and talking about the thong they stole from an older sibling and boys began flocking to them. Suddenly none of my friends that were boys were interested in me because I wasn’t pretty. That is when I became aware of the standards set by media. And it just gets worse from there.
Teen years in high school is when the sexualizing became a huge problem. This is when media really began to hit hard. Now everyone has been exposed to what the media deems a perfect girl should look like. She needs big breast, big butt, tiny waist, long legs, make-up, and clothing that shows this all off. In high school I had a tiny waist and flat stomach, lacking in everything else. I had friends starving themselves, cutting themselves, and emotionally troubled because they couldn’t look like the girls on t.v. I have, and still do struggle with accepting that “perfect” girl will NEVER be me. I have worn make-up to make my face more “socially acceptable.” I have seriously considered getting major breast inductions and possibly butt implants. I’d like to inject my lips with botox, and have a perfect manicure at all times. It has really depressed me for years that unfortunately I can’t afford these things. However I have thought hard on why I feel the need to have these things and the answer I’ve found is honestly to just be what society says beauty is. It’s not for me. It’s so men will find me attractive. By men finding me attractive, I thought that I would actually feel good about myself.
Let me just say to all the possible young girls reading this, and to the ordinary girls like me, beauty does not define you! I have found a man (that I will marry some day) who has found me beautiful with a body previously marked up from having an other mans child. A body far from perfect. He has accepted my insecurities and has endlessly discovered new ways to make me see that I am beautiful the way that I am. My body may not be perfect but it’s perfect to him.
Mothers of daughters, shield her from these false expectations as long as possible. She will soon enough, feel the need to look like a Kardashian. But for now, let her be a kid. Don’t rush it.