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From the time I was a little girl, I was always disappointed that no one ever told me that I was pretty or cute. And so, I wasn’t very old when I learned to accept the fact that I was never going to be a “beauty,” and once I accepted that, I never worried about it again. I knew that I had other attributes and for some reason, I was funny, so I never worried about beauty. Now that I am old nothing is farther from my thought than my appearance, but what does annoy me is how a little girl and an old woman still have to hear pointed remarks about their appearance and even veiled and really stupid remarks!
I was listening to the radio the other day and someone was discussing a certain woman. I was shocked to hear the speaker talk about the woman like she was a house plant! She was lovely with gorgeous, lush, shiny hair, beautiful and limpid blue eyes and a gorgeous mouth that just begs to be kissed. Who is this woman? Nobody that I know! But it did make me think about all the ads on TV and radio that are focused on women. Do you ever hear anyone say how smart, clever, funny or generally a terrific person she is? No, when it is a woman who is being discussed it is always how gorgeous she is. And it really ticks me off.
Have you ever heard anyone discuss the physical attributes of a man unless he is being touted for his strength and physical abilities? I don’t think so. How embarrassing would it be to hear how gorgeous the president of the United States is. Lovely eyes, that he is tall and slim and his mouth just begs to be kissed? Don’t be ridiculous. And if we all agree that this is just not proper or correct, why is it OK to treat a woman so differently?
Before I rail on about how women are discussed, let’s think once more about little children. From the time they leave the womb, the physical attributes of little girls are fair game. And if the girl is cute and has lovely curly hair she is considered a star who has fulfilled everyone’s dream. Do we look at a little boy the same way? Absolutely not. Even if he is so cute that Gerber wants him for their own, boys are told that they are not only handsome, they are strong, virile and tough. I, myself, have heard people say to a little boy, “You look so terrific, will you play football when you grow up?” Never do you hear about his curls, eyes or lips and never does anyone say how smart he is and how he will probably grow up/go to Harvard and be so smart that he will make a million dollars.
Boys are automatically stars in their family because everyone knows that a family is not complete until it has, at least, one boy. Forget the fact that they have several girls who are just as smart or even smarter than their brother. The boy is encouraged to succeed in every aspect of his life and he can do so without having his physical persona mentioned and discussed every time he meets someone new.
I know that it is easier to compliment a little girl about her face and hair, but think about it, how do you think it makes the little girl who is less physically attractive, feel? And even the little girl who receives the compliment, does it make her feel that she has to fulfill whatever that type of compliment implies? I know a woman who has an older sister and she told me that she always knew that her sister was “the pretty one” and she was “the smart one.” And now that they are grown women, it still bothers her.
Here is my message of the day: think before you open your mouth and remember whatever you say can stay with a child forever. And if you have any ability to stop the degrading way many women are discussed, do so. Most women don’t decide how they will be portrayed as they grow up. Thick hair and a beautiful face are gifts that shouldn’t be taken for granted… and they shouldn’t define who you are. Girls who don’t have all those things that our society considers “beautiful” still have much to offer their family and their communities.
Eleanor Roosevelt was not a pretty woman and she was heralded, during her lifetime, as an American treasure. And think about all those other women who have worked for the good of humanity who were considered “average” in their looks but tremendously superior in their lives and works. And if you are like me and actually average in looks, remember that many, if not most, of the “beauties” you see in magazines, on TV and in the movies are really air-brushed and created to look that way. And you can be sure it isn’t easy to continue to look that way.
So, enjoy life and don’t sweat the “beauties.” They will end up as old, crabby women too, and for them, the trip to old age must be much harder than it is for average women like me!
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