Monday, April 22, 2013

Beautiful is as beautiful does.

Have you seen the newest Dove ad that's gone viral? It shows women coming in and describing themselves to a sketch artist, and then someone they just met coming in and describing them to the same artist.  The women are brought back in to review both sketches.  Of course, the sketches are different, with the ones done when describing themselves being "worse."

It's become a controversial spot.  A lot of people feel empowered by it, realizing they need to see themselves in a better light.  Others find it wrong, relying too much on our physical beauty and not enough on what "really matters" in life.

And they are both right.  Beauty matters, and how you live your life matters.  Don't think beauty matters?  Go watch that video of Susan Boyle's first performance on television...see the mocking and doubt many show because she isn't what people believe is beautiful.  Sure, people fell in love with her voice, and it made them a little more accepting.  But I guarantee you three things:  1. if she didn't have such a lovely voice, people would still be making her the butt of jokes, 2. People are still making her the butt of jokes, just not as meanly, and 3. People have told and are probably still telling her that she could be lovely, beautiful if only she would...  And that is usually the voice we hear over and over again in our head.

When you tell someone they would be beautiful if they would just lose weight, cut their hair, wear a little makeup?  You may be well-meaning, but you've probably now put that voice in their head for the rest of their life.  They will focus in on that one thing and will judge how other people are judging them by that measurement.

I don't tell my kids they are beautiful every day.  I tell them when they look nice (and when they need to shower...sigh).  I tell them when they are smart, when they do something kind, and when they are silly, not-so-smart and mean.  I try to temper those comments, making sure they know that the positives and negatives balance.  I want my children to grow up to appreciate the total package they looks and actions.  So I will discuss this article with my kids.  I will also discuss how sexist the Axe ads are, and how men and women aren't as stupid as commercials make them out to be.  Mostly, I will do my best to make sure they know they are beautiful in their own way.


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