There comes a day in every girl’s life when she realizes she is not the prettiest princess in the room. I’m not sure exactly when that day was for me, but I know I was very young. Now raising a daughter, I can tell you every girl is born into this world knowing she is the most gorgeous, amazing creature ever. Every body part, including her tummy, is something to be examined (and possibly chewed on) with delight. Jelly Bean is 2.5 years old and watching her frolic after bath time tonight assures me she has not yet lost that fairy magic. But while some of us keep that wonder a bit longer than others – I think having parents who adore every inch of you helps – somewhere between babyhood and girlhood, it’s gone. Extinguished like a candle under a cup. The candle is still there, of course, but it no longer lights our way.

Before we even learn words like “glass ceiling,” we learn two irreconcilable facts: 1) Beauty is our currency, and 2) We will never be beautiful enough. And every girl (and let’s be honest, many boys, too) then has to decide how to make sense out of this nonsense.

I’ve seen a lot of different reactions to this:

  • The pretty girls who are pretty enough and determined enough to try to keep climbing that ladder. Maybe, just maybe, if they work out a little longer, eat less dessert, buy a designer dress, get implants, and have just the right hair, they will be rechristened Prettiest Princess Ever. Or at least the prettiest princess in their particular room.
  • The average girls who try to make the best of what they’ve got and then fight like crazy to be the smartest, funniest, or wittiest instead (never realizing these ladders go to the same nowhere as the pretty ladder; no achievement will ever be deemed “enough” either).
  • The average girls who try to take themselves completely out of the game. They aren’t much into makeup, hair, or clothes. Many (successfully) just try to blend in. Tall poppies get cut down, after all. And you can’t mourn the loss of something you never had, right?
  • The girls who rage against the box they’ve been put in by getting Mohawks and tattoos, buzz cuts, and f*** you attitudes — and yet are still unable to hide the beauty they were born with.
  • The girls who are afraid of their own beauty. Many have been abused or bullied. Often their beauty, or lack thereof, was cited as the cause — a way to place the blame for the evil committed against them, on them. Too many believe it.
  • The girls that society marginalizes for a variety of defects: too fat, too thin, too much nose, too little lip, too pale, too brown, too shy, too talkative, too too.

 

(Continue Reading @ Frugivore…)

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  • AJ

    well the little girl in the picture is definitely pretty enough! what a little beauty

  • tee

    Most children are told they are beautiful growing up. But society has more impact that what your mama said. “There will ALWAYS be someone prettier, smarter, more stylish and talented than you. Work with what YOU have” doesnt really help much does it….
    because what you’re saying to me is that I’ll always be uglier that someone else. There’s a comparison there, why always compare ourselves to other people??

  • Fuchsia

    lol #1 and it’s a full time job. Always late, always in the mirror, always smiling, and yes always counting the number of compliments you can garner in a day or that fairy magic has failed you. All this while pretending what people think don’t bother you one bit. Cry later, and never let anyone see that ugly cry face.

    I notice beautiful people everywhere, and I mean beautiful on the inside not just naturally pretty or handsome. Nobody really likes just another pretty girl, there’s something lacking, almost sadly empty. True beauty is the real ticket. I think all honest pretty girls know that. But what they don’t know is that you really can’t find it in this material world.

    To somehow reach beauty through grace, intelligence, kindness and compassion is the real test of beauty for me. Without true beauty #1 might as well be 0.

  • Paul

    I suppose teaching one’s daughter to help in the struggle to create a more equal, just and sustainable world is out of the question.

    Well actually, yeh – it appears so.

    And no doubt one’s daughters will end up in the same mental and societal cages that mommy is too institutionalized to simply –

    walk out of.