The Ugly Side of Pretty.

There’s a great new blog out there on the web that you really should check out. Beauty Schooled – “An Investigation of the Price We Pay for Pretty” – full disclosure it’s my sister-in-law. And I really admire her as she takes on this project.

It is a running joke among my friends that none of us were “girly girls” until two of us got married. There is nothing wrong with that. We’re all awesome and are comfortable enough with who we are that that side just was not a big deal. I don’t mind getting all dolled up for a special event – that’s part of what makes it special. Day to day, the most I do is lotion up and be a bit crazy about my chapstick, but that’s all.

It came as a huge shocker to me (and seemed to time well with the start of the Beauty School Project) when Lorelai and I were out shopping a few weeks back. She was starting to fuss and at the check out she was a bit fixated on items in the jars. So, in the interest of buying myself a little more peace and quiet, I bought her the impulse item – a tube of chapstick. I figured, as is the case of most impulse buys, it’s not that much money, it keeps her happy and in the end I have a thing for chapstick and lip balm, so it was a win for me too. We continued walking around the shops and were inside one of them and I noticed Lorelai stopped at a mirror. As she was looking at herself she started to put the chaptstick tube to her cheeks, lips, eyes… where did she learn that?! – not from me. I asked her what she was doing and she kept saying “Draw on your face”. She was quite serious about it.
I think I mostly kept my cool and didn’t give her too big a reaction about it – but still it struck me. Maybe she actually paid attention to the make up advertisements that come on at the end of Sesame Street? (Which is stupid anyway. I know they are targeted at the moms, but really – if my kid is content to watch the show and I can get up for a few moments to put dishes away or eat my own breakfast, then I’m not always right there to turn it off.)

She’s already working her skin-care routine.
I’m being sarcastic on that one. She likes lotion – that’s a daily thing we do here, we have really bad dry skin.

In the end I think it’s probably nothing, just something she figured out how to do, but it is still unsettling to me. I am not against make-up. I am not against getting pretty with some make-up help. I am not entirely against spa parties, but not for a 6 year old. (Ugh. Seriously.) I can’t stop watching the kiddie beauty pageant shows on tv even though I am against those (and am so glad they are not a big part of the culture here in New England.)

Have you seen this as well? Operation Beautiful

4 thoughts on “The Ugly Side of Pretty.

  1. Ugh, I know just how you feel. My 3.9yo has started insisting that she wash her face with my soap (which, ironically, is Dove) so that she "can be beautiful." I have no idea where she picked that up as I barely even wash my face every morning, never mind putting on make-up or anything else.On the flip side, she has recently started putting her "lip stuff" (what we call chapstick in our house) on her nose so she "can smell it better" and then calling it "nose stuff." So if she is going to be joining any beauty pageants they will have to be of the alternate variety!

  2. kids pick up on subtle things like that at a really early age. i wasn't allowed to watch much tv when i was young. looney tunes occasionally, and pbs–sesame street and nova. they didn't have ads on pbs in the 70s.but still, i have a distinct memory of being five years old and sitting on the edge of the tub, and looking at my thighs. i told my mom that my thighs were fat, because of how they spread out when i was sitting down. nobody in my family had ever worried about weight–i turned out to be the weight-obsessed one for a while, in high school and college. but i had picked up on something from the media somehow, even though i barely watched tv at all til i was in my teens.this culture that empahsizes beauty so harshly is really pervasive, in ways that i don't even quite understand. but it got to me early, despite having role models who were unconcerned with such things.

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