Monday, March 31, 2014


There's all of this fuss going around about how photo-shopped images set a too high standard for beauty and Barbie should look more natural. It got me thinking - where do our children really learn these standards?

Tonight was the mother-son ball at my 7 year old's school. I've been so excited for this (as has my son) all week. So today, prior to the commencement of our evening together, I posted to Facebook, "Date night with my boy! He's taking me out for dinner, then we'll be dancing the night away at the mother-son ball! Time to get glamorous!"

We began with some last minute shopping and then proceeded home to get ready for the evening. I retreated to my bathroom, as any girl would, to put on my makeup, which I so very rarely do!  But I know he likes it.
Then I paused, and thought about this, and wondered, why? Why does he like it when I wear make-up? Who told him to? Where did he learn about beauty? Why am I "getting glamorous" to go to a dance at my 7 year old's elementary school?

I can only answer the last question, which will in turn raise more "whys". I'm getting "glamorous" because it makes me feel good! A mom of 2 boys, house is a mess, I work way too much, and spend my free time playing in the dirt. Getting dolled up feels nice. - You know you're a stay at home mom when a trip to Target is an excuse to get dressed up.

Why? I dunno. Just cuz. Any excuse to dress "pretty". I know where my idea of pretty comes from - pop culture, peers, certainly not Barbie - she wasn't as much of the idol we say she is when I was growing up.  But this leads me back to my child; where did he learn all of this?
His exposure to television is extremely limited. He rarely sees commercials. We live in a small town, so he doesn't often see 12' tall billboards of women with painted faces. His peers are surely not wearing make up. When we go out with my friends, it's usually guys and we're usually rock climbing. So where? Why?

He joins me in the bath room while I'm doing my hair, or attempting to, and comments on the different make-up paraphernalia. "Here put this one on... and this one... did you do this one yet?"  So on and so forth, as if it were ingrained in his head from birth, "more, more, more" that's what's pretty, to hide the natural. And then suddenly, getting glamorous didn't feel so good.  I asked him why he thought I needed more to be pretty, to which he replied, "I dunno. You don't. Let's go."  So I brushed off the icky feelings just as quickly and we enjoyed our night.

Journey of Life photo

fashion, the capitol, journey of lifeHe was the chivalrous gentleman, opening doors, paying for dinner, all those wonderful things our boys should learn to do, so their future ladies will be treated as the gems they are. I hope my son isn't superficial when he grows up. I hope he loves a girl no matter what she wears, or how she does her hair, or if she wears make-up and especially when she doesn't. I hope he understands "I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together" and I truley hope the prophecy of people of "The Capital" are not in our future; because somehow, even children know cultural beauty, regardless of advertising.

journey of life, pop culture, dolls, look-a-like

In short, I don't think these ads and photoshopped women have all the mock up and destruction on our psyches as we try and say they do! Neither does Barbie - she came out in 1959, and it's only now, with all of pop culture screaming "we have a problem" did a problem begin. Afterall, did the 1940's children desire to have pursed lips, torn britches and dreds to be more like Ragedy Ann? I think not, in fact that's more of today's fashion! I have a niece, who's 2, she loves to dress up and twirl around to strike a pose, although her mother wanted her to be a "tom-boy". Why is it, that apparently, we must teach our boys the dying art of chivalry, but we appear to be born with some innate understanding of beauty in our culture?

I realize I still didn't answer the question addressed in the beginning of this post, so I ask you,
Where do you think cultural beauty is learned?

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