Girl Talk: How do you teach a child to embrace their inner beauty in a world where boob jobs and rehab are the norm?
As little girls, we watched our mothers put on makeup. We wore her heels clumsily around the house and played dress up for hours. These girls are looking to us as the person they want to be like when they grow up. Instead of teaching them to embrace their individuality, we are giving them role models with sex tapes and this is who our daughters emulate. At what age do we so desperately start wanting to be someone else?
Walking through a local makeup store the other day I saw a whole department marketed to children. This wasn’t just nail polish or lip gloss, but mascaras, foundation and false eyelashes. I grew up in the days of Bonne Bell Chap Stick (still love the Dr. Pepper flavor) and Lisa Frank everything. The ’80s were a time of wild, bright colors and little girls still dressing their age. Now as a mother, I see mid-drifts and skinny jeans as my daughter’s clothing choices. I see girls in second grade stuffing their bras (I don’t think I even started wearing one until 5th grade) and I see the modern day role models being sexualized and excessively grown up.
Not even toys are safe. With the roll-out of a new Barbie doll who comes with pads and tampons and preschool toys that teach girls how to do make-overs, we are hardly letting our kids be kids. The millenials were the first generation of girls to grow up in this excessively sexualized world. Instead of feeling terror at the thought of being 16 and pregnant, we made girls like that celebrities. Instead of teaching modesty, we teach our daughters you can break the internet by posing naked. Instead of their role models being accomplished scientists or musicians or artists, they are women who had a boob job or went to rehab.
How do we shield them from growing up too fast? Is attempting to shield them going to cause them to socially fall behind? How do we set the example they need to see as opposed to the example they are destined to see?
We need to teach the future generations to embrace their inner beauty and to be good people. The world is lacking in good character. As more of us become parents, we need to fix that. Don’t raise bullies and beauty queens. Raise children with morals, ethics and manners. Teach them to value their inner beauty.
Finally, remember they are watching you. That little girl strutting down the hallway in your heels is doing it because she sees how beautiful you look when you do it. She is going to want to be just like you. It is up to you to decide what kind of person that will be.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.