What lies beneath?

At what age do girls become unattractive?
When we look at newborns we marvel at how perfect they are. As toddlers and young children we remark on how cute they look, and use words such as “handsome” and “pretty”. When they are ten and eleven, we appreciate their fresh faced childish faces, faces we believe to be beautiful.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/adwriter/339057805/">adwriter</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

Yet within three years those “beautiful” faces will be a rare sight. They will be hidden beneath layers of makeup. The sad truth is that the majority of young teenagers wear makeup. They go out of their way to change how they look, and even though as parents we may object, as a society we say nothing. We are not outraged, or even upset. It is now considered “normal” and “acceptable”.

As I look at my own three girls I rarely see their faces in front of me. I forget to look at the odd freckle or spot. I fail to see the scar from that fall off the bike, or the mark from an old chicken pox.

So what do I see when I look at my girls?

I look at them and I can see if there is a worry in their eye, or a frown on their forehead. Is this a happy day for them, or are they in pain, hiding something that I wish for them to share with me? Sometimes I see a look of mischief and I am alert, or a look of guilt and I begin to investigate. There are times when I see the tired look of stress from study or lack of sleep, or I see the look of eager anticipation when a good night out is planned. As I look at them I can see so much, but rarely do I see what they look like. When I look at the faces of my three girls I see my children. I see perfection. I see everything I could have wished for.

I wonder what do they see? Are they happy with themselves or do they care? My eldest daughter happily did a no make up selfie, does that mean she is comfortable with who she is? Or is she “brave?”.

With the numbers doing “no make up selfies” rising every day, I wonder at the title “brave”. Why is it brave to be the you you are. Is it really brave at all?

For myself I think for the majority it is brave. Many of those who bared all have never appeared in public without make up. They have been wearing a mask for many years. For many this mask has given them courage and confidence. Therefore I do think to cast it aside voluntarily is in fact brave. To do so publicly in order to support others who give brave a whole new meaning, is great to see, and as someone who has seen the results of fundraising for cancer, I salute them.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennifrog/3512510280/">jennifrog</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

However it doesn’t change the fact that in our modern society we are doing something wrong. Somehow our young girls are learning at the age of thirteen, that they are just not pretty or beautiful. They look in the mirror and are unhappy with what they see.

Why? Who taught them that?

As a parent I ponder this tonight. And I hope that in time I am successful in teaching my girls to see what I see. To know that they are perfect just the way they are. To feel the strength within them of their grandparents and great grandparents. To discover that happiness does not come from hiding behind a mask, but from standing tall and embracing who they are.

I hope that in the years to come my girls can look in the mirror and smile, as they clearly see what I see, the beauty that lies beneath.

photo credit: jennifrog via photopin cc
photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc
photo credit: pumpkincat210 via photopin cc

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35 thoughts on “What lies beneath?

    1. I’ll come back to you in twenty years, when I know what my girls become. I have discovered if I don’t look in the mirror I am a lot happier with how I look. 🙂

  1. Beautifully said, and I am happy that you are determine to show your daughters how amazing they are, because there are many parents who (sometimes not on purpose) contribute to the feeling that woman, girl or a child is not pretty enough, not attractive enough, not good enough. That happened to me, I had to find my own worth.
    I am so sad you have more than 1000 followers, since I wanted to include you in my upcoming awards (I have to pass my along). I really do enjoy reading your blog.

    1. I’m delighted to hear it thank you. I may have over 1000 followers but that is not the same as readers believe me. Congrats on your award.
      I am glad you have found your inner worth, nice choice of words.

      1. Yes, I believe you… Still, now you know. 🙂 Thank you, I feel like I have absolutely nothing to do with award, it is a strange feeling… Like the previous ones, I love to get them, they are precious to me, but I can’t pin down the “why” I got them. I know, I wouldn’t get them if my writing and everything I do and share isn’t interesting, and I do think of all my posts as my babies, but it is strange to praise yourself…If I’m making any sense? 🙂
        Yes, I am glad to, but to be completely honest, it is something I have found but can’t follow 100% for now, it is a bad habit of mistreating myself that can’t change overnight. It is a journey, definitely. And one of the reasons I am scared to have kids, unfortunatelly.

        1. Oh I hope you can come to terms with who you are. Writing is wonderful for that, allowing us to dig and explore ourselves and life. Best wishes.

  2. Bravo Tric. Over the years I’ve heard in one form or another that someone had to “put their face on” or “get ready”. I never understood. I have never worn makeup. And on most of my days off I don’t bother “fixing” my hair beyond washing it every day. “Bed head” is my style on most Saturday and Sundays. I like your message. And hope my children learn it as well.

    1. I’m not a makeup kindof girl but I do sometimes wear a little. However when I go to work a couple of days a week in a shop, the changing room mirror is opposite the till. If I’ve forgotten to wear my small bit of makeup I keep the curtain closed, as it is not a pretty sight. When I can’t see myself I feel great. 🙂

  3. I’m one of those who puts her face on before I leave the house. I’m ashamed to say, it gives me more confidence. When my twins were babies, I didn’t wear it as I just didn’t have time. Now my daughter wants to wear make-up, to be pretty like me-she’s 4 years old. I stopped wearing it for only a few weeks. What I fool I feel. People are so used to seeing me with makeup. They think there’s something wrong when I don’t wear it..

    1. To each their own, I actually don’t mind or even notice makeup on others, unless they are heavily made up. It just struck me today, that as young as 13 we begin to dislike how we look. I thought it was sad, whatever about us as parents but our beautiful children.

      1. I think I was 13 when I started wearing make-up.. I told Eva she is beautiful and won’t need it. Only old mummies use it. :o) I wish I did’t wear it. My skin was so much better when I didn’t.

  4. well said, tric. with 3 daughters i have always worried about this. they tried all sorts of looks, just as i did, and i’m happy we’ve each found our way back to being who we really are. once, years ago, when i was a waitress, i had on what i considered my ‘full makeup’ face when someone said, ‘wow, that’s cool you don’t wear a stick of makeup!’ apparently i wasn’t as made up as i thought )

  5. my favourite photo of Anita is one where she is wearing NO makeup and her hair is tousled

    in general I find women with little or no makeup and unruly hair incredibly sexy – lots of make-up and perfectly groomed hair, makes them appear unapproachable – a sort of ‘you can look but don’t touch’ !

    recent research reported from work at Bangor Uni in Wales suggests I am not alone amongst men in preferring women who wear little makeup

    http://tinyurl.com/kx26wam

    which begs the question, why do women wear so much makeup? Is it for themselves? Or to appeal to men? If the latter, it appears they would do better without. If for themselves, why do they think they need it? and what role do women’s magazines play in fomenting this dissatisfaction with their appearance through photoshopping pictures of models in their mags?

    1. I do think women wear make up for themselves, but inadvertently for men. Most women think they look better with it on and therefore I think they believe men will do likewise.
      I never really got into it, but as I’ve got older I do put on a small bit when I’m going out, otherwise I might look a bit like that katy perry pic! 🙂

  6. The whole idea of makeup is to cover up imperfections. But, who ever said that those were imperfections in the first place? I love seeing fresh faced, real people. I haven’t worn make-up in over 8 years and love the freedom!

    1. Wow eight years makeup free, that is a long time. I can imagine how free you would be. I use a small bit occasionally so can’t admit to being free.

  7. Societal pressures are tough. So I agree with you, I think its brave of them to walk outside with naked faces telling the world this is me. I can’t imagine what some females must go through to try to keep up, I remember seeing my sister in our late teenage years spending hours, and I do mean hours, preparing to go out. She would come out the bathroom a total different person. Funny thing, at times I asked her how did her date go, sometimes she would say, something like “he didn’t like ME.” Now you have me wondering…well it wasn’t you.

    Lovely piece, may I add that sometimes the last person to see the beauty in them is the person looking in the mirror day in and day out. We are tough critics of ourselves.

  8. Tric, this is an excellent, thought-provoking post. I think taking a no make-up selfie for some is their comfortableness with whom they are. I have a daughter, and I worry about whether she will have self-esteem throughout her life. I try to teach her that she is wonderful for who she is, but my message cannot compete with the messages out there in the media and such. The self-esteem problems start so young nowadays. For example, when my daughter was four in day care, she complained to me that some kids at school told her she wasn’t cute or pretty. Four years old! My goodness.

    Based on your post, I can tell you are a great mom who is trying her best to impart that self-esteem in her girls. Thank you for this post.

    1. Thank you. I think if your daughter hears from you often enough how wonderful she is just being herself, that in time your message will get through. I agree though as parents we are up against it with the message the media gives our children.

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