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.
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.
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.