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International Women’s Day and the End of Ugly

I’m about to jump into a G+ hangout with some incredible women. The folks from ONE want to talk about women in Africa. I have some questions but mostly I’m looking forward to listening and learning.

Last night someone pointed me to a post titled The Inevitable Ugliness of Women. It includes the sentence:

There will come a day when my daughter will feel ugly for the rest of her life.

Really? It struck a chord with many of my peers. I was left scratching my head. I certainly had days where I didn’t feel perfect but I never felt ugly. I’m a very average woman I was a pretty average kid. Feeling ugly is not inevitable.

Actually, not that average. I grew up by the beach. I was the slightly ethnic looking girl with the kinky dark hair surrounded by girls with straight blonde hair. I probably did stick out. My cousin looked at my fifth grade soccer picture and wrote, “You’re surrounded by a sea of blondes…”.

AYSO 1981

And I was. Maybe I should have felt ugly?

We knew who the pretty girls were in school and I know who the pretty moms are in town. I’m not saying that I don’t notice how people look but I am confused when I hear people who think that all women feel ugly.

I don’t think that’s true.

I also don’t believe that the mean girls phenomenon is a given.

I don’t think that little of women.

My husband never tells our daughter she is pretty. He tells her that she looks pretty and then tells her why. For example, “Your hair looks pretty like that.” I’m less mindful of every word, but that’s sort of the nature of our marriage. He watches his words and I apologize a lot.

I know that I’ve never told our children that their looks would bring them anything. I’ve never told them that life is better or easier when you’re attractive because I don’t think it is. I think the world is actually much more complicated for people who make a living based on their appearances. I’ve told my son and my daughter that life is easy for people who work hard and who give more than they take.

I guess what I’m asking on International Women’s Day is that you treat your daughters like you treat your sons.

5 thoughts on “International Women’s Day and the End of Ugly”

  1. Parenting a daughter is very different for men and women. I don’t mean for that to sound like a value judgment either.

    But there are things that we see so very differently based upon our experiences. If I compliment my daughter on her looks I tend to do something similar to Mr. G.

    I want her to value her intelligence first and looks afterwards. Daughters are so very different from sons. I understand my son perfectly. When he is upset I can usually identify/see it very easily, but some things with my daughter just throw me.

    That doesn’t mean that I think of her as being any less capable, competent or able than he is. She knows that if she wants something and works for it she can get it.

    On sort of a related topic, my daughter plays soccer and basketball because I want her to experience firsthand the benefit of teamwork.

    Anyway I am rambling so I’ll end this here.

  2. We were in line at the grocery store and a man and his daughter were behind us. She couldn’t have been more than 5. The girl asked if she could get some gum and her father said “What do we say?” And the girl said “Please?” And he replied with “And what else?” And she smiled brightly and said “I’m a pretty girl! And I have pretty hair and a pretty dress.”
     I was moved that it was obvious that he was making sure that she had self confidence ingrained in her so early. When we told him how great it was he said that he’d be damned if any daughter of his didn’t think she was beautiful.
    I think that the statement of the woman’s daughter inevitably feeling ugly for the rest of her life is bunk. It will only be that way if she isn’t encouraged. I’m not saying the woman is a bad mother, but it sounds like she thinks it’s a given and that’s not going to help her daughter at all.

  3. I agree with the” Ugly statement”,and i feel like you’re kidding yourself if you don’t at least understand it. From an aesthetic stand point i think we all feel this way to some degree (spanks wouldn’t sell so well if we didn’t). This has nothing to do with my parents 

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