OK Boomers (or Gen X’ers like mwah) listen up. Our girls are in crisis. And it’s up to us to do something about it. NOW.
When was the last time you complained about the size of your bum, or the wrinkle between your eyebrows, or the way your skin sags where it used to be more perky? Despite my keen awareness of my influence on my teens and their self-esteem I’ve still done it – not many of us haven’t. Ageing isn’t easy.
But you know what?
Ageing is a privilege not offered to all. And every wrinkle, every sag, every imperfection tells just a little about the unique story of our lives.
Our daughters are living in an alternate universe of perfection. In this world your eyelashes need to be the right kind of length, your tan the right shade of bronze, your nails the right style of manicure and your hair the right straightened glossy, swishy, lovely. It goes on.
“Made up” they call it – apparently something that replaced “on fleek”. (Oh yes, I’m showing my true boomer tendencies now).
Point being, there is so much pressure on these poor poppies to look perfect. And not just perfect as one once might for a school formal or special occasion – but perfect from the moment they open their little eyes to the time they post their last tik tok pic or Snapchat post (or whatever that’s called) late into the night.
And it’s not OK.
When did a girl’s wish list stop being about a new bike or a dress or even a quintessential pony and start being about henna eyebrows and lip tattoos ?
When did it stop being OK for girls to just be girls?
We need to somehow find a way to turn back the clock on this. To give our girls back the right to think critically about the state of the world and what they can actively do, rather than the state of their shabby and never quite good enough makeup palates.
Actually I don’t really know.
But I DO know that it needs to start with the mums, the aunty’s, the big sisters and the women of our communities. And then continues to the boyfriends, brothers, husbands and uncles to remind our girls that the way they look is only part of what interests – and maintains the interest of a guy (not the ones you want to know long term anyway).
NONE of us are perfect. We weren’t designed that way, nor was it ever anticipated we would end up that way.
ALL of us have imperfections, and no manner of trying to perfect those will ever, ever stop the desire to be more perfect.
This conversation is not a rant about the hair or beauty industry. Who doesn’t love a bit of pampering. This is about the incessant need to strive for perfection in the way we look.
We live in a difficult world right now and we need strong women who are prepared to do the thinking and the doing to lead us out of this mess, not worry about chipping a nail, replacing an eyelash extension or being the next clone of the most current version of ‘beautiful’ as portrayed in social media.
So tell your girls, and remind them often that you love them just the way they are. And demonstrate that by flaunting your imperfections too (proudly).
There’s a lot more to be said on this… tell me your thoughts, I’m looking forward to hearing them.