There is an odd Chinese practice in which parents call their daughters ugly. When others compliment their child, they counter with something negative. According to my mom, this is done in hopes that the opposite will happen and their child will be beautiful. My parents are moderately traditional and thus did this in moderation; while they never called me ugly, they rarely said I was pretty. Not to be culturally insensitive, but this practice is completely crazy. Unfortunately for females, no matter what socioeconomic class you come from or your ethnic background, we are raised to be insecure about our looks. There’s always something that someone will pick on you about, even if you’re a supermodel.
My aunt once said that Baby Taco’s eyes are better than ours because they’re big. My mom hopes she will be tall and not short “like us.” But she can’t be “too tall”, otherwise she won’t get a husband. Also, she “better not” like girls. Sigh.
Everywhere we go, people comment on how beautiful Baby Taco is. I kid you not, a random woman at Target looked at her and completely lost her shit, squealing about how cute and pretty she is. That was actually a bit frightening. In addition to comments from strangers, ST, my family, and I are constantly telling her she is beautiful. My child is my sun, moon, and stars, and to me, she is the loveliest thing I have ever laid my eyes upon.
But I worry about how this will influence her self-perception when she gets old enough to understand the concept of beauty.
I grew up feeling pretty inadequate about virtually everything about myself: my intelligence, body type, teeth, personality – you name it, I felt insecure about it. I’ve probably spent a down payment on a house in makeup, clothes, shoes, and handbags.
I don’t want to give my kid an inflated sense of self, but I do want her to believe that she is enough, despite her imperfections. I am thirty years old and only just realizing that, as corny as it sounds, my flaws make me special. That’s why I love getting old – I’m so much smarter.
Anyway, because we live in a society where women – particularly “exotic” women of color – are objectified, leered at, and disrespected constantly, I know this will be a battle for ST and me. Fortunately, Baby Taco has a daddy who not only tells her she is valuable and a treasure, he shows her, constantly.
She also has a mama who will actively work to see the beauty and goodness in herself so that she can grow up with a healthy sense of self-worth. I will not make derisive comments about my body or fret about how much I’m eating in front of my daughter. I want her to grow up respecting all body types and understanding that she is not beautiful because other people say she is. She is beautiful because God made her that way.
And you are too.
Sorry, I had to add that last cheesy bit in. But I mean it!