“Aunty I am on a diet, I won’t take sweet even though I like it!” A ten-year-old retorted when one of my friends offered her a sweet that she had made for her kids.
“You will turn dark if you play in the sun,” says a dictatorial instruction to 5-year-old.
“Children have tanned playing under the sun,” goes a conversation between parents.
“OMG! Your daughter is too dark! Use some home remedies to make it one fairer, else it would be difficult later in her life.” says another.
And here I am doing nothing for my kids!! They are constantly playing under the sun, getting tanned and have no dietary instructions. I am just keeping them away from the word “Beautiful”.
What kind of Mum am I? My daughters must be the unluckiest!
But I don’t want my daughters to be ‘beautiful’. Absolutely not! My reasons are myriad, but have you ever wondered how this word is vexing innocence and childhood nowadays?
Very early in life, girls are getting conscious of their skin, hair and fitness. When did playing under the sun become a taboo? The diet mantra, in the name of fitness, even at tender ages, has become a status symbol. Isn’t this the age when kids are supposed to be detached from all these things?
I am not overruling fitness, especially when concerning an unhealthy lifestyle or any medical need. And I know how it feels when you don’t fit into the so-called criteria to be called ‘beautiful’ – which only oscillates between two words – Fair and Slim.
My questioning comes from the definition of beauty itself, which has changed over the years – and the dreadful impact it is having on the younger generation.
Life goals have changed to an extreme. Now, it feels like even children are ONLY finding ways to look perfect. Also, beauty standards have gone up, and now only a few can fit into it. The rest have to bear the brunt of body shaming.
So what would I like the definition of beautiful to be? Should I remove the term from my kids’ dictionary? Should I use only for models or a beauty contest winner? I mean, it’s good to be beautiful and healthy. But why is it that the parameters can accommodate only fair and slim? These terms are affecting our children to the core – physically and emotionally.
How many of us consider beauty as natural as any flower on Earth? Not every flower has an awful competition to become the ‘most beautiful’. Nature has made everyone beautiful in their own ways. You don’t need to fix other parameters which are fake and misguiding.
I am a mother of two girls, and I don’t want to stop my children from exploring themselves by getting trapped in the word ‘beautiful’. Life is much beyond this, and it is perfectly fine to look the way they do!
Isn’t it our duty to tell our children what beauty is really all about?
So what if they turn dusky while playing football or cannot have six-pack abs. And so what if they are little bulky in size! It doesn’t matter at all – at any point in time in your entire life!
You don’t need perfection when it comes to your appearance, and that’s what I teach my children. You are not how you look, and your inner self is more important. That is a real kind of beauty, which lasts forever – wherever you go and whatever you do.
Restricting yourself to achieve an obnoxious life agenda is dreadful, and that’s why our children should never have these as their life goals. After all, life is much more than how you look. Why don’t we let our children grow in a free manner and let them fly the way they want to?
Ultimately, all I wish is that ‘beauty’ changes for my children, and is never a hindrance in their life.
(Written by Ekta Shah)