Thursday, September 12, 2013

To my 7 yr old, my beauty standards aren't enough

"You're pretty, just not pretty enough to get a second look..."

She didn't say it in these exact words but I understood what was being said at the core of my seven year old daughter. In so many words she was saying that in this sea of "beautiful" women, I wasn't fit to get chosen. As of late she's always asking when I'm going to get married, and I have to explain to her I need someone to love me first. Initially I laughed her comment off, but being the sensitive woman I am, one of my seeds of insecurity started to grow. It's bad enough as a black child I had to escape the White standards of beauty. It's bad enough that as a black young woman I barely escaped the Colored standards of what beauty is. You know, having great curves, long hair, and caramel skin. And now close to being 30 I still have to keep running from more beauty standards?
"You don't wear lashes, make up, dresses or change your hair. That's why people don't like you."

This is what stung the most. That my preference in how I wanted to represent myself was not good enough for the public eye. That the things that made me, me and that made me comfortable were things that would work against me. Supposedly. And while that statement stung me a little, I was mostly sad and disappointed. Sad that these concepts of beauty were already ingrained into my child's mind so early and super disappointed that I wasn't there fast enough to prevent it from happening. Honestly I thought I had time, but with messages in music and television it shouldn't be a surprise the media beat me to it first. In a world where it's promoted that you should like x, y, z, and automatically want to transform your natural beauty, it's hard to get noticed for your realness. It's hard to convince little girls that they are beautiful without all the extra fluff. I can rock my natural hair and bare face all I want; but with there being aunties (she admires) around that paint their faces on, brush their mid-back length weave, along with the celebs that are presented all over the place, little ole me can't do a thing. I'm simply out numbered.

I tried to break down to my daughter that looks aren't everything. That when someone finally sees you without the fluff they might not like it and leave. I tried to explain that having a good heart and being a good person is the most important thing one can have. But she just couldn't get it. I'm afraid that she'll be one of those caramel chicks with the thick, not so "nappy" hair, that will have a major ego just because she's been told from birth that she's beautiful. I'm afraid that me, the main woman figure in her life, won't be able to show her that she is beautiful. Not because she fits into the Black box of beauty standards, but because she is unique in all areas. From her one knocked-knee leg, to her big forehead and horrible hairline that was donated from her parents DNA. From her stubborn Aries ways to her ability to be caring and concerned about others. I might be over reacting, but while I've been a parent for the past 8 years, this is still all new to me. Hopefully I can figure it out sooner than later...

Photo Credit

The piece above is crossposted from her site. Feel free to interact with her on twitter at @tiarahdenise.


  1. I really enjoyed this post. As a woman raising a daughter too, I wonder when her toddler, 'mommy, you're so pretty' will turn into her older child, 'mom why don't you wear your hair like (misc woman with different hair)'.
    This is a very real fear/issue women face in being secure in their own self-esteem and passing that confidence onto their children, especially their girls.
    What can we do but promote the really important and individual traits about our girls like their talents, intelligence, and the way they treat other people?

  2. this hits so close to home for me. I have three little sweet hearts and I worry about what they consider beautiful and how they will see themselves.

  3. We truly have a struggle on hands with our daughters who look at TV, Magazines and other forms of media that seem to define for them what is beautiful. My solution is, to start exactly where you women have started; at home via conversations like these. There's a children's book written and illustrated by Calida Garcia Rawles that addresses this very issue -'Same Difference' book, which builds self-esteem! or watch Calida read the book to a classroom of kindergartners.
    Meet Grandmother, Lisa & Lida! #Family #Hair #Skin … @artistcalida ~ Please tell me your thoughts. Love & Light to you sisters.