Monday, 17 March 2014

Pretty little girls

This article  has really got me thinking. Has really got me evaluating my responses, looking at my values once more and thinking more about the sort of world I would like my daughter to grow up in. Rebecca Adlington, the most successful British swimmer at the moment, has been hounded for her appearance: for her strong body and for her big nose. She does not conform to the "ideal" and that is worthy of all sorts of criticism, it seems.

It is becoming more and more obvious to me that you are not successful as a woman, in the eyes of the media at least, unless you are pretty. Or rather, you can be successful, like Rebecca Adlington is, no doubt, only for people to talk about how you are not pretty, like all other successful women should be. 

It makes me so angry! It makes me angry that in 2014 we still judge women not only by their achievements, but by the way they look. And it makes me angry that as a society we still value pretty women above sporty women, above clever women, above talented women. 

As a teacher, I find myself falling into this trap occasionally, so deeply ingrained it is. I spoke about it on my post The World of Little Girls and I do find myself complementing girls on their shoes, or their hair, although I often catch myself and make a point of giving "equal" comments to all. 

How do we show our girls that being pretty is not the be-all and end-all of life? How do we show them that we value them as athletes, as musicians, as writers, as lawyers, regardless of how they look? How do we bolster their self esteem so they know that whatever their age, whatever their skin colour, whether their hair is straight or curly or kinky-to-the-point-of-being-unruly, that's ok, they can be smart and polite, they can be talented and the world won't care?

I am not sure - I am yet to find out. Suggestions always welcome! But I dream of a world where successful women do not get taunted about their looks, but are celebrated and respected the way they should be. 

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