When I was a kid, I was bullied. I know, who wasn’t, right? But because I was bullied, and because of other events in my life, I’ve developed a whopping case of low self-esteem. I look in the mirror and don’t see the confident, put-together woman that I try to present to the world. I see a cowed, ugly little girl who never really grew up to believe she could do anything.
And this isn’t just my experience. This is the experience of almost every woman I know, whether she admits it or not. It could be bullying that did it. It could be bad relationships, bad parents, bad friends. It could be the media. And I think it’s definitely society’s representation of what beauty should look like.
My friend Anne over at The Belle Jar wrote a blog yesterday that talks about this. Women in movies and advertisements are conventionally beautiful. Smooth skin, tiny noses, beautiful bodies, long legs. Perfect hair, eyes, teeth, nails. And even men who are not conventionally attractive can “get” these women in the end – just because women are commodities, things that are earned by men.
She makes a point – have you ever noticed that the worst insult to a woman is “you’re ugly”? Have you ever noticed that women love to tear each other down or exoticize each other, especially if the woman being exoticized is a person of colour or a minority?
She’s started the Ugly Acceptance movement, which isn’t about accepting that you, personally, are ugly. It’s about accepting that beauty doesn’t fit into glossy little boxes with bows on the top. That you don’t need makeup and special cream with Dead Sea extracts in it to be pretty. That you don’t have to change your natural looks, smile, eyes or body to be considered beautiful.
It’s about celebrating beauty in all forms. And to tie this back to nannying, I can’t present anything else as normal. Every kid I know is gorgeous. Every kid I know has potential way beyond looks. And every kid I know deserves to grow up comfortable with their bodies, with their looks, and believing that the too-big nose or tightly-curled hair or bad skin isn’t a hindrance, it’s just part of who they are.
I’ve got an upturned nose that looks like a pig’s. Yeah, that’s what I was bullied about. You know what? I don’t care. Because if my nose is upturned, that’s fine. It doesn’t make me any less of a person, or any less gorgeous. And if you’d stop focusing on my nose, maybe you’d meet my eyes, which are honest, frank and clear. Hi. I’m L. Nice to meet you.
The Ugly Acceptance movement. Let’s spread the word!