It started out as practice to help a teenager with her graduation project/test for Cosmetology school. What it became was 3 practice sessions(at the school with the teacher observing and offering critique), 1 test session, and1 dress up/photo/modeling session (which included a wedding dress).
Playing “dress-up” seems to come naturally to most children. It isn’t just fun for them; it’s how they learn about the world around them. Having four girls, I’ve come close to seeing it all. From the ballerina wearing cowboy hat and boots to the toddler stomping around in Mom’s necklaces and Dad’s shoes. I never knew which combination would emerge when the girls played. One day a princess, the next a pirate.
I have to admit, sometimes I listened to the naysayers of Barbie dolls and dress-up. I tossed their words around in my head. Does letting a girl pretend she is a princess destroy her ability to accept real life in the future? Will she forever compare herself to the perfect image of a toy? Will she learn that beauty is only about pretty dresses, make-up, and jewelry? Sure, there was some truth to be found in all the hubbub I was hearing in the “mom” world. But, most of what I was hearing seems to come from a struggle, on the mom’s part, in identifying what real beauty should be.
Sure, they all said, “It’s the inside that matters.” I heard the words, I didn’t see the belief lived out. We are women and we are insecure. The fashion/beauty industry thrives on our insecurities. We are constantly bombarded by products that promise to make us look younger and feel healthier. Marketers know the truth. We are not happy with who we are. So, the search goes on for that perfect product or the perfect outfit that will help us feel good about ourselves. All the while, we try to blame our struggle on the toys we played with as children or the fact that we were raised with traditional gender ideology. We try to avoid all these “obvious” mistakes with our girls, but still they struggle with the same things. The cycle goes on and on and seems to be worsening.
As a society, our search has left some terrible marks. The following blog post really resonated with me. I’ve seen so many girls get trapped in the “I need to be hot” mentality. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/the-death-of-pretty So how do we resurrect the “pretty” and live our life in a way that teaches our children what beauty is all about?
Learning who we are is an important part of the process. My girls need to know, I need to know, our identity is in Christ and not in beauty, clothes, status, or hobbies.
I am not on a crusade to rid the world of makeup, hair-coloring, or other beauty products. I’m more than happy to hide the gray for a few more years. But, I do want my girls to know they are beautiful just as they are. I don’t want them to think that wearing make-up and revealing clothes makes them more of a woman.
I want them to understand this beautiful creation called woman was beautiful from the moment of creation. It isn’t about having the perfect physique, it is about accepting who you were created to be. That nose that you think is too big, He crafted just for you. Those hips you think are a family curse; He designed them for you.
When we find our identity in Christ, we begin to see the beauty of His creation in us. We recognize our value as a daughter of the King and we strive to honor Him with the temple we call our body. And when our attitude about who we are changes, our thoughts about what goes into our bodies and how we display our bodies changes.
After the girls’ make-up/photo sessions, they got lots of remarks along the lines of, “Whoa! You look amazing!” And, they did look amazing. I wasn’t surprised because I had seen them look amazing thousands of times before, and without the help of make-up and fake eyelashes.