Dear daughter, I hope you never conform to the perverse standards of a disordered world
ASIFE, Getty Images/iStockphoto
I hope you never notice the magazine rack at the supermarket.
I hope you never see the billboards on the highway or the ads on the side of the city bus.
I hope you never learn about Hollywood and the fashion industry.
I hope you never listen to pop music.
I hope you never walk down the makeup aisle.
I hope you never hate your own appearance.
I hope you never pick up the habit of putting yourself down whenever someone compliments you.
I hope you never feel the pressure to physically conform to the perverse standards of a disordered world.
I hope you always stay exactly as you are right now. Innocent, carefree, unencumbered, pure.
But these could only be the hopes of a foolish idealist like your dad. I can rub the genie lamp and make a thousand stupid wishes, but you will grow. You will start to learn about the culture that surrounds you. You will form opinions about yourself. Your vivacious, bubbly happiness will give way to more complex emotions. You will develop new dimensions.
In these times, here in your very early life, you only cry because you’re hungry or tired or you want me to hold you. One day, though, your tears will come from a deeper place.
And, when that day comes, I want you to remember one thing: You are beautiful.
Beautiful. A work of art — full of life, exploding with a unique, dynamic, vibrant energy.
Beautiful. Eyes like the morning, a strong and powerful spirit, a face that brims with joy and hope. Beautiful because you were formed by God. Beautiful because he has known you since before you even existed, he has loved you since the beginning of time. Beautiful because you’re real, beautiful because you are.
Remember this. It’s important that you remember it, Julia, as you live in a society that’s dedicated to making you forget.
Those commercials and movies and songs and cosmetic products and plastic surgeons and diet pills and trendy clothes and Cosmo magazine covers — they will all try to feed you something. An image. A broken promise. A false salvation. A poison. An airbrushed, manufactured, painted over, photoshopped, marketing ploy. A ‘sexiness’ that’s about as beautiful and feminine as an assembly line. A ‘hot’ that’s more sterile and processed than canned food.
This is the price of living in a culture of consumerism. We all pay the toll, Julia. Your dad included.
See, modern humans spend every waking minute surrounded by advertisements and product placements and carefully crafted, focus grouped ‘messaging’ of all kinds. It tears you in a million different directions, but the lesson is always the same: You are not good enough. You need to be ‘improved,’ they’ll tell you. Demolished and rebuilt. Shamed and made over. Pulverized and perfected.
They pull out their metaphorical shotguns and blow giant holes in your psyche. They hollow you out and convince you that they’ve got the right thing to plug the gaps. They create a void in your conscience and pour their propaganda into it. This is why we have an unachievable, inhuman, digitized idea of beauty in our society. We’ve fallen for the ultimate scam, and the scammers have reaped dividends.
- Erin Stewart: Should you teach your kids to...
- First-timers and veterans among thousands to...
- Twila Van Leer: Wow! I'm part of history, too
- Wright Words: What I learned on a trail near...
- Motherhood Matters: 3 keys to a great family...
- Is this TV show a 'game changer for people...
- 4 tips for planning a successful family hike
- Linda & Richard Eyre: Top parenting ideas,...
- Erin Stewart: Should you teach your... 22
- Amy Iverson: Showing kids how to make... 6
- Wright Words: What I learned on a trail... 4
- First-timers and veterans among... 2
- The Clean Cut: 91-year-old widow... 2
- Tiffany Gee Lewis: Lessons from sending... 2
- Twila Van Leer: Wow! I'm part of... 1
- Heart-pounding 'Jason Bourne' makes the... 1