as a nanny one of the wonderful things that comes with the job is the chance to take the children you are watching to their various activities. this week i got to go to see the final presentation for gymnastics class. and what a delight it was. all the girls of different shapes and sizes, but what really stuck me was the lack of self consciousness they had. Unlike a room full of girls about three years older, the girls seemed still comfortable in their skin. As I watched them I looked too at the mothers, grandmothers, teachers, and other women with in the room. All of us were most likely self conscious from years of conditioning...some very evident in the way they posed their body and tugging at their clothing while taking pictures of their children. In addition one of the most coordinated, talented, graceful, and focused girls was also the heaviest child (she wasn't big but given the standards today even for children she was). It made me so happy to see these lovely girls who were unencumbered by the bullshit of beauty, at least for the three hours they were in class.
As I sat there watching them move fluidly through their routine beaming with pride at their accomplishments I wished that all women and girls could experience that kind of freedom. We get so bound up in the condemnation of the beauty myth that we become limited in our lives. At least I do...Even through out all the things I had done in my life there is always this voice in the back of my head saying things like "nothing matters if you aren't pretty, attractive, desirous to men" I walk into places apologizing for being me, for being a woman who does not fit into the narrow standard of beauty. It's funny how I can look at a woman like Beth Ditto or Gabby Sidibe, and think they are beautiful and talented but not see that same beauty in myself. I hate that this comparison and subsequent self destruction is still present in my life and the life of others. Why do we as women feel stuck no matter who we are?
When do women get the chance to embrase themselves as women and find that elusive freedom that most of us at least got a taste of in childhood? When do we allow girls to remain in that state of freedom for longer rather than push them into adulthood....or better yet when can we image to them an adulthood that carries with it that kind of childhood freedom and embrase of women of all shades shapes and colors as beautiful with something of value to offer them and the world?
I hope that if I am ever blessed with the chance to have a daughter or daughters that I will image strength, confidence and beauty and will raise them with in a community of strong men and women who love women and men well. I also desire to raise sons if I have them to love and bless women in all the beauty and wisdom they have to offer.