Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my daughter Faith and I am afraid for her. Faith is arresting in her beauty. While little Kolby is pretty and toddler cute, Faith has an exotic look to her and though she is only eleven years old, the child turns heads.
I worry she will become spoiled, entitled or a diva. People already do things for her and occasionally instead of pitching in to get work done, she stands there helplessly looking too cute to get her hands dirty.
The story of the lady in Britain made me cringe. Here was a lovely woman (at least by British standards) who claimed she was treated differently by her peers. The world retaliated with venom. How dare she claim to be beautiful?
(Apparently, you are only gorgeous if the world tells you so)
I think she had a serious case of “Pretty Girl Syndrome” and it’s the one disease I will move mountains to make sure my girls don’t get.
But I don’t think the British chick was loony –maybe just too arrogant for our liking. I think she was probably on to something.
Treating Pretty Little Girls Differently
From the very beginning, a pretty girl is more sheltered, statistically buckled in to her seat more often, and overly pampered. She will make significantly more money than her less attractive friends and will be perceived as easier to get along with, more loyal, and more intelligent. She will serve less jail time, if any, than those with an ugly mug (i.e. Lindsey Lohan). She will be given more opportunities, from job interviews to sorority memberships and find cooperative people to engage with. In a world obsessed with image, attractive children are both blessed and cursed with expectations.
Dave from New Mexico, has some strong thoughts on this research.
“Like this is a surprise. Beautiful people get more of what they want handed to them, and never have to work as hard for what they do get. They’re more likely to be manipulative, and less likely to be caring, compassionate people. Yes, I’m homely, and I see this every day.”
Underdevelopment of Pretty Little Girls
Because the pretty child is used to excessive attention and extreme complimenting, there may be little incentive to exercise normal social skills of engagement; i.e.-empathy and interest in others. Shallowness may be a result.
Constantly affirmed for beauty, fawned over and coddled, the child may also lose interest in more intellectual pursuits. Over time, she may begin to lack developmental skills in common social situations. Entitlement and a true lack of common sense may be seen in cases where the parents do not intervene and de-emphasize the role of beauty, contradicting the messages of the world.
This is where the Pretty Girl Syndrome can mutate into:
Pretty Dumb Girl Syndrome.
If the attractive little girl happens to be blond and voluptuous, then she will be lumped into the paradigm of a sexual object and men and women will both desire and hate her. Before she opens her mouth, the assumption will be that nothing of any relevance will come out. Now, the pretty girl’s beauty will be used against her. She will face a wall of opposition with people who will refuse to take her seriously. Because she is affirmed for her beauty she may retreat into the role she knows she will be accepted in, and thus ensues a vicious cycle of disengagement in one realm and overcompensation in another. It’s the Marilyn Monroe phenomena or the likes of Paris Hilton; who exploit their own beauty while downplaying their obvious intellect.
My daughter Faith came home the other day with an Abercrombie bikini that looked like a band-aid. My ex-husband and I watched as she tried it on for us and we almost passed out. I don’t want my girl to be affirmed for just her body –I want her to know how much God treasures her heart, how smart and kind she is, how talented and lovely both inside and out.
My husband reminded me I wore a bikini at my fortieth birthday weekend in Palm Springs. I worked out super hard and I wanted to see if I had it in me one last time to rock a two-piece.
“Is it possible your daughter is modeling you in wearing a bikini” Tim suggested.
Ouch! I guess its back to the one piece and her suit will be returned back to the store because the last thing I want is for my girls to define their worth solely on their beauty.
Why is it always the bikini that takes me out? It’s like some last remnant of my youth I hold onto.
What do you think?