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Vanity and Parenting

Parents used to raise their children with the idea of getting them to adulthood having the tools they would need to survive. Good health, good education, (one that actually teaches you to think critically so you can determine right from wrong), and their best chance for a vocation that would see them through their lives. One day that began to change. I don't know where it started and why so many parents have succumbed but suddenly befriending your child and making them happy has become the aim of many parents. Little John and little Jane need great self-esteem and happiness more than the ability to think or have manners. They need to have their wants satisfied more than they need the discipline of waiting to grow up for their rights of passage.

Today I was watching Good Morning America and they had a segment of the show that absolutely astounded me. Should Little Girls Wear High Heels? There was a debate and folks on both sides of the issue sounded off. One mom let her 5 year old wear 2" heels on special occasions only, like going out to dinner or a family function. She said that her child needed to learn to be a young lady. What? WHAT??!! How about teaching her that adulthood has privileges not afforded to a 5 year old and let her wear some cute Mary Janes? Glitzy Mary Janes. Flat, Glitzy Mary Janes.

OK, I admit it. I am too old to even consider the idea of heels being appropriate footwear for young children. What happened to little girls playing dress up with mommy's heels? Purchasing and putting heels on 3 or 5 year old girls is ludicrous. Let's not even get into the fact that there is no reason for anyone and I mean anyone to wear high heeled shoes except for vanity. We'll put that issue aside for a moment and let's just talk safety. There aren't enough ways to get hurt when you're just learning to control your body that putting a young girl in heels seems like a good idea? Her bones are forming, her balance isn't great and because she wants to be fashionable you're going to satisfy her vanity by giving her a two inch lift to facilitate her desire to be diva as well as her potential need for stitches?

Now, before I am accused of being a Birkenstock wearing hippie, which is true to an extent, let me say that I DO have heeled shoes. I also have bad knees so I don't wear them anymore. I used to be all about shoes. Nice Italian heels and something with ankle straps were my favorites. Why? The right shoe can give any woman sexy legs. Sexy. That's what I want a 5 year old to look like? I think not. Even as a young adult you can make bad choices trying to be a slave to fashion. Anyone remember Famolares? These were the sensible heels I used to wear while waiting on tables. Which is, no doubt, why I have bad knees and feet. I was a young adult and made the choice to wear them. I regret it. Why would I want a 3 or 5 year old to wear them?

I know I have offended someone by saying that heels are only a vanity issue. Oh well. They are every bit as much a vanity issue as eyeshadow and mascara. None of us need to wear that stuff either. Do I think they are sinful? They can be, but they do not have to be sinful in and of themselves. The thing that gets me is that we all know our young women are suffering from not looking like the supermodels and actresses they see because they cannot attain the same looks and celebrity. So why would we want to start feeding their vanity issues earlier and earlier? Come on folks. Stop trying to be friends with your kids before they're say... 30. OK that's extreme, but at least wait until they are at close to approaching their age of majority.

Speaking of vanity. Someone sent me this email and I thought I would post it here. It seems appropriate.

Recently, in a large city in Australia ,
a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym.
It said, "This summer,
do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"
A middle-aged woman,
whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster,
responded publicly to the question
posed by the gym.

To Whom It May Concern,
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans.)
They have an active sex life,
get pregnant and have adorable baby whales..
They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp.
They play and swim in the seas,
seeing wonderful places like Patagonia ,
the Bering Sea
and the coral reefs of Polynesia .
Whales are wonderful singers
and have even recorded CDs.
They are incredible creatures
and virtually have no predators
other than humans.
They are loved, protected and admired
by almost everyone in the world.

Mermaids don't exist.
If they did exist,
they would be lining up outside the offices
of Argentinean psychoanalysts
due to identity crisis. Fish or human?
They don't have a sex life
because they kill men who get close to them, not to mention how could they have sex?
Just look at them ... where is IT?
Therefore, they don't have kids either.
Not to mention,
who wants to get close to a girl who smells
like a fish store?

The choice is perfectly clear to me:
I want to be a whale.

P..S.. We are in an age
when media puts into our heads
the idea that only skinny people are beautiful, but I prefer to enjoy an ice cream with my kids, a good dinner with a man who makes me shiver, and a piece of chocolate with my friends.

With time, we gain weight
because we accumulate so much information and wisdom in our heads
that when there is no more room,
it distributes out to the rest of our bodies.
So we aren't heavy,
we are enormously cultured,
educated and happy.
Beginning today,
when I look at my butt in the mirror I will think, ¨Good grief, look how smart I am!¨


Carla said…
EXCELLENT post! I couldn't agree more stongly.

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