Thursday, August 11, 2011

What Else Could I Possibly Need?

"25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize." 

I recently read this article and thought about it. A lot. I think it could probably be titled "How to Talk to Girls, Little and Big Alike." Instead of forcing you to read the article right this very second, its premise lies in shifting our "small-talk" and "ice breaker" conversations with little girls (who all really do look so sweet and cute in their own way) about their appearance to their interests and activities. I started reading the article and rolled my eyes. "I am NOT a feminist in any way," I reaffirmed to myself. I nodded my head along with Bloom as she contested about giving compliments on looks, 

"What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly." 

Then I read the rest and admired the presented points. The article is not feministic in the least, it is  another valiant call to circle the wagons around our youth. I thought to the new women I meet at Church, at a party (since I'm SO popular and get invited to SO many har har), or at any function. I usually step into conversations with a fast-paced introduction of, "ILIKEyourHAIR!" And I really do, I have made a conscious effort to be genuine in my comments and compliments. But it is still a relatively quick and superficial scan of the person. NOW. I will still tell people in my awkward way, "ILOVEYOURTOPDIDYOUGETITATANTHRO??! didn't?" I will still tell my five nieces and other sweet girls I meet just how darling and cute they are if I so please. I will still secretly wish for a compliment here or there (or everywhere). I will still buy my bag, my top, my skirt, and mentally tally the nods and compliments, feeling excited and honestly grateful for such nice faces who greet me. I truly truly appreciated this article though. It has caused me to alter my intentions of compliment-giving and conversation-starting. I always need to be a little (LOT) more thoughtful in my way of speaking and instead of sputtering out a genuine, but perhaps empty compliment because I am nervous, I will listen a little more and be patient for the real girl (or guy perhaps?) to come out behind the clothes and appearance.  

 "Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything." 


Krista said...

Thank you for this post. I totally get what you're saying. I've felt this way at times about compliment-giving (especially when I was a young women's leader), and this helps articulate those feelings. I just had an "ah-ha!" moment reading your post!!!

Krista said...

Oh, and PS: I think you're a very smart and witty writer - truly. How's that for a compliment? Oh, and you have GREAT hair (sorry, I couldn't help myself)!

Alisa said...

HA! Krista you are too funny, and NICE--STOP IT! ;) Especially considering my track record for haircuts lately has been once a year! I saw the article on another blog and just had to share my "ah-ha!" moment as well!

c. claire said...

Thanks for the article.....see my email:):)