Should we call little girls beautiful?
[Whyy, 1/11/19] Many parents don’t want people to call their daughters “beautiful” or “pretty.”
They say it makes little girls uncomfortable or self-conscious. That it connects their self-worth to their looks. Or that it emphasizes something they don’t have a lot of control over, like appearance, over the things they do, like behavior.
Liz Reap Carlson is one of those parents. She is the mother of 5-year-old Livia, a smart, athletic, and outgoing kid who loves learning about dinosaurs and playing with her new puppy, Raisin. Livia is also a stunning girl. She has big blue eyes, classic features, and the kind of hair you see in magazines.
And her golden ringlets attract a lot of attention.
“People are always saying, ‘That hair! Where do you get those blond locks?’” says Carlson, who lives near Seattle. “Or they say, ‘I wish I had hair like that’, or ‘My goodness you look beautiful today,’ or ‘Hey beautiful.’ It’s just really constant.”
Wherever Livia goes, the comments follow her: to the grocery store, the post office, the pharmacy.
While Carlson’s internal reaction is usually along the lines of: This again? The hair? She always tries to be gracious. She thanks people, and is quick to return the compliment, usually saying something about how much she likes their hair. She knows people are just trying to be friendly. And she’s sensitive to the idea that it may sound to some as if she’s enduring some sort of hardship, fielding her daughter’s compliments all day…………………….
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