When we are born, the most beautiful person in the world for us is our mother. While I am almost sure you don’t remember (at least not consciously) the moment of your birth, I am positive that you remember a moment of your very first years when you looked into your mother’s face with awe. If you are having a hard time picturing this, have a look at this toddler and you will get the idea. Our mother was the most beautiful creature in the world simply because she was close, familiar and – because she was ours.
This first definition of beauty rarely stays throughout our lifetime. It is molded, changed and distorted. It evolves along with our own personal ways, but also with the societal messages. From what was once a notion about closeness and intimacy, beauty is usually transformed into meeting various specific criteria.
Nevertheless, beauty is a deep human need. Art is the ultimate impersonation of beauty, and nowhere is the beauty as eclectic as in the art world. People’s utmost appreciation of art speaks about the unbreakable links between beauty and creativity, life force and vitality. It speaks about the love of life.
So, how do we talk to young girls about beauty? Do we seek to mirror our own thoughts of beauty into the outside world? Is beauty an innate need? Are beauty and aesthetics identical? Is beauty non-important? Is it an ecstasy or even something damaging?
If we want to avoid a message imprint, we may altogether avoid or refuse to talk about beauty. That is a legitimate choice, but one that may result in meeting a grown-up world with distorted and inflexible ideas about the meaning of a beautiful woman. Or a beautiful person.
We wouldn’t want to cut through the roots of thinking about and desiring beauty, especially in a world that is obsessed with it. We wouldn’t want to tell them they are beautiful, but we also wouldn’t want to tell them they are not beautiful.
What we want to talk about is the beauty of all their personal parts – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual, and how each of them is intrinsically deserving of recognition and acknowledgment. Conversation and exposure to all kinds of beauty is a much better idea than not talking about it at all or ignoring its existence.
We want to tell them that, apart from being beautiful, they are also wise, clever, strong and capable. Can you imagine doing this in an environment that engulfs a holistic understanding of beauty?
The contrast of opinions about beauty is nowhere as sharp as in the realm of the physical. Luckily, the world is awakening to grasp all beauty – the one with a crooked nose, the one with beautiful eyes, the one with a sagging belly, the one with scars, and the one with a tiara in the hair. Beauty becomes both devilish and angelic.
Our instinctive obsession with beauty means survival, gives purpose, provides love and growth, as well as joy, soul food, sexuality, life, and ecstasy. This is why we celebrate beauty. Beauty is about art and intellect, about power and strength, about humbleness and experience.
It is the woman’s charge we carry in order to transform the society’s tainted idea of it and help our children show us what embodied beauty is when we let them be who they truly are.
And if you manage to meet with a child who has an idea about beauty as the little Bennet here, let it come and give a lecture to all of us. As it turns out, children are the masters on the subject!