I came across an article titled, “How to Talk to Little Girls
,” by Lisa Bloom. As the parent of two little girls, I was intrigued. I
very much liked what I read.
In the article Bloom discusses how our culture typically
praises little girls by telling them how cute or pretty they are. I’ve
experienced this first hand. Inevitably the first thing anyone says about my
girls is to comment on how they are just adorable! Now, my kids are adorable,
and I just say, “Thank you,” and don’t think much of it.
However, I have been careful to always praise them for their
brains, too. I want them to know that it’s okay to be smart, and good looks,
which nice, aren’t the be-all and end-all of their existence. This message may
not resonate as strongly as I’d like right now (they are only six- and
seven-year-old), but I want to make sure that I’m constantly reinforcing the
value of intelligence and education.
Bloom embraces this stance in her article (you should read
it, it’s short). She writes:
“Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you
notice tells them that looks are more important than anything.”
She says she always asks little girls what they’re reading,
This icebreaker generally, she writes, into a discussion about books and reading
and all sorts of general girl-empowerment stuff. Which is all good in my book.
After I finished the article, I followed the link to learn
more about the book that Bloom had written, titled, “Think: Straight Talk for
Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World.”
, I thought. That sounds awesome.
So I followed the link to Amazon, and found this staring
back at me:
I was staggered by the irony of what I saw.
Wikipedia tells me that Bloom is 50 years old. She looks
great for a woman her age… maybe too
great? I’m not suggesting she’s had “work
done,” as they say, but maybe she has. At the very least, she’s had a crew of
hairstylists and make-up folks make her look as attractive as possible for this
photo. And there was probably some re-touching done after the fact, too.
But that’s really beside the point. Maybe this is really how
fabulous she looks as soon as she rolls out of bed in the morning. But if your
book is about exercising your mind… is a glamour shot that emphasizes your good
looks really the best choice?
Now, to be fair, I haven’t read the book, and from what I
glean it’s not just a screed about how women are unfairly judged by their
looks. However, the article from which I found the book was squared delineated
by that criteria: little girls are more than just their appearance, and you
should support that notion.
So, I probably won’t be buying this book. But, I will
continue to talk to my girls about the importance of education, and how it’s
cool to be smart. I’ll continue to read to them every night. And I’ll continue
to stress how it takes more than a beautifully composed photo to make you
something in the world.