Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Speechless



I wasn't going to post tonight but something happened today that I can't stop thinking about, and the only way I'll be able to get to bed tonight is if I write about it.

Today was a normal day, like any other day.  I got out of work, and drove home to pick Ethan up from daycare.  Usually, Ethan is the last little one to get picked up because I have a 40 minute commute and I get there later than i'd like.  Today there was another little girl there, I would guess she was about 3 years old.  I was asking Ethan's babysitter how the day had gone.  While Ethan's babysitter was talking the little girl interrupted her.  At first I ignored her, but then I realized she was talking to me.  I turned to her and she said, "Mommies aren't supposed to have short hair."  Shocked by what she had said I just stared at her.  She proceeded to explain, "Only boys are supposed to have short hair, not mommies."  I turned to her and said, "A lot of mommies have short hair, and a lot of boys have long hair, it just depends on how you like to have your hair."

On my drive home I wasn't upset because a 3 year old didn't like my haircut; I was upset because I know it's a sad truth that little girls still think that long hair is pretty and for girls, and short hair is ugly and for boys.  I also became very upset that as Ethan gets older these are the kids he's going to be around on a daily basis.  I started asking myself; will his classmates one day tell him that his mom is weird? Will they make fun of him for it? Will he feel ashamed of the way I look? All of these thoughts have left my heart hurting.

I don't want to place blame on anyone's family in this situation; I'm just writing this because I know that our kids are inundated by societies ideas of beauty on a regular basis.  As princess movies, Victoria's Secret ads, and countless other images were going through my mind, I had a flashback from college.  It was my sophomore year as an undergrad and I was telling my then boyfriend that I wanted to cut my hair really short.  His response was, "You know everyone's going to think you're a lesbian, right?" This memory just re-enforced the fact that these stereotypes about beauty aren't limited to our younger generations.

So what can we do as parents? Honestly, I have no real answers but I know what I'm going to try my best to do.  I'm going to raise Ethan and any other children I may have to understand that there is no such thing as "normal".  That every single person on this earth is beautiful, and we do not have the right to tell anyone otherwise.
 
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