A few weeks ago Kiara and I went shopping to spend her birthday money. While browsing the stationery section at Pick n Pay (she is her mothers child) an elderly gentleman who was shopping with his wife came up to me and told me I have such a beautiful daughter.
He was not being creepy or weird, I was not freaked out at all – it was just someone giving Kiara a compliment. I did fluff out my chest a little and smiled and thanked him.
That same week Kiara asked me to sign her merit list. She was explaining what they were for “And this one mom, is because I am cute!”
Say what?! A merit for being cute?
Upon further investigation what had happened was that her one teacher had signed for an extra merit, when she pointed it out to him, he said “Keep it because you are cute!”
The same teacher, the same week further went on to tell her that she has an advantage because she is cute!
This did not sit well with me at all!
Yes my daughter is cute, she is beautiful and the older she gets the more beautiful she becomes. More and more people comment on it. Of course I do feel proud. I see her beauty and I marvel in it.
That is not my issue. My issue is that now she is being taught that her beauty can be used to get what she wants. She is being taught that her cuteness is an advantage. THIS is my issue and it is a big issue for me. It would be hypocritical to say I have never used my blue eyes to get what I want or flirted a bit to get out of trouble – as women, we have all done it. As my friend Ansie would say, it is the curse of the vagina! But I don’t want her being taught how to use her looks to manipulate and get what she wants – it is superficial and goes against everything I believe in.
It is also a very hard issue to deal with because I can’t tell her she isn’t pretty. I can’t tell people to stop telling her (except for the teacher maybe). I can, obviously, tell her to not use it to get what she wants but we all know that actions speak louder than words.
So I am not really sure how to deal with this to be honest.
What would you do? How would (or will) you deal with your daughter?