My child inherited a few traits from me - my eyebrows, my earlobes, my appreciation of music and my love of a good red carpet before the Oscars.
I’m not sure how to feel about that last one.
She has always loved fashion, especially dresses, in a way that I never have. She examines them, decides what she loves and what she doesn’t. She’s at the point where she can be funny or snarky about them, which is pretty fabulous for me.
She did that at the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibit about fashion and Impressionism last summer.
When she went to summer camp at the planetarium and was told to design a space suit, hers involved solar panels and lots of accessories. Who says science and fashion aren’t related?
But I know you’re wondering if I realize the negative messages that girls can take away from coiffed starlets who have teams of people making them look good and who may be engaging in questionable nutritional practices.
I know. And you’re right, that would happen if I left her to her own devices and allow the media to pelt her with negative images that I did nothing to counter.
I'm not about to say "Watch away, honey. Let me know who looks prettiest!" and traipse out of the room. No way, no how. I will be firmly next to her the entire time and we will talk all about it.
We will discuss what is healthy, what is normal, and how Hollywood’s ideals are unreachable. I will tell my belief that the red carpet is as real as the movies in which these ladies star, meaning not real at all.
My girl is 11 (11 and A HALF if you ask her) and she is aware of this practice and I cannot hide her from these images. It is unrealistic to think that I can shelter her from media an dpop culture, now or in the future.
Even if we were a TV-free family, which we are not, she goes to the grocery store with me and will see photos in magazines at the check out aisle. She is well aware that society is interested when pretty ladies parade in lovely clothes.
But my girl is 11, meaning that she hasn’t yet decided that I am a complete moron. The idea crosses her mind every now and then, no doubt, but I still have influence and I plan to wield it Sunday night.
I want to be the voice in her head, the one saying you are beautiful as you are, that you have to work hard, that being kind and smart is what’s most important. The one saying it is important to me is that her body is strong, that she uses it for amazing things in dance class and rock wall climbing at school and a million of other occasions. The one saying that she must treat it well to do those activities she loves, that she must take care of herself.
I will make sure she knows that I think Jennifer Lawrence’s sense of humor is her best feature and the hard work required to receive consecutive nominations. And yup, I’ll double check to make sure she’s clear on the meaning of “consecutive.”
We will talk about how Sandra Bullock spent most of a movie in a space suit and that she’s nominated because she’s a great actress, one who didn’t spend a movie showing cleavage, and that she’s received awards for being a humanitarian and is recognized as being a ridiculously kind person.
Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are nominated because they are incredible actresses. Award shows are definitely about the show and the glitz and the glam, but there are some fine performances to be recognized, too.
No doubt we’ll have a discussion about Idina Menzel and her performance of my tween's favorite song from Frozen, “Let It Go.” We’ll talk about the song writer who penned her favorite tune, and that it’s not fair that she’s not getting red carpet time, but that her work is what we know best in our house.
We will talk about how women are treated differently, on the red carpet, in Hollywood and in the media. We'll talk about the tween who objected to airbrushing by Seventeen Magazine and who brought about change, and that women all over the world are fighting for equality, from the red carpet to the ski jump.
Knowing my girl, we will also talk about jewelry and the benefits of sparkle, what colors match and dress construction.
Parenting a tween is a delicate balance, one that is tough to strike on any day but especially so on Hollywood's biggest night. Eliminating media not reasonable, but sharing my opinions and doing what I can to maintain her healthy body image is.
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Filed under: Media