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Kitchen Sink

Beauty and the Brain

March 11th, 2008

Oh crap. It’s begun.


My daughter asked me this morning if she were beautiful and I cringed. Then, I scrambled. Then, I imaginated a response that would make her value brains and wit over beauty.


Our exchange went something like this:


Me: Yes, you are beautiful. On the inside, which is most important.

Her: But, am I beautiful?

Me: Definitely. And smart. Especially smart.

Her: And beautiful?

Me: Oh wow! What’s that? Did you just say something funny? You are so funny! And witty. Both virtues. WAY better than beauty. Ha! You make me laugh!

Her: I like being pretty.

Me: Really? Oh ick. I mean, pretty? A dime a dozen. I love a dame with brains.

Her: Is a dame like a broad?

Me: Ha! That’s funny! {pause} Uh, where did you hear that word?

Her: Grandpa.

Me: Right. Please forget everything Grandpa says to you or will say to you in the future.

Her: But Grandpa’s funny!

Me: Yes! Back to the funny! Funny is good. And you’re smart! Smart funny is the new beautiful.

Her {pouting}: I asked if I were just beautiful.

Me: Hey! I’ve got an idea! Let’s spell beautiful! You can do that, right? Being so smart and all.

Her: You’re bugging me.

Me: Now that’s funny! {{fake laughing}}

Her: Come on, Booger. Let’s go brush our hair.

Me, calling after them: Hey! Hair grows on heads and what’s in a head, but brains! Good brains equals good hair! And good hair is funny! {{trailing off}} …Funny, funny hair… And brains….


Oh crap.


On March 11th, 2008, pajama momma said:

She looks beautiful to me.

On March 11th, 2008, Lime & Tequila said:

I have not had the beautiful conversation exactly with my daughter. Its more convincing her father not to focus so much on her appearance in terms of his compliments. “You’re gorgeous, what a cutie, etc.”

He doesn’t say anything inappropriate, but I’m like you and I want her to focus on other things also. The one I had a problem with for awhile is her thinness. She tends to get focused on that issue, am I thin enough.

I’m like where does this come from. She’s a rail and won’t eat meat. So I have to sneak protein into her whenever I can. In the end, though, we can only give her confidence in her appearance, her brains, her lovely inner being. And if she has enough confidence in herself, I hope the world won’t batter her down.

You have a lovely daughter. And I’m sure we both have many more conversations like this in our future.

My daughter is 11.



On March 11th, 2008, Laila said:

Nice and funny post :).
It is a good thing you want to teach her to focus more on her personality but it seems she is really concerned about knowing if she’s beautiful or not.

On March 11th, 2008, San Diego Momma said:

I know! We actually have had this conversation quite often this week already and I make it clear (while not exaggerating for comic effect :) ), that’s she’s a beautiful girl.

BUT, I do want to give her other attributes due attn. too, so the focus isn’t all on the beauty…it’s a definite tight rope.

On March 11th, 2008, pajama momma said:

As sad as it the world is focused on beauty, it’s just the way it is.

It doesn’t matter the culture, you might be smokin hot if you can put 10 rings on your neck instead of 7 a lot of emphasis is placed on beauty no matter where you are.

I understand your wanting her to focus on her smarts, but hell she’s is beautiful. What are ya gonna do?

Why not let her know that she can be beautiful and and smart? (not that I’m any expert on kids, I have four and can tell you what not to do better than I can tell you what to do)

It seems society is hellbent on making people think if you’re pretty you can’t possibly be smart.

Types like Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton (although I don’t find either of them too attractive) are to thank for that.

Your daughter’s beautiful, what’s wrong with that?

Maybe all the other times you can focus on her smarts, but come on mom, throw her a bone. :)

I hope this didn’t sound mean. I didn’t intend it to.

On March 11th, 2008, San Diego Momma said:

Well put, PJ Momma…

I do try to let her know that beauty is just *one* of her attributes and not the whole enchilada…but I do think I focus maybe too much on de-emphasizing the beauty…so your comment made me think…in a good way :)

Thanks for the input! I love it.

On March 11th, 2008, Cheri said:

This is too funny! I think the same way.

On March 11th, 2008, matteroffactmommy said:

all great stuff… especially the part where your daughter is supposed to ignore everything grandpa says. yeah, need to start working on that one… :)

On March 11th, 2008, mommypie said:

Oh yes … the ‘beautiful’ conversation. The spin my 4-year-old takes is a bit different. It’s more like, “Mommy, you don’t look beautiful like me today.” Thanks, Kid.

On March 11th, 2008, Da Goddess said:

Been there with my Mojo. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Her: Am I pretty, Mommy?

Me: Yes, you’re beautiful. And smart. And funny, sweet, kind, and goofy. There’s nothing like a girl who’s all those things AND attractive. But remember, all it takes is an ugly attitude to ruin it all.

Her: So, you’re saying I have to be more than just pretty?

Me: Yep.

Her: That’s gonna be rough.

Me: Not really. You have all that in you already. Just remember to let your whole spirit shine and you’ll do fine.

Her: Can’t I just be pretty on the outside and leave it at that?

Me: No.

Her: Can I have some ice cream now?

On March 12th, 2008, Steph said:

LLOL. It’s okay. They all go through it. Eventually, she’ll realize that being beautiful is nice and all, but it doesn’t get your spelling homework done.

On March 12th, 2008, Marion said:

I have a daughter, and every day I tell her she is smart and pretty and funny and beautiful, so beautiful. Because she is, and I want her to know she is. I can be about MORE than just is she beautiful, to her its about validation. I know that she will take that I think she is beautiful into her system and KNOW it. I am hoping that will arm her against the industry, by teaching her that she IS beautiful, she does not need to do anything for me to believe it.

On March 12th, 2008, Steph said:

Thanks for popping by my blog yesterday! You have a pretty cool blog yourself, I will certainly be back!

On March 12th, 2008, » Blog Archive » On the Subject of Beauty said:

[…] for the record: I joked in yesterday’s post. I mean, I do not want my daughters to elevate beauty above all else, but I promise I don’t […]

On March 18th, 2008, Christine @ Serenity How? said:

Oh crap is right. We struggle with this too. I have two daughters. My oldest recently made a comment about being fat. I couldn’t believe it. The child doesn’t have an ounce of extra fat on her entire body. She’s super active. She eats well. I tried to steer the conversation around to “healthy” but it really bothered me. I had weight/food issues as a young girl but not when I was 8 1/2.

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