Wow! It’s Wednesday! The Beautiful Feminist

bettyetccouchSo Halloween has been interesting for me this year, because though there are a ton of cute and appropriate costumes for the infant-toddler set, somewhere around six-years-old it all seems to become either princess or (IMO highly-inappropriate) kid version of the sexy [name your profession here] costumes often peddled to adult women.

Mind you I’m the one who at the age of 12 wore a plastic She-Ra costume to her super-popular cousin’s basement Halloween Party (I’m fairly sure I was only invited b/c her mom made her). Back then it was either that or you had to make your own. Everyone else either wore street clothes or made their own, while my sister and I sweated the night out in our matching plastic costumes. I stopped getting dressed up for Halloween after that, so I wasn’t quite aware of how “far” costumes had come.

Pushing the sexy girl costumes aside — those won’t even be considered — I find the princess look equally disturbing. Has Disney taken over our costumes? And if so, why aren’t we encouraging more girls to be more creative than princess? For instance, I think Betty would be adorable as the cowgirl from Toy Story or a pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean or even the Porsche 911 from Cars. Vroom! Vroom!

Outside of pop culture, I would love to see more girls dressing up as lawyers or librarians or scientists or doctors. There’s nothing wrong with a princess or two, but at the last Halloween party I went to, it seemed like the vast majority of girls had chosen princess. Though there were two charming homemade exceptions of pig (this was obviously her ballet leotard and tights with a tail attached, a pig ear headband, and a nose) and Caroline Kennedy (her parents were JFK and Jackie O!) — both were completely adorbs. And it looks like there’s still little real alternative outside of creating your own costume.

This all has me thinking about how I should handle beauty with Betty. Having recently thrown myself into a Mommy Makeover, I get more than ever that beauty can and should be FUN. I love shopping for lip gloss and new eye color and trying new looks and saying things like, “That dress could change my life!” However, living in LA, I see the dark side of how obsessed women can become with beauty, thinking it’s the only thing of value that they have and feeling it must be preserved at all costs.

More than anything, I want Betty to value mind over matter, and personal content over surface. And so my instinct would be to praise her academic achievements rather than her outside ones.

However, so many smart beautiful women that I know, do not believe themselves to be beautiful for the simple reason that they were never told they were when they were children. I include myself among these ranks. And I have to wonder if much like the liberal white parents who ended up with children who believed the white race to be superior because they never talked about race, some mothers unwittingly give their children a complex by NOT talking about their beauty. In the absence of compliments and/or discussion, maybe these girls write their own story and in it they’re the opposite of pretty.

So maybe the answer to raising a beautiful feminist is compromise. I’ll praise Betty for ALL of her good qualitys: academic achievement, beauty, her wonderful smile, and anything else I’ve yet to discover.

And if she asks to be a princess for Halloween, I’ll agree only if she can pick a special talent for her princess. Like the Princess Detective or the Princess Scientist or the Princess Adventurer.

After all, who am I to judge? She-Ra was a Princess Fighter.