The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Pretty

My husband recorded part of the Olympics several nights ago to show the kids.  It was the Trampoline Finals (WTF? Who even knew this was an Olympic sport?).  We have a trampoline in our back yard and my kids think they are the shiznit when they do a summersault on it.  “Look Mom!  LOOK!  WATCH ME!  Are you watching?  Mom LOOK!  I’m gonna do a flip!”  So I watch.  And it is just a summersault.  Not a flip.  But of course I say “Great job honey!” Then I start to panic because I remember reading an article about the dangers of over-praising your kids and I shout “That’s a great summersault!  Keep practicing…you’ll be doing flips in no time!”  So when we watched the Olympic trampolining together and witnessed these incredible young women bounce 3 stories high and do multiple twists and flips and contortions in mid air, you would think my kids would say, “WOW! That is amazing! I wish I could do THAT!” But alas, they did not. My 8 year old son said, completely straight faced, “That is almost exactly the same way I do it.”  And my 5 year old daughter said, “She’s not very pretty.” OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!  Where should I begin?  

Let’s start with the boy. Crap!  I have clearly over-praised this first born son. But, I’m actually rather impressed by his inflated sense of self.  Maybe this will serve him well in life.  If you believe it, you can achieve it, right?  Perhaps I could learn from this child and have a little more faith in my own abilities. Clearly I have done something right as a mother for this boy to have such a positive self esteem.  Now if only I could figure out what that is and apply it to the other two.  

Now for the girl. Oy. I just have one thing to say to all you Disney Princesses out there: FUCK YOU.  My daughter is so amazing.  She is fierce and strong and funny as hell.  She is spirited and spunky and smart. So how is it possible that this feisty young girl, this fruit of my womb, could watch a jaw dropping Olympic feat of strength and skill and not be able to appreciate it because the gymnast wasn’t pretty?  Isn’t strong pretty? Isn’t skill pretty?  Aren’t confidence, determination, focus, and dedication pretty?  I need to do an intervention with this child. Now.  

Disney Princesses, I blame you. You are everywhere my daughter turns. Not just on TV or in movies, but on toys, birthday party invitations, gift wrap, and even little panties. You are in our faces with your animated and unrealistic beauty. You have no moles, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, gray hairs, or pimples.  Your teeth are perfectly white.  Animals come to you when you sing.  That is charisma!  Every little girl I’ve ever met wants to be you.  But I am here to say that I see through your cartoony facades.  It is time that someone took you bee-otches back to school.    

Cinderella, yes, your father let you down by not providing for you in his will.  We all have Daddy issues…get over it.  You should have kicked your stepmother’s ass or at least taken her to Royal Court for a portion of the estate.  You did not have to stay there and cook and clean for those bitches and you certainly did not need a charming prince to rescue you. You are no role model, sister. You are a doormat. A very pretty doormat, yes, but not a role model.  Stay away from my daughter.  

Snow White, same to you.  With those organizational skills and innate abilities at communicating with forest animals, you could have had a fabulous career in Zoology or dog whispering.  Shame on you for squandering your talents.  Next time, listen to your parents and don’t talk to strangers bearing gifts.  

Sleeping Beauty – stick that gold plated spinning needle up your animated ass.  Your parents and legal guardians were morons. Nobody should have let you out of their site on your sixteenth birthday.  But they did and of course you touched the needle and poof you are dead….at least until that kiss.  But again with the whole Prince Charming thing….ack.  

Princess Jasmine and Ariel….oppressed by fathers, rescued by princes, yadda yadda yadda.  Can’t we get a good father figure for once here?  And where are the mothers for God’s sake?  No wonder these girls are such a mess.

Belle, I like that you are a voracious reader and want to get out of that poor provincial town.  Yes.  Bravo! However, your shallowness disturbs me.  I do not like that you were unwilling to publicly profess your love for the beast until it was seemingly too late, and that you were rewarded for your lack of committment with his extreme makeover into a handsome human prince.  Good Lord, another prince.  Belle, your behavior perpetuates the practice of judging a book by its cover…ironic, considering your love of books.  You should know better.  (Also, weak father figure and no mother….I’m seeing a pattern here….hmmmm.)  

Mulan, you kick ass girl.  And I like that you defend your father’s honor.  That is good stuff.  Too bad you have to pretend to be a boy in order to achieve your goal.  I guess that doesn’t really promote the “just be yourself” principle.  Damn, thought I had a good one for a minute there.

Thank goodness for Princess Fiona and Shrek, although that is not a Disney flick, which explains a lot.  Well, at least that is a step in the right direction.  Especially in Shrek the Third when all the princesses band together to kick some ass. Good stuff. Unfortunately, I think my daughter is about as impressed with chubby green Fiona as she is with the Canadian gymnasts.  

So, I guess we’ll be doing a Disney Princess moratorium here for a little while. I am also going to take her out of Ballet class before she develops an eating disorder and enroll her in Karate.  I will take her to the library to read books about women like Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman and Rachel Carson…women whose contributions were world changing and totally unrelated to their looks. I will make a concerted effort to stop praising her for looking cute or pretty and instead recognize her for good deeds and fierce determination.  I am going to stop saying things like, “Let’s ask Daddy to fix that when he gets home,” and show her some real girl power when I fix it myself.  I am going to stop making comments about others’ looks and start commenting on others’ contributions to society.  And I am going to stop watching “Bret Michael’s Rock of Love II” reruns.  That shit is just crazy.

2 Comments

  1. I can see you on the TV doing this. Cable. Blog it.

  2. Leslie, I enjoy your writing so much that I went back to the very beginning of your blog and started there. I just LOVED this one. I have no doubt that your daughter is growing up to be confident and empowered. With you as her mom, how could she not? This was a great post. Thank you!

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