Sometimes I wonder if it’s even 2018 because based on my social media feeds, it’s “Leave it to Beaver” time. In the past two weeks, I’ve seen some of the most old-fashioned posts from mothers about their daughters.
Coming in at number one are moms posting what they think is a “funny” quip about some less-than-brilliant thing their teenage daughter did and then finishing it up with “good thing she’s pretty” or even using it as a hashtag.
Are you kidding me? This is when I have to check my calendar to make sure I didn’t just travel back in time to when Baylor University mandated that female students couldn’t wear pants and had to wear pantyhose with their skirts and dresses.
It’s 2018. Shouldn’t parents, especially mothers, have stopped believing that their daughters’ attractiveness is what matters most, or is their saving grace.
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And here’s a news flash: Every girl is pretty these days. Thanks to braces being a required middle school accessory, improved grooming products, Accutane and Snapchat filters, almost every girl I see has lovely skin, straight teeth and amazing hair. If you think your daughter’s ace in the hole is that she’s pretty, think again. It’s a crowded field.
Also making me want to do an intervention is moms who have their daughters on the beauty pageant circuit. I see a ton of posts from parents about their daughters’ latest competition. I understand that by having a lot of Texas friends I’m going to be the recipient of some beauty pageant play-by-play (and just as a fun fact I have three sorority sisters that are some form of Mrs. Texas. There’s Mrs. Texas America, Mrs. Texas International, etc.), but I’m kind of shocked how many Midwest moms are all about the crown.
Mainly because I thought Kansas and Missouri moms would have more sense. (Sorry, Texas.) And please before you prepare to go off on me that the girls are doing it for college scholarships let’s do some basic math.
If a girl has been competing in beauty pageants or “scholarship” pageants for four years, the amount of money her parents have spent in entry fees, clothing, coaching, photo sessions, traveling and the glam squad would probably equal the cost of tuition for the first year at KU.
I arrived at my numbers by interviewing a parent whose daughter competes in several pageants from Miss Princess (insert your state here) to Miss Royal something. It’s not an inexpensive activity. And Miss America, the holy grail of beauty pageants, only gave Miss America 2018 $50,000 in scholarship funds. Here’s a pro tip. Score high enough on the ACT and you can get just as much in scholarship offers. Bonus: no Spanx required.
Yes, I totally “get it” that these pageants are all about gaining poise, confidence, public speaking skills and making new friends and some amazing woman have come from the pageant circuit. But that fact that these girls are 11 years old and doing all this in false eyelashes so abundant I fear for their ocular health and with hair so big it looks like Priscilla Presley in her early Elvis years kind of takes away from the whole “it’s all about friendships” line.
(P.S. I’m looking forward to receiving what I know will be an onslaught of pageant emails. Spoiler alert: I’ll be reading the ones with crown emojis first.)
Call me naïve, but I want my daughter to excel and achieve and I want her appearance to have absolutely nothing to do with it. And more importantly, I don’t want her to think that being pretty ever beats being smart. Also, the fact that I’m having to say this in 2018 scares me — a lot.