Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Being a Woman

This weekend The Girl and I continued our conversation about what it is to be a woman.

We talked about fashion and modesty. We talked about how we can be fashion forward, attractive  and yet not reveal too much of the wonder (and power) of the female body.

I took her to a really fun vintage boutique that was awesome... it was chock-full of polyester. I had memory after of memory flood through my mind. After all, I am a child of the 70's.

We identified fashion of the past that was very modest...

And one that was less...

We liked the colors...

We liked the glitz...

We laughed.

It was fun.

But, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you the Truth that fell in my lap...

As I taught my young daughter, the student was me.

Our first stop of the day was to the art museum with an agenda (look for art with women as the subject) and a few questions in mind:

1.) What does this say about feminine beauty? 
2.) Is this a healthy view of women. 
3.) If you are able to see art from different cultures, how does this society portray women differently from the way ours does today?

We had several different pieces that were great for discussion, but one photograph in particular,
Comilo Jose Vergara's, Girls, Barbies, Harlem, 1970, got my attention.

The picture of African-American girls sitting on the door-steps of  a Harlem neighborhood, their white Barbies lined up in a row. It haunted me all weekend.

No one escapes. I thought to myself. No time. No culture.

Not one wonderful, beautiful, uniquely-made girl escapes this "ideal", if she isn't careful.

Here we are, forty years later, and that tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted, small-waisted, have-it-all standard still rules the world.

And no one, not the young black girl in Harlem, not the Latina girl who writes this blog (or any women who reads this post), nor our sweet little girls playing dress up in the vintage boutiques can ever measure up when our measuring stick isn't real

It doesn't matter if we are poor, rich, black, white, or all colors in between, we are not immune.

So we must equip ourselves, our daughters, our nieces, our friends, to love that which makes us unique.  Our lovely brown hair, our big blue eyes, the curve of our hips, the shape of our nose... the wrinkles, the gray hair, the stretch marks on our bellies.

We must equip ourselves. Recognize the lies of media and worldly "standard." Must remind ourselves that we will never achieve what they say we can have. To think, and to realize that we really don't want it.

Here is the Truth I want to live and to learn: instead of fighting the air and losing heart, we can choose to love the unique way God created us, that special way he sets us apart from all those plastic dolls standing in a row. Once we recognize it as a gift, instead of a flaw, we are free to move about our lives outwardly focused, not inwardly stuck...

This weekend we talked, The Girl and I, about what it is to be a woman.

I'm still learning too.


Deena said...

I love this post! What a sweet message, and how fun to play dress up with your daughter at a vintage shop!

I've just been reading "Bringing Up Girls" by Dobson, so this post fit right in with my thinking this morning.

Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

very cute girls...sweet message...looking for to visit more...god bless you..

Carpool Queen said...

Beautiful post. The Girl is receiving such wisdom from you.

PS - she already has your beauty.

Candace said...

WONDERFUL post!!!! THANK YOU! I'm right there learning with you and it is SOOOOO important as I raise this daughter of mine! :)

Anonymous said...

Kellie, I've read this post a couple of times and I've hesitated to comment because I didn't want to sound all gushy, but I so appreciate the example you live. I am once again struck by your wisdom and the way you impart life truths to your daughter.

Because we've had the chance to share stories, I know that making sure our daughters don't grow up with the same sense of self that we did is so important to us. But you do more than just hope that doesn't happen. I love the way you proactively teach your precious girl a better way.

Honored to call you friend, LVCG.

Kim said...

Love, love, love. This post..... your girl...... and you!