...and then

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Maybe I am really old fashioned.

I am going to outrage a bit here, so take your judgementalism, and go watch a movie with it. I read this today. For those of you who don't (or can't) to read what's behind that link, let me sum it up. A 50-year-old mum gifted her daughter a boob-job voucher for when she turns sixteen. Her daughter is currently seven.

Now, my mum would easily say in her usual practical-sense style that that's what happens when you have kids late, you tend to lose any common sense. (And I am inclined to sometimes agree with her when I see the ridiculous things older parents let their kids do.) But to me this is just a mildly eye-widening piece of news. There are two things here: First, the kid is quoted as saying she can't wait to have bigger breasts like her mum's because they are so pretty. Second, and to more this is more alarming than the birthday present itself, her mum plans to let her watch her next series of plastic surgery procedures -- after having spent more than $800,000 already on them.

Personally, I think that should have been at the core of the story -- that the mother was going to let her child watch a surgery she was undergoing. I don't know if there are rules to stop such travesty from taking place in whatever country this woman lives in but I sure hope so. Because, as you can see, this already pretty child is going to grow up thinking she'll never be beautiful unless she spends a few hours going under the knife every few years. Already, at an age where she is absorbing things like the black hole, she's been told directly that she should do everything she can to look beautiful, by her mother, who looks pretty scary if you ask me.

What does that do to a child? And what kind of a woman will she grow up to be? I remember reading somewhere that girls learn to hate their bodies very early because of what is popular. I don't know what magic ideal my mum passed down to me in my upbringing but I have never hated my body. Mind you, it's far from perfect --  I have never had a day where I had a washboard tummy, even in my good-weight days (which I must gloat, I am back to now), I have never had perfectly defined muscles to show off under short skirts and I most definitely don't have infinitely perky breasts. But, and again here I have my mother to thank, I have never hated my body. For sure, adolescence brought enough insecurity about how the thinner girls were more popular; for a while I would always stand with my hands around my middle, that typical stance teenage girls adopt when they are growing. But I've never had a day of awkwardness when I moved from slips to bras. No hunching over, no weird self-consciousness over new breasts, no strutting pride over them either. Somehow, my mother subliminally taught me that this was your body, be grateful and happy with it.

So for me, to let a child be told by way of action that she isn't pretty or goodlooking as she is, is a huge crime. God knows there's enough trouble in grownup-gaon without the added burden of having to make money to go under the knife every time your face wrinkles with a smile or every time you imagine your butt isn't the model of discipline it used to be. Inflicting this kind of damage is just as bad as this whole colour thing that many people of my country are obsessed with. How many times have I heard and consciously remembered to stop accepting the phrase, "she's really dark but still pretty".

I am never going to say the way you look shouldn't be important. It should be -- it's the world's first view of you, so you better look close to your best when you step out. And maybe Barbie Mum here thinks she doesn't look her best (I'd agree with her) and which is why she's constantly nipping and tucking. But that's no reason to pass that on to your daughter. I just hope she goes the way some kids go and ends up militantly au naturale.

I am not saying anything new. I am just disturbed at that. And this. I have no words for the ruination this set of parents is causing their child. I only laugh at the irony of it.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Mummy Textbook

 I was tagged with this by the very lively Sue last week. But because I am splendid with deadlines, I am doing it this week.

So okay, then, the tag is to tell you five things that motherhood has taught me.

a. Ever since I became a mother, I have realised that motherhood is as important (or not) as you make it out to be. If you think it is your most important role in life, then that's the kind of thing that you'll expect the world to give you in terms of return. If you believe it's just another role that you play, then you won't take yourself too seriously. So all that hoopla about being a mother, yeah, I don't buy that. Dads have it just as tough. (This may be completely misguided and one day you might come back here to find my jaws chomping at these very words.)

b. I've learnt that it is possible to have favourites. As difficult as it is for me to admit it, I see it panning out in my life on a daily basis. And that those favourites may change periodically. Also, that you will usually overcompensate for having them.

c. Apart from everything I can do physically for my children, for them to calm down, all they need is for me to be in the same room as them. I can't explain it -- I suppose there is something to be said for parasitic living for 9-odd months.

d. If my dad were to have raised us, my brother and I would be scared, paranoid (albeit intensely loved) human beings, not the free, independent, individualistic people we are today. I have learnt that being a mother means smothering you own fears for your child and letting them find their own riot of colour.

e. Finally, I have learnt that no matter how you correct the mistakes your parents made in bringing you up, in your parenting, you'll make some mistakes of your own. Sometimes, they may be the very same mistakes in different shades, at other times, they'll be a lot different. And all you can do is hope and go looking for your four-leaf clover that when the kids grow up they don't blame every last thing on  you. (Apart from praying that if that day should come,  you will find it in yourself to know you did the best you could.)

Labels: , ,