I can’t tell you exactly what my job is for confidentiality purposes; however, it does involve working with kids. I feel responsible for what they learn inside and outside the classroom. Although outside the classroom is beyond my control.
On Friday I decided to hide my hair inside a hat and wear no makeup. The whole week was draining, and I wasn’t motivated enough to curl my hair and take the time to do my makeup perfectly. I also felt upset about someone who isn’t worth discussing. While I was at work, a student came up to me and said:
“Kiki, why aren’t you wearing makeup? You look so weird!”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t look like yourself,” she said.
I wasn’t offended; kids say that they know. I began to contemplate where exactly my student got the idea that makeup assists you into looking like yourself. Maybe from CoverGirl commercials or their older sister’s Seventeen magazine. Perhaps they were use to seeing me look glamorous every day.
Later that day I was supervising a soccer game, which consisted of mostly boys and one girl. I was sitting on the playground watching these kids, and suddenly they stopped playing and walked over to sit with me. Imagine twelve kids sitting around me. One of the boys, who was around nine years old, looked at me and glanced at the girl who was now sitting next to me. He then asked:
“Why are you guys so flat?” He asked this to both of us. We looked at each other in confusion.
“Flat?” I said.
“Yes, you guys are so flat!”He practically yelled.
“Flat? You mean skinny?” I asked.
” Well, you could have said that instead,” the girl said.
The girl was thin but average for a petite young girl. I also want to say I’m pretty healthy for a petite woman. What concern me was the word “flat” and why he pointed it out. My sister, a future clinical psychologist, explained to me that this boy is beginning to develop insecurities about his appearance. How am I suppose to stop that? Last week I overheard my oldest students calling themselves fat and ugly. I went up to them and said:
“There is only one of you out in the world which makes you already unique.”
“Kiki you are so wise,”one of them said.
The real question is how do we protect our kids from dangerous beauty standards? Can we protect them at all? Are insecurities starting to develop at a younger age or has it always been this way and I haven’t noticed this until I became an adult?
Let me know.