With all the talk about Lupita Nyongo’s beauty speech and surveys asking little girls which dolls they would pick as the prettiest one, I started remembering back to my elementary days when I wanted blonde hair. Crazy, right? Not so much.
I remember going to school and there was a very pretty blonde girl with beautiful, long curls of silky, yellow hair, running down her back. She was my friend and she was very nice too. I would run my hands through her hair hoping and wishing it would rub off on my hair and I would wake up with blonde curls. I know, I know, the dreams of an innocent ch ild not really knowing that what God gave me is so good.
I also remember a Spanish artist and actor, Marisol, a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes that sang. I too wanted to be her with those beautiful colored eyes and perfect blonde hair. And on top of it, she could sing! I could sing too! At least I thought I could. (I really do sing)
My brother and sister used to make fun of me because I wanted to be Marisol, which losely translated means Mari and Sun. So they nicknamed me Marinoche! Mari and Night, because I had dark hair. I love my dark hair now, yes, the occasional grey hair peaks out and oh how I wish that I would have appreciated my dark, beautiful hair so much more.
I think of all little girls that feel they are less beautiful because they don’t have Snow White skin, or light blonde hair, or they think they are less valued or seen differently. I now know better. My Mom used to tell me I had the most beautiful eyes than any blonde, blue eyed girl she had ever seen. Plus my skin color was considered beautiful. Of course, I didn’t see a lot of models like myself on the covers of magazines or in movies. I thought she was just saying that because she was, after all, my Mother.
I don’t remember when I changed my point of view. Was it when for the first time in my life a boy told me I was beautiful? Was it when someone said I had the most beautiful, big eyes they had ever seen? Was it when I visited a northern city and a blonde girl asked me what I used on my skin to get it that beautiful color? (I wasn’t even tanned, it’s my natural skin color, olive)
I’m not sure when it changed but it did. No offense to blondes, but I think brunettes are some of the most beautiful women in the world. It’s my opinion of course, but girls today need the reassurance from their parents, friends, relatives and yes, media, that they are all beautiful, they are all worth something, and that every girl, no matter skin color, hair color, or eye color, all are beautiful individuals. No one else in the world looks like them. We are truly unique in every single way and we must learn to embrace it and love ourselves, just as we are.
Today, I am proud of my Mediterranean heritage and I thank The Lord I do not have fair skin, nor blonde hair, nor blue eyes. Not because these women are not beautiful, but because I am different and I too, after so many years of wishing and dreaming, I now know that every woman is beautiful, yes, including me!
Do you think the media influences our girls’ opinion of themselves? Write me and let me know what you think.