By MIA FREEDMAN
Have you heard? Little girls are making YouTube videos pleading with strangers to pass judgement on their looks.
“Am I ugly or pretty, be honest,” they ask timidly. “People tell me I’m ugly. So tell me – am I?” whispers one girl. “All my friends say ‘you’re so pretty’, but I kinda think I’m ugly, so I wanna know what you guys think,” explains another.
It’s heart-breaking and yet I’m not remotely shocked or surprised.
Because we did this.
We’ve created a generation of girls who believe firmly that their value as a person is indexed directly to their appearance. That their hotness determines their worth. And they’re force-fed this message from such an early age that it drowns out everything else we try to do as parents.
Sometimes I feel like I am human shield, standing in front of my 7-year-old daughter, trying to protect her from the tsunami of images and ideas coming at her about what it means to be a girl and a woman.
This week was one of those times.
It started on Sunday morning when I accidentally flicked the channel past a music video show and saw this:
My daughter was not in the room but she could have been. Music videos are banned in my house but she is old enough to use the remote control and she could have easily stumbled upon it.
Watching for just 10 seconds, I almost laughed because it’s so outrageous as to be a parody of the most vile and sexist objectification imagineable. If you don’t have the stomach to press play, I’ll save you the trouble: it’s just pictures of women’s arses. Some of the women are chopped in half so their bodies end just above their arse. Arses on legs. No head required. Just genitals and flesh. Because that’s what women are reduced to in the vast majority of music videos, even when the singer is female.My daughter loves to sing and we love listening to pop music together when we’re driving. But what does the music industry teach her? That your voice doesn’t matter, your body. Looking hot is everything. Your success depends on it.
A couple of days later, I saw the shots of model Rachael Finch ‘revealing’ her post baby body in a bikini, 28 days after she gave birth to her daughter who is also in the shots, almost as an after-thought. What is this teaching us, what does this say? That the most important thing about becoming a mother, your absolute top priority is to look good in a bikini. As fast as possible, before you’ve even been back to your doctor for your six week post-natal check up. Looking hot is everything.