Young girls get so many messages that you can't be cool unless you are bone thin (but, please, also have large breasts, OK? And who cares if it means you can't feed your babies when you have them, 'cause that's way in the future, unless you get no family planning information like so many...but I digress). We don't need television shows demonstrating how to turn normal girls into "fashion models." I'd sure like a show on how to turn normal girls into smart, well-adjusted adults with lots of friends and loved ones. Certainly not as exciting, I guess, but at the same time more likely to contribute to a good future for our precarious society.
About me: I have been medium all my life since puberty. Unfortunately, I was large as a child. Not fat, but taller and with bigger bones than a lot of kids. So I got called lots and lots of names, with my brother's endless taunts of "fatso" among the nicer ones. So, no wonder most of my life I have felt fat. The way I came out, I have some fat on my lower abdomen. It is there whether I weigh 110 or 150 (and I have weighed all those things and everything in between). When I think about it, my mother, who weighed 96 pounds most of her life, had that, too. It's hereditary, not a fatal character flaw. But to me it always has been a source of embarrassment.
No, I never did anything awful to myself, but I always worried about weight. I also worried about my funny-looking eyebrows, my manly ears, and my plain face. SIGH. I didn't judge my friends (quite the collection of large, small, buck-toothed, pimpled, and crazy-haired young people) based on any of these superficial things but I sure judged myself that way!
I am glad to see my kids mostly not acting the way I did. They embrace the hair, and aren't too concerned about their weight, or lack thereof (at 9 inches taller than me, they each weigh LESS than I do). When Beccano goes on and on about how one side of his face is wider than the other, I do sigh. I remember studying my own asymmetry. What a waste.
Sure enough, all my adult relationships have been based on compatible personalities. Sure, I like guys who look good, but that is not the only way I choose friends or dates. I'd hate to miss out on a great friend because they were "flawed." And this is why a long time ago I used to write endlessly on the superficial stupidity of men in online dating services. They all specify the looks of their potential dates down to hair color, leg length, exact weight...while posting photos of their chubby bald selves. I wonder if any of those dudes who turned me down because I had short hair and weighed 125 EVER got a woman? If they did, I hope they were shrews.
Anyway, I digress. I want to point out that so many young people I see today at least appear to be less concerned with outward appearance than I was. I see kids large and small, beautiful and normal-looking, straight-laced and adventurous...all treating each other fairly respectfully or at least with good humor. It makes me happy, and that is probably why I enjoy the kids' band friends so much. They seem quite open to each other. (Of course, I know perfectly well teen drama is teen drama--that did NOT go away! And there are still in-groups and such--it just seems like there is a place for everyone.) I like all my short, tall, chunky, lanky, long-haired, short-haired, Emo-haired, White/Black/Asian/Hispanic/Middle Eastern friends and acquaintances just the way they are. Things could be a lot worse.
I'll end with a quote from the author of the piece I liked to above:
To teenagers across America,(I have lots of ideas, too)
I want to say that we love you!
You're beautiful, exactly the way that you are!
And thank you MTV. You did the right thing. If this show not airing creates an extra half-hour in your schedule, call me. I have plenty of show ideas.
Lunch break's over. End of me philosophising.
PS: I voted.