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I'm so tired of the value people place in a child's looks!! Vent!

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

I got cornered (again) by a family friend at Thanksgiving who proceeded to talk my ear off about why I needed to get DS into child modeling eyesroll.gif.  This is not the first time that she has made her plea to me, and all of my firmly stated arguments against her proposed course of action make her even more belligerent.  Thanksgiving was a bit tricky because there was another mother there who has an agent for her daughter, and who is extremely proud that her daughter was in a recent Pottery Barn catalog.  So I couldn't be quite as blunt as I wanted to be without hurting feelings.  But...

 

I do NOT want my child's image to be used to sell crap!!

I do NOT want him to be pitched for his consumerist value!!

I do not want him to even know that other people judge him favorably simply because they think he is cute.

I really don't want him to expect benefit from his looks.

I really, really, really don't want him to grow up to be shallow....

 

But, sigh, people stop us all the time, everywhere so they can gush over DS.  It's been happening since he was a little baby.  It drives me crazy. crazy. crazy!!  I had a thread about this about a year ago and people reassured me that all babies get this treatment...but I think its more than that.  Family friend above is not the only one who urges me to get him into modeling...random strangers on the street tell me the same thing. And they think they are giving the greatest of compliments.  DS doesn't know what the heck they are talking about yet, but he will soon.   How do I shield him from the assumption that his looks are marketable and that somehow that is good thing?  I've sheilded him as much as I can from the media thus far, but I can't keep him in the house just because taking him into public makes me uncomfortable.

 

And don't even get me started about the social value of blond/blue eyedness. cold.gif

 

How can I make people understand that I don't think selling my child's image to a world obsessed with consumerism is a good thing?

 

Anyone have any good one liners? 

post #2 of 71

"Oh, he would hate it.  Have you tried the bean dip?"

post #3 of 71

Yup,  ignore when you can, be non committal when you can't

 

And remember YOU are the greatest influence in your sons life. I wouldn't worry about people comments overly impacting your sons perceptions of life and looks.

post #4 of 71

I'm sorry you're dealing with this.  Maybe you can say "Thanks for the offer, but I've thought about all the pros and cons and decided against it"  If they keep pushing, I would say "I said no, please respect that".

post #5 of 71

I think you're making a bigger deal about it than it is. My kids get complimented all.the.time. I don't mind it. I enjoy it. It's flattering. And they ARE very good looking boys, there is no doubt of that(and the polar opposite of blonde/blue-eyed).

 

Humans, as all animals, are hard-wired to appreciate physical beauty. It is not abnormal, I don't think it's wrong. We can make a conscious choice to value things in addition to, or other than, beauty. And I do want to encourage that with my children. But I don't think them being praised for the appearance detracts from the individual person they are. I will teach my kids to use all their strengths to their advantage. Why shouldn't they? 

post #6 of 71

i agree with the above posters. just say "oh thank you, but he hates sitting still for the camera" or whatever. if someone really persues it, i'd just be firm but kind and state that i didn't want to  have the conversation any longer.

 

this used to happen all the time with my DDs. not so much lately. i've had many people actually come up to me and ask if they could take DD1s picture, and had issues with people just going ahead and photographing DD2. that's been difficult, because i don't like the idea of strangers taking pictures of my children even though it's not illegal. it doesn't help that DH refuses to confront people when they do it, so i have to. oh well.

post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I think you're making a bigger deal about it than it is. My kids get complimented all.the.time. I don't mind it. I enjoy it. It's flattering. And they ARE very good looking boys, there is no doubt of that(and the polar opposite of blonde/blue-eyed).

It's more than that in some cases, though. I also have blonde-haired, blue-eyed children. Our culture has placed the highest premium on that combination of looks. It's not about saying a child is cute but the aggressiveness with which some people push child modeling. "Your child could be the GAP spokesmodel. No, REALLY. He looks like those GAP kids. Why don't you do it? He could make tons of money. OMG, he's just so adorable." And on and on and on. It's weird and uncomfortable.

 

OP, my kids are 3 and 5 now. We still get those comments. At dd's daycare, they recently had "kiddie couture" pictures - kind of like glamor shots. Many people there told us how dd was just the most beautiful kid and so photogenic and why don't we just get headshots and take a stab at it. My kids really haven't picked up more of it as they've gotten older. I don't think they know what "modeling" means, so I just say something like, "it's a thought" and move on. I mean it is a thought - the thought is no, but they don't have to know that. 
 

post #8 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I think you're making a bigger deal about it than it is. My kids get complimented all.the.time. I don't mind it. I enjoy it. It's flattering. And they ARE very good looking boys, there is no doubt of that(and the polar opposite of blonde/blue-eyed).

 

Humans, as all animals, are hard-wired to appreciate physical beauty. It is not abnormal, I don't think it's wrong. We can make a conscious choice to value things in addition to, or other than, beauty. And I do want to encourage that with my children. But I don't think them being praised for the appearance detracts from the individual person they are. I will teach my kids to use all their strengths to their advantage. Why shouldn't they


Because the "advantage" of beauty is one that is overly valued in our screen happy world.  I don't think its flattering, and I do mind it.  Because it is all I ever hear about my son, even from some family members.  My kid is a whole person not a picture of his face.

 

There have been many studies done on the advantages given to more attractive people...simply because of their appearance.   Folks who were not hired because of their character or skill set but because they are attractive.  I find this abhorrent, and unacceptable, and I do not want my child to be a reciepient of this type of entitlement in the future.  I may as well support people being hired for the color of their skin as being hired for their looks.  Same thing really.  So I need to educate him about his white privilege (which is easy enough to do since most people accept it exists).  Its hard to be on the lookout for beauty privilege, but its something that is just as much an issue (and ties into white privilege I think).

 

A person's looks are not a strength, just the luck of the draw. 

post #9 of 71

I get it too, and wonder if it has to do with my son being blonde with blue eyes.

 

I try to blow it off.  I think it is people's misguided way of trying to compliment him.  So just say, oh, thanks, and move on.

post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I think you're making a bigger deal about it than it is. My kids get complimented all.the.time. I don't mind it. I enjoy it. It's flattering. And they ARE very good looking boys, there is no doubt of that(and the polar opposite of blonde/blue-eyed).

It's more than that in some cases, though. I also have blonde-haired, blue-eyed children. Our culture has placed the highest premium on that combination of looks. It's not about saying a child is cute but the aggressiveness with which some people push child modeling. "Your child could be the GAP spokesmodel. No, REALLY. He looks like those GAP kids. Why don't you do it? He could make tons of money. OMG, he's just so adorable." And on and on and on. It's weird and uncomfortable.

 

OP, my kids are 3 and 5 now. We still get those comments. At dd's daycare, they recently had "kiddie couture" pictures - kind of like glamor shots. Many people there told us how dd was just the most beautiful kid and so photogenic and why don't we just get headshots and take a stab at it. My kids really haven't picked up more of it as they've gotten older. I don't think they know what "modeling" means, so I just say something like, "it's a thought" and move on. I mean it is a thought - the thought is no, but they don't have to know that. 
 



Maybe I should have specified.... I am blonde-haired/blue-eyed. My kids are the opposite. They are biracial and have sort of an unusual set of characteristics. And fwiw, DS2 has done some modeling on a really small scale. I have no desire to pursue it with them, but we had a couple of things that offered us something directly, so for that we said ok. Honestly, I don't have a problem with my son "selling" cloth diapers. KWIM? Had it been Enfamil, then yea, we'd be having a different conversation. 

post #11 of 71

So go ahead and start a conversation about his other qualities.  It's much easier to have a conversation that's about something than to have one that's not about something.

 

It's impossible to control other people in your child's future.  I don't think you'll get far, even working with him from childhood onward, by demanding that your ds be alert to the possibility that he's getting opportunities because of his looks rather than his skill.  He's only responsible for how he treats other people, not how they treat him.  But if it's his pic in your avatar, I think you can calm down.  He's gorgeous, but he wouldn't be a particularly successful model - his hair blends into his skin tone even on the cloudy day when you took the pic which would make him look almost bald under bright lights, and his face casts a lot of shadows which will also become problematic in studio lighting.  Over time, his hair will likely darken and he'll lose the baby-look (it's conceivable that he might one day have acne, and his adult teeth may yet come in crooked) and probably steal no more opportunities from ordinary-looking children than anyone else does. 

post #12 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

I think you're making a bigger deal about it than it is. My kids get complimented all.the.time. I don't mind it. I enjoy it. It's flattering. And they ARE very good looking boys, there is no doubt of that(and the polar opposite of blonde/blue-eyed).

 

Humans, as all animals, are hard-wired to appreciate physical beauty. It is not abnormal, I don't think it's wrong. We can make a conscious choice to value things in addition to, or other than, beauty. And I do want to encourage that with my children. But I don't think them being praised for the appearance detracts from the individual person they are. I will teach my kids to use all their strengths to their advantage. Why shouldn't they


Because the "advantage" of beauty is one that is overly valued in our screen happy world.  I don't think its flattering, and I do mind it.  Because it is all I ever hear about my son, even from some family members.  My kid is a whole person not a picture of his face.

 

There have been many studies done on the advantages given to more attractive people...simply because of their appearance.   Folks who were not hired because of their character or skill set but because they are attractive.  I find this abhorrent, and unacceptable, and I do not want my child to be a reciepient of this type of entitlement in the future.  I may as well support people being hired for the color of their skin as being hired for their looks.  Same thing really.  So I need to educate him about his white privilege (which is easy enough to do since most people accept it exists).  Its hard to be on the lookout for beauty privilege, but its something that is just as much an issue (and ties into white privilege I think).

 

A person's looks are not a strength, just the luck of the draw. 



Maybe so. My kids aren't white, so I really can't get into a "white privelege" thing with them. 

 

I guess the thing is.... Your child is young, very young. At that age, kids aren't really "accomplished." They're not great conversationalists. There's not really a whole lot that people CAN praise. And it seems like even the things that are there get flack... like your child's size, or whether they're physically advanced, or whatever the case may be. I guess it feels like people just can't win on this one no matter what they do. 

 

Y'know.... I guess the thing is, I want my kids to be successful in what they do in their lives. So if that means being excellent students AND presenting themselves well in the physical sense, I have absolutely no problem encouraging that and teaching them to do it. 

post #13 of 71

I really don`t think you have to worry that much.

I remember when my cousin was a baby she would get the same comments constantly. She was absolutely stunning and people would stop and stare and comment. She is 14 now, not particularly vain in the least and completely normal looking. Being a pretty baby really doesn`t impact future looks, my sister was also a gorgeous complimented little kid and I was a totally ugly duckling and I think we are about equal in looks now that we are grown up. FWIW DD does also get commented on a lot with blondish curly hair and blue, green, hazel eyes and at times it bugs me but it is strangers and all they can see is her looks not personality, what`s funny is that she often gets compliments at the Children`s museum by other kids caregivers or parents. I think a large percentage of kids get these comments, there are a lot of adorable children.

post #14 of 71

Enjoy it while you can! My dd used to be extremely cute and is now 11yo) pretty but not overly so, my DS used to look like Harry Potter's uncle Vern and is only now at age 7 starting to look what many people consider handsome. Beauty is a fickle thing, so I'd recommend reaping its advantages while it's there. You as a parent can instill the other stuff :)

post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by shnitzel View Post
. I think a large percentage of kids get these comments, there are a lot of adorable children.


yeahthat.gif

 

Also the lady in the OP who'd obsessed with child modeling sounds a little well, ...silly... TBH.  If she is annoying, the OP should politely change the subject and make it clear that she's not interested. 

post #16 of 71

Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post

 

I guess the thing is.... Your child is young, very young. At that age, kids aren't really "accomplished." They're not great conversationalists. There's not really a whole lot that people CAN praise. And it seems like even the things that are there get flack... like your child's size, or whether they're physically advanced, or whatever the case may be. I guess it feels like people just can't win on this one no matter what they do. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shnitzel View Post

I really don`t think you have to worry that much...I think a large percentage of kids get these comments, there are a lot of adorable children.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by simonee View Post

Enjoy it while you can!... Beauty is a fickle thing, so I'd recommend reaping its advantages while it's there. You as a parent can instill the other stuff :)

 

 

I agree with these statements.

 

How old is your son?

post #17 of 71

I don't know where you live, but what worked for us was to say, truthfully, "it's not worth it unless you live in L.A., New York, or Chicago."

post #18 of 71

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post



Quote:
 I find this abhorrent, and unacceptable, and I do not want my child to be a reciepient of this type of entitlement in the future. 

mama i dont think you do much about this. people are too brainwashed and unless they want to see it differently its like throwing pearls to swines. they just wont get it.

 

i totally agree with you and understand where you are coming from - but remember what you are up against. just by standing up and staying true to your beliefs will be a stand itself. i mean look - people know smoking cigarettes is dangerous, but they still keep doing it ya know. there are some people who due to their personalities are 'welcomed' more. yes it is unfair but that's what its like. for instance i am a v. social and outspoken person. i speak the 'unsaidable'. i cant help it. i cant keep my mouth shut - esp. against injustices. and because of that i am chosen many a time when probably i wasnt the best one to speak up . others might have had better points of view or at least different.

post #19 of 71

Another vote for 'you're overthinking it'.

 

It's parenting small talk. People tell pregnant people they are HUGE or TINY (often in the same day).  They ask if the baby is a good sleeper.  They talk about child models and ask if you're planning on having a sibling.  None of it means anything.  People don't REALLY care they are just making conversation.

 

Someone who already has their child in modeling doesn't care if you have yours in modeling. She just wants to talk about herself.  So indulge her or change the subject. As the others have said... looks can change in a month.  I think it's pretty rare to be nice looking your whole life. 

post #20 of 71


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

Another vote for 'you're overthinking it'.

 

It's parenting small talk. People tell pregnant people they are HUGE or TINY (often in the same day).  They ask if the baby is a good sleeper.  They talk about child models and ask if you're planning on having a sibling.  None of it means anything.  People don't REALLY care they are just making conversation.

 

Someone who already has their child in modeling doesn't care if you have yours in modeling. She just wants to talk about herself.  So indulge her or change the subject. As the others have said... looks can change in a month.  I think it's pretty rare to be nice looking your whole life. 

 

yeahthat.gif

 

I've gotten this stuff about all my kids to some extent, but especially dd3 (even dh keeps saying we should get her into modeling!)  She is pretty darn cute, and she's very petite with a tiny little voice which just seems to amplify the cute factor.  She's almost 3 and people still gush over her in public.

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