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I'm so tired of the value people place in a child's looks!! Vent! - Page 2

post #21 of 71

I would say, probably overthinking it.

 

My boys are brown, have dark hair, and dark brown eyes.  Ever since they were born, people have been telling me that they need to be models.  Or that pictures of them look like they should be in a kid's clothing magazine.  Etc.  And this is in majority-white semi-rural PA, so I think even here blond/blue-eyed is now only one of several beauty types that people find attractive.  You don't know if they're exclusively saying that about your son, or if that's their standard way of saying "Wow, I think your kid is beautiful" and say it to everybody.

 

To those who say it, "It's just not our thing" should be sufficient.  Life is too short to spend a lot of time fretting over the strange way people give compliments.

 

To your son, this is a great chance to teach.  You're his mom, you have a huge advantage over the world in your influence of him.  Use it.  Talk with him.  Explain your values and why you wouldn't want him in that industry, but without the bitter anger and high emotions.  Ask him what he thinks.

post #22 of 71

I get this all the time too.  My ds is beautiful, and has been since the day he was born (he was a particularly pretty newborn), and people say this to me all.the.time.

 

I diffuse the situation by saying, "I know, I just don't have the time!  Do you want to take him for all the auditions?" when its a family member (the answer is ALWAYS "NO" b/c everyone knows how time consuming it is), and to strangers by saying, "I know, isn't he a cutie?!?"  with a little laugh.

 

I love my ds, for MANY reasons, and I love ALL of him - even how beautiful he is.  Do I think its terrible that average looking people don't get as many opportunities?  Sure, but theres nothing I can do about it.  Making my son feel guilty about his looks certainly isn't going to do him any good - so I appreciate all of him. 

 

As a bonus, people don't focus on the modeling thing too much, b/c I don't.  If you make an issue of it, so will they.  Just go along, diffuse the situation in one of the 2 ways above (or find another option that works for you) and bring how well he talks/plays ball/reads/interacts with others/giggles/etc.  Focus on his abilities, and I bet others will start.

post #23 of 71

I have a super cute kid too.  He is very tiny for his age, has olive skin, BIG blue or sometimes green eyes, and crazy curly hair.   And EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we leave the house I get compliments on his looks especially his eyes and or hair.   (oh look at those eyes/hair, he is beautiful, he is too pretty to be a boy, oh he is so cute, does he do modeling? etc.), and its said directly to him, to me and sometimes just to someone else (I hear people telling each other "did you see that little girl? she is so pretty" - talking about my son!)

 

My son has done 2 modeling things - one was to help a friend with his portpholio, and the other was to do the ad's for our local zoo.  We were asked by the zoo director to come in for the photoshoot because we are there so often.  Her reason for choosing Levi?  Because he has a good personality and follows directions well and because he is so happy all the time - nothing about how cute he is!  We love that zoo so Im happy to promote it, and Levi got to hold/pet animals he doesnt usually get to so it was just fun for him! 

 

But yeah I agree the compliments do get anoying.  Its been happening sense he was tiny!  He even seems de-sensitized to it, because he just says "yeah I know" now (I have to remind him to just say "thank you", he says that for everything else, I think he is just 'over' being complimented so often)

 

But at the same time, you have to look at people's intent.  Their idea isn't generally to 'value' his looks over his other qualities, BUT, they havent 'met' him yet or really talked to him, the looks are just what people see at first glance, and often they 'react' to that with a comment because he IS really 'pretty'.   Many times these comments from people are just said in passing (walking by, in line at the store, from the next table out to eat, etc), but the times where people have actually started talking to my son, they also end up complimenting on how smart he is, how well he converses with adults, how big his vocabulary is, how funny he is, how polite he is, how well he can follow directions, etc.   And that usually ends up being far more 'impressive' to people than their initial opinion of his good looks.   

 

 

With a cute kid, you are going to get comments, thats just how it is!  And you cant really fault people for saying something, they are just being nice and saying what they think, and I doubt that they have ill-intent.    And they dont realize how many times you've already heard the same comment already that day.  

Its more important to teach your child what is important to you and emphasize those qualities yourself, because you as mom have more weight in what your child hears than a whole bunch of random people's opinions. 

post #24 of 71

Around here, the blonde hair/blue eyes isn't as valuable.  I think it's regional.  

 

I have two daycare kids who model and do commercials.  Neither one of them is shallow.  They work hard, and enjoy it.  Yes, they are both strikingly attractive, but not full of themselves.  (they are both boys.. so, maybe that's why)  

 

It's SOOOO much work on the part of the moms.  They have to get all the kids up, bring the sibling to me, and go to wherever the tryouts are, then they wait a few days to see if they get a callback.  If they get a callback, then the parents have to do that again, and they still might not get the job.  The oldest of the two is always sad when he doesn't get a job.  The youngest one doesn't think much about it.  

 

I wouldn't get myself involved in modeling because it's so much work for the parents and I don't have that kind of time.  My job isn't flexible enough for me to do that.  So, if someone kept suggesting it, I'd just say "That would never work with out schedule, it would be too stressful".

post #25 of 71

Yep. I am not a particularly stunning-looking person, but I was a very tall blonde child. Everyone used to tell me that I should be a runway model. I was also a total introvert. No way was I going to go up on stage and show off clothes!

 

So I would consistently use a "pass the bean dip" kind of statement. Yeah, I considered modeling occasionally, but really, who wants the hassle and the stress of having to be beautiful? I'm also completely non-photogenic.

 

Growing up, these comments didn't make me feel good about myself or better than other people. As a shy kid, they just made me feel awkward about myself because I stood out and I didn't want to stand out. But I soon realized that there was really nothing I could do: if you have an obvious difference, people will comment on it because that's what people do. It's irritating and you can brush it off or you can tell very persistent people right out that you are not interested.

 

My daughter? Also tall, also white-blonde, and people also comment. I just smile and say, "Yes, she is tall, just like her mother." I think that sometimes people are just looking for an acknowledgment of the obvious. It's a connecting point for them. On my more-tired days, I have considered making a hat for her that says, "Yes, I'm tall." mischievous.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #26 of 71

As PPs have said, children tend not to have done much else to distinguish themselves. Your son probably doesn't have a PhD in astrophysics, he probably hasn't sailed around the world, hasn't chained himself to a tree to help save the rainforest. So people light upon the distinguishing feature he does have and comment on it. Both my children received the same comments, that they could be baby models. I think it's what people say, just another way to saw "aw, cute!" It sounds like, in your neck of the woods, they might be a little more serious, but still, what they're essentially saying is that he's super cute.

 

But as far as not using his looks to advance himself, I mean, hey, why not? I'm talking as an adult here. In my opinion, looks are just one more way people have to stand out. People are born with certain mental propensities. Your son might eventually show to special proclivity for math. He'll have to learn about it and work a bit, but he was born with it (or whatever the characteristic might be) same as he was born with his looks. And, fwiw, you have to work on your looks too. He could be Johnny Depp, but if he doesn't shower regularly and groom himself, eat right, exercise, etc. no one is going to notice. I mean, heck, look at Demi Moore. She works at it & invests in it. I get that you don't want your kid to grow up vain and shallow, but I don't think that's necessarily going to happen, even if people do praise him for his looks. You get to teach him values. 

post #27 of 71

My kids get comments - my Dd especially did.  People were always saying how big and pretty her eyes were.  They are the opposite of blond hair, fair skinned kiddos.  My youngest gets a whole lot of, "he's sooo cute!"  I do happen to agree; I make stunning babies, ahem, but for the most part, I think it's just a conversational piece.  All you know when you walk by or are standing in line by someone is based on their appearance, yk?  You can't exactly comment on how smart they are if you've only barely glanced at them.  It's similar how strangers comment on what an "easy" baby you have, simply because he happens to not be fussing at that moment. 

 

If relatives or friends were always insisting I put my kids in modeling, I'd just tell them it's not something we are interested in, and take it as compliment.  No biggie. 

 

It's not so much that people put a ton of value in a child's looks... it's just that as I said, it's really all they have to go off of on a first impression.  And if people I had gotten to know better always talked about it, I'd probably wonder if my kid's behavior or personality was lacking, and thus why the only thing they ever got positive comments on were how adorable they were and how nicely dressed they were.  People like to give compliments, as it's a friendly gesture.  That's all. 

post #28 of 71
Thread Starter 

With all due respect to everyone who responded that what I am describing is no big deal, this is a vent about something that drives me batty.  I think society's focus on looks is very unhealthy.  I don't care if someone is just trying to be nice or make conversation.   I don't like it!

 

I think people are missing the point.  To me a focus on looks is a bad thing, almost offensive.  I don't think I need to get over my attitude as it is cultivated from many years of experience and observation (including living in Los Angeles for five years...yikes!  What a body-image dysfunctional place!).  It is one of the main reasons I chose to have a visual media-free household for my son.

 

I think I agree with a PP who said "if you have an obvious difference, people will comment on it because that's what people do."  This is probably part of it honestly.  When we go out to library storytime or some such my son is often the only blond kid in a sea of dark hair, so he gets lots and lots of comments about his blondness.  No doubt this is because of the novelty rather than anything inherent y'know.  I have an easier time letting this slide. 

 

I do wish that people felt it impolite to comment so freely on the appearance of a child.  It is not something we do to adults because to do so would be seen as very rude.  Children are seen by many to be much closer to objects than people and I think that plays a part.  I do think that constant comments can be damaging to a child.  A good friend of mine has a very pale white-blond daughter with a super-curly 'fro, and she has gotten comments on it every day of her life, to the point that now, at seven years old she hates her hair.  When people comment on her hair in public now she panics because she feels like a freak.  I used to have waist-length red hair and I got comments every day...it was soooo wearying (and working in customer service at the time didn't help).  To the point that I finally just chopped it off to regain my sanity.  Even positively intended, constant focus on one's appearance is damaging.

 

Yes, I get to teach my child values, but I foresee having my teaching constantly sabotaged by society.  Frustrating at the least.  And whether he maintains his cuteness throughout life is rather beside the point I think.  Rather the point is that value society places on good looks is way out of proportion, and I happen to have to deal with the reprocussions of that right now.  Sadly.

 

FWIW my kid is only 17 months old so there is a long road ahead.

post #29 of 71

Nothing to offer, just feel like venting right along with ya.  DD has had four years of hearing how pretty she is and how cute her little dresses are and it is completely disgusting.  What can you really do about it though, never leave your house?  Be happy he's a boy.

post #30 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

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....

  

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? 



I don't agree with most of the posters here. If the OP was complaining/venting about random people or a neighbor that was only concerned with her LO's BEAUTY- then I would agree with the PP. This is a Friend of the Family Member and the only thing, ONLY THING this person wants to talk about is the LO's beauty. OP has told this family member that she's not interested in getting her LO into modeling, but the lady isn't taking the hint. What, do you think, is her reason that you HAVE to get him into modeling/acting?  Does she think it will secure his future? Does she really know how much work this whole process is for YOU, and how stressfull it would be as a lifestyle? What have you told this lady? Have you explained that you have NO interest in this? I don't think it's your job to explain your reasons for not wanting your LO to get into modeling/acting.  Your reasons are your own, and matter not to this lady. 

 

As for the strangers that say this- you have to understand that it's simply a compliment. Even if you are offended, or don't agree with the idea of modeling/acting the comment itself is ment to tell you that you've a beautiful child, and that the whole world would love this kiddo as well. Many people see acting and modeling as a viable way for children to get a college education fund started, and thus why many people suggest that your beautiful LO should be modeling. JUst thank them and tell them that you and DH will consider it :)  They don't need to know that you've decided against it ;)

 



You listed your reasons for what you don't want. These three stuck out at me...

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.

 

I disagree with these points. These things you've listed are things that happen if the PARENTS place emphasis on looks/appearence/behavior alone. There are hundereds of thousands of child actors/models and you cannot lump them all together as Shallow and Expecting benefits due to beauty and good things only because they are pretty....those things happen even if you don't act/model.  These are result of lifestyle and parenting.  IF you were to get your LO into acting/modeling then it would be up to you, the PARENT, to ensure that LO isn't developing a big head :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post

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



I would use these for the family or friends that don't take the hint.

I like this.  Also, "DH & I will give that some thought. Did you watch Days of our lives yesterday?"  and "That isn't something we are going to discuss. Have you tried the Bean Dip today?"    No matter what you say to this lady- keep repeating it, over and over and over. Also, don't let her get to you! If she makes you mad/angry over this issue then stop interacting with her! Say Hello, and stay away from her.  You would be amazed at how the simple art of avoidance can effect someone else.  Then when she does want to know why you've avoided her then you tell her you are offended because she only wants to discuss LO's Modeling and BEAUTY.  What about the new tripple flipper back flip that was developed the other day? What about the latest coloring page, the piano practice, the video game marathon- WHATEVER your kid's in to. 

 

Happy Holidays!

post #31 of 71

OP: FWIW, my oldest got lots of comments on how cute he was, followed by many comments on what a good-looking young man he was turning into. Objectively (if I try really hard to forget he's my son, and try to picture him as a random young man walking down the street, from the perspective of someone roughly his age), he's a very good-looking guy...great build (he's a gymnast), high cheekbones, dimples, etc. However, his perception of his looks is quite different. He thinks he has "weird" ears, "stupid" hair, and ugly teeth (his teeth are perfectly normal, with one small chip from falling off his bike about a week after his first adult tooth came in). He certainly doesn't expect to benefit from his good looks, and he's not shallow at all. He's had a lot of feedback about his good looks, but very little of it has come from us, and it's certainly never been the thing we most value about him, yk? (He is quite concerned with his appearance these days, but that's about 90% because he wants to be an actor, and knows that his appearance is very, very important in that field.)

 

I can understand why the level of commenting you're receiving would be frustrating, and the family friend would have had me wanting to rip out my hair (or possibly hers)! But, even this kind of emphasis does not mean he's going to grow up thinking he's better than others because he's cute, or that he's going to be shallow. You're not sending that kind of message at all, and you are the primary teacher of values in his life. He will figure out eventually that other people respond favourably to him because of his looks, but that doesn't mean he'll behave differently or internalize an "I'm better than less physically attractive people" vibe.

 

 

It's funny....I frequently comment on cute kids that I see out and about, but it really has very little to do with looks in my case. Some kids just exude massive levels of that "if it wouldn't be really creepy, since I'm a total stranger, I'd just pick you up and squeeze you" vibe and/or a real...spark (a little mischievous, a little outgoing, a little...something), and those kids are just uber-cute, no matter what they look like.

post #32 of 71


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post


 

 

It's funny....I frequently comment on cute kids that I see out and about, but it really has very little to do with looks in my case. Some kids just exude massive levels of that "if it wouldn't be really creepy, since I'm a total stranger, I'd just pick you up and squeeze you" vibe and/or a real...spark (a little mischievous, a little outgoing, a little...something), and those kids are just uber-cute, no matter what they look like.


yes.  Kids ARE cute.  At least I think so.  I've never really met an ugly baby, to be honest.  and like you are saying, it's not exactly about looks, but more so their disposition.  I am a baby person, though, so a teeny tiny newborn gets me gushing every time.  I almost always nudge DH or comment to my own kid, "look at that precious baby!" and have no problem saying how adorable someone's infant or toddler are while out in public.  To me, an under 5 yr old, and especially an under 3 year old, are these cute little creatures.

 

 

OP, I also always received comments when my hair was to my butt.  I couldn't go into a gas station without someone saying how beautiful (or how long - duh) my hair was.  But it didn't really bother me, so I guess that's the difference.  I did find it a bit odd when I'd say, "Thanks, but I'm thinking about cutting it." and people would say NO! don't do it.  I mean, why do they care?  But alas, I did finally chop it off and a much happier that it's easier to maintain now.  But I didn't do it b/c I was sick of the comments.  So, see, adults do in fact comment on other adults' appearances.  Just not as often as with small children, b/c grown huge adults are no where near as cute as children are. And cute sometimes means just small, child-like, innocent things.

post #33 of 71

 

Quote:
 

It's funny....I frequently comment on cute kids that I see out and about, but it really has very little to do with looks in my case. Some kids just exude massive levels of that "if it wouldn't be really creepy, since I'm a total stranger, I'd just pick you up and squeeze you" vibe and/or a real...spark (a little mischievous, a little outgoing, a little...something), and those kids are just uber-cute, no matter what they look like.

 biglaugh.gif

 

I am guilty of this as well. Its not so much the looks but the whole package- an impish grin, a chubby knuckle, a sparkle in the eye.  My son and I have a running joke where after I admire a baby and make some comment about how cute they are (that by now I have learned is most likely horribly offensive)  I bend down and whisper to "Quick, you distract they mom and I will grab the baby(toddler) and run!".  Some kids you just can't resist!

 

But back to the OP, I still strongly believe that as a parent you ultimately control how the child measures their self worth.  Yes you have society sending all kinds of mixed messages. We do live in a society that values personal appearance.  But plenty of "gorgeous" kids grow up to be well balanced, well adjusted members of society, who go on to live happy lives.

 

I hear you that is vent and you of course entitled to that vent!!  Heck that is what ia vent is all about, getting things off your chest!! But I don't think you are going to be able to change the immediate future and well meaning friends, relatives and strangers are going to continue to say those type of things. So keep the bean dip comments at the tip of your tongue and know that your values will have far more weight than the opinions of these people.

post #34 of 71
post #35 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

 

FWIW my kid is only 17 months old so there is a long road ahead.


At 17mo, you're probably about half way there.  As baby's start looking like kids, the comments slow down - they've slowed down for my son and he's almost 2.  He hasn't gotten any less cute, but he doesn't look like a baby anymore.

 

Your ds will also start getting LOTS more interesting in other ways very soon - my ds has always been fascinating to me for a million different reasons, but family and friends REALLY got interested in the things he was doing - cause he was doing a lot more!

 

I still think you should just try to diffuse it, being super offended that people think your ds is cute is over reacting.  By agreeing with people, and then changing the subject, they feel like you respected what they had to say, and they are more likely to move on.  If you tell them, Please don't comment on that, I don't think people should focus on his looks" you make them feel defnesive and they defend their position - it creates more of a problem than you need.  It also calls more attention to your ds, and the fact that everyone thinks he's gorgeous.  The one family friend that harasses you for hours on end - she is weird and not the norm.

 

Additionally, when one of my friends looks great, I tell her!  If someone puts up a great picture on facebook I comment and say they look great/beautiful/etc - I DO comment freely on my friends looks, and if I see someone with great shoes, or a great jacket or something, I will tell them (yes even strangers), "I love your shoes!"  "I love your outfit!"  etc.  Usually, I get some surprised, "Oh, thanks!  I just got them and I love them!"  or "Thanks!" and they usually stand up a bit straighter and walk off with a smile - which I don't think is a bad thing.  I certainly hope I never say anything nice to you though, since after reading your posts I would probably get chewed out.

post #36 of 71

Exactly.  It's nice to hear nice things about ourselves or our kids. 

post #37 of 71
Quote:

 

Additionally, when one of my friends looks great, I tell her!  If someone puts up a great picture on facebook I comment and say they look great/beautiful/etc - I DO comment freely on my friends looks, and if I see someone with great shoes, or a great jacket or something, I will tell them (yes even strangers), "I love your shoes!"  "I love your outfit!"  etc.  Usually, I get some surprised, "Oh, thanks!  I just got them and I love them!"  or "Thanks!" and they usually stand up a bit straighter and walk off with a smile - which I don't think is a bad thing.  I certainly hope I never say anything nice to you though, since after reading your posts I would probably get chewed out.


I do too.  I'd love to hear people say how great I look.  

 

I'm not as easily impressed by kid's looks anymore.  I've seen millions of really cute kids.  So, now, the kids have to have that winning personality to impress me.  I have some students who are freaking adorable!  But, it's THEM that is adorable, if I posted a picture of them, nobody would say "aww how cute".  But, to me, they are the cutest kids ever.

post #38 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

 I certainly hope I never say anything nice to you though, since after reading your posts I would probably get chewed out.


Only if what you said was in regards to my super-awesome bodacious beautifulness...so probably won't be an issue lol.gif

post #39 of 71

I get a lot of comments on how cute DD is, mostly about her smile, her jabbering, and her eyes and eyelashes. I think a lot of the time what people are talking about is that she's engaged, always interacting with the world. I haven't met your DS, but maybe he has a similar quality, and that's where some of the comments are coming from. though I agree that the woman from your OP is taking things way too far, maybe she's trying to live out a fantasy of her own through your son or something. 

post #40 of 71

 

Quote:
At 17mo, you're probably about half way there.  As baby's start looking like kids, the comments slow down - they've slowed down for my son and he's almost 2.  He hasn't gotten any less cute, but he doesn't look like a baby anymore.

Eesh, don't count on it. I've been waiting for the comments about DD to stop since she was a newborn. I thought they might taper off at 3-4 months, when she'd lost that "aww, so tiny to be out in public, when was she born??" vibe... and then again when she learned to walk, when she was harder to see :p and lost a bit of the "baby" look. She's nearly three, and still gets floods of compliments... and yes, she is embarrassingly, Aryanly blonde and blue-eyed. (Very few "model" comments though - this is New Zealand, it's hardly the media hub of the world!)

 

I'm now scientifically curious to see if the compliments will stop when the next baby's born. I know people often tend to focus on the smallest, softest, squishiest human present. :p

 

I go back and forth on whether it bugs me. Mostly the ones that annoy me are people - usually older ladies - who comment is a rather pointed way how Nice it is to see a girl wearing a dress. DD does wear dresses most of the time, because she likes them, but I don't consider it some kind of moral imperative. She sometimes wears pants. And I sort of resent moral approval being masked as a compliment - you know? Like people who tell me they love my long hair, but in a way that makes it clear they believe women should have long hair, not that they think mine's pretty. And again, I don't have any moral objections to short hair, so it makes me feel guilty and judged anyway. :p

 

And I do think personality plays into it. DD often gets compliments when she starts unconsciously dancing around to the piped music in a supermarket, or when she's chattering precociously away at my knee, or when she starts singing songs from my singing group (which are often in Latin or German or something - it really is gorgeous!). "Cute" doesn't always mean facial features, it can be  a general vibe. My nephew pretty much looks like a monkey, but he has the most engaging smile and wriggles with delight all the time, and gets heaps of compliments as well.

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