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I'm so tired of the value people place in a child's looks!! Vent! - Page 3

post #41 of 71

My one liner would be "We're trying to raise him to be healthy, sane and well-balanced.  Introducing him to one of the most UNhealthy, INsane, DEstabilizing dynamics ever would feel almost like child abuse.  Oooh, have you tried the bean dip?"  :D

 

And I haven't read other responses but just so you know you're not alone, I actually went so far as auditioning dd for child modeling and when they said they wanted to sign her I finally came to my senses and said "Oh no, no, what am I thinking... that would be wrong on so many levels" and we haven't thought about it again since.

post #42 of 71



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

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".


That whole description of what it takes exhausted me just to read it.  And that reality of what it takes to do child modeling also gets into why I think - on top of all my anti-commercialism reasons for not wanting to do it, I truly think that if you do it up to/past a certain age of child, they start to absorb all kinds of messed up messages about themselves, what's valuable about them, etc.

 

There is no question that we are the biggest influences on our kids, but the reality of modeling even as a child is that it can plant some very disturbing seeds in kids and foster some messed up competition and self-image that I can't really imagine ever voluntarily exposing my kid to.
 

post #43 of 71

As important as I think it is to teach children to not value looks, to value personality and accomplishments more...

 

I think it is more important to teach them to accept compliments graciously.

post #44 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

As important as I think it is to teach children to not value looks, to value personality and accomplishments more...

 

I think it is more important to teach them to accept compliments graciously.



I agree.  I think hyperreacting to any physical complement because you hate any reference to looks is STILL overly focused on looks.  In a negative way, perhaps, but the strength of feeling will still make an impression on a child.  If a child is athletically gifted, and someone complements them on, IDK, making 15 free throws in 20 seconds or whatever--what message does it send to the child if the parent immediately steps in to say, "Yeah, well, he got an A in math too!"  I think that the parent might feel it is telling the child that they think of them as well rounded, I think many children interpret it as "Wow, mom is embarassed by me playing basketball."

 

I think we need to be careful.  Are you (the general you) giving your kids the impression that you are embarassed by their appearance?  I know some kids that do feel that way--not because their parents are abusive monsters, but because they cannot accept a complement that's not academic or "success" oriented, they swoop in to bat down or "correct" the complement.  That gives not so nice messages too.

 

Personally, I think a polite "Thank you" to a complement while saying "But no thank you to the modeling, we don't have the time as a family right now" is the best way to go.  It keeps it neutral, hopefully less intense, and you're not treating a child's appearance like a disease.

 

It makes me sad when people perpetuate the idea that all beautiful people are stuck up, stupid, or unaccomplished.  There are tons of ugly people who are that.  And many beautiful and ugly people that are the opposite.  I think we have to be very careful in "defending" our kids against our societal pet peeves that we don't unintentionally give them a very different message than the one we perceive we're giving.

 

And if people do not think that "accomplishments" are sometimes very much generated in the same accident-of-birth way as looks (and personality) then I think that probably the people who think that don't know very many accomplished people.  Some accomplished people are rather stupid.  Mean.  Unethical.  And some people who have no worldly accomplishments to speak of are breathtakingly beautiful (on the inside, or outside, or both).  IMO, I don't see beauty, external accomplishments, personality, or brains in a hierarchy.  They are nice things to have.  So are compliments.  I think that deciding one amongst that group is somehow horrible and never to be mentioned is just as wrong as lifting one up as the end all be all.  And it also neglects the fact that most people will have none in any large measure, and we can still be fulfilled and happy anyway--and there are many people who have more than one (if not all) in a high degree who are NEVER happy or fulfilled.  :(

post #45 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 

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.


Yeah, my ds gets compliments all the time - but he's also almost always doing something adorable (what can I say, I'm biased) - like dancing, talking, echoing every.single.thing.I.say. etc.  We get plenty of model comments, but most of the time ds engages everyone he see's, always wants to say hi to people, and people LOVE being said hi to by a toddler - it just makes everyone's day!

post #46 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 

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.


Yeah, my ds gets compliments all the time - but he's also almost always doing something adorable (what can I say, I'm biased) - like dancing, talking, echoing every.single.thing.I.say. etc.  We get plenty of model comments, but most of the time ds engages everyone he see's, always wants to say hi to people, and people LOVE being said hi to by a toddler - it just makes everyone's day!

post #47 of 71

"No thanks, I'd rather not end up with a Lindsey Lohan in 15 years". That was my most recent remark to an agent that stopped us and tried to give me her card for my middle dd. She didn't have a remark and it stunned her so much i was able to scurry off.

 

Honestly, i get it. While i think all my children are beyond beautiful and i find pleasure in it, because they are mine, it isn't something i enjoy other people commenting on or even noticing. My middle dd is the one who gets it the most, she is stunning. She has huge big full lips with a huge smile (don't get me started on the comments my sisters or close friends have made about it for when she's a teen and what boys will think about that!), she has huge almond shaped eyes, perfect flawless skin and naturally highlighted blondish hair. It never ends and we get comments constantly. BUT my oldest dd (who is equally as beautiful imo) does NOT get the same attention and at 7, it's starting to hit her. She often asks afterwards why they didnt say she was beautiful, if mommy thinks shes just as pretty as her sister, and could she be a model? It has made me so annoyed with people's obsession with beauty that i want to just tell them all that my kids are SMART, kind, empathetic and amazing. Leave out the beauty, because one day it fades. Its the other things that are important to me as a mother, that will last their entire life. And when someone compliments me on how well behaved, how polite, how kind, how empathetic, how smart or how loving they are . . . those are the compliments that i love. Because i know those are the things that will carry them through life.

 

So yes, I understand and i've started resorting to sarcasm and freezing humor because we live near quite a few talent agencies and when we are visiting my gma, we are inundated with it. Just part of life, my goal though is to teach my middle dd that beauty isn't the end all be all and my oldest daughter, that whats in her brain and heart are WAY more powerful than her looks will ever be. And my son, to respect everyone regardless of how they look! Good luck mama

 

ETA: as i read over other responses, and this is not my response to general compliments. To those who comment on one or all kids looks, a simple thank you suffices and my kids know to say thank you. This is to teh agent types who are relentless and follow you around as if they are a shark after blood. Seriously, they don't leave you alone at a simple "No thank you". It gets to teh point that my personal privacy and space feels violated, and thats when i respond with sarcasm and biting humor.

post #48 of 71

OP - I respect your right to these feelings and I respect your right to vent about them. I remember your thread from a year ago. I was puzzled by it then and I'm still puzzled by it now.

 

My son is absolutely beautiful. He was a beautiful baby, a beautiful toddler, a beautful preschooler, and is now a beautiful little boy. But not everyone sees his beauty as I do. DS has yellow-grey-blonde hair, very light blue eyes behind thick glasses, and skin the color of copy paper. Sometimes strnagers told us how cute he was as a baby. But just as often, his whole life people have asked us, "Why does he look like that? Why is he so white?" and they do not mean it nicely. Our son was eventually diagnosed with a form of albinism (a pigment disorder).

 

By the time DS was 18 months he was showing signs of developmental delays that would eventually be diagnosed as autism: no babbling, no words, very little eye contact, odd reactions to common objects, and he did not "engage" strangers when we were out in the community. People would watch him and ask, "What is wrong with him?" They were not kind about it.

 

I understand that you are frustrated and I do respect that you need to vent. At the same time a part of me thinks, what a wonderful thing you have to have to complain about, if the worst thing strangers usually say about your child is that he is beautiful.  

 

Enjoy your little one, and don't let the comments of others get you down.

post #49 of 71

DS has gotten a lot of people in the grocery store and where not, stop to tell us how handsome he is (mostly men oddly enough). The way they say it is with total honesty and a little shock. Like they are suprized a couple of untouchables like DH and I could have such a handsome baby. lol.gif

post #50 of 71

I know how irritating it is when people persist, as though they are trying to either convince me to be just as prejudiced as they are, or are using it as a way to knock me for not having those qualities. I'm half Mexican and half Swiss, my mother is the Swiss one and therefore so is all of her family. A couple years ago, her uncle and his wife visited and would not stop praising Sophia's blonde hair, blue eyes, blonde curls, alabaster skin, oh, she is so perfect! she's the epitome of American Beauty, I can't stop looking at her. blah blah blah, completely ignoring my other daughter's beauty because... well, I don't know, they're prejudiced insensitive A@@#$. I appreciated the initial compliment, Sophia is so cute, yes, thank you, and so is Abigail! but when they just wouldn't quit, as though it was the only nice thing they could say about either of my children, as if they were so freaking shocked that the likes of me could produce such cuteness, it did get annoying and I really had no idea what to say, but found myself looking forward to the end of the picnic visit in the park and seeing them off.

post #51 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~PurityLake~ View Post

I know how irritating it is when people persist, as though they are trying to either convince me to be just as prejudiced as they are, or are using it as a way to knock me for not having those qualities. I'm half Mexican and half Swiss, my mother is the Swiss one and therefore so is all of her family. A couple years ago, her uncle and his wife visited and would not stop praising Sophia's blonde hair, blue eyes, blonde curls, alabaster skin, oh, she is so perfect! she's the epitome of American Beauty, I can't stop looking at her. blah blah blah, completely ignoring my other daughter's beauty because... well, I don't know, they're prejudiced insensitive A@@#$. I appreciated the initial compliment, Sophia is so cute, yes, thank you, and so is Abigail! but when they just wouldn't quit, as though it was the only nice thing they could say about either of my children, as if they were so freaking shocked that the likes of me could produce such cuteness, it did get annoying and I really had no idea what to say, but found myself looking forward to the end of the picnic visit in the park and seeing them off.


That is wretched on so many levels. 

 

I have had people come up to me and ask where my son gets his good looks.  I can only assume they think his father is the gorgeous one.

post #52 of 71

There can be aspects of "she's so cute" that are not nice - like when people are just a little TOO effusive, or when they say your husband must be a real looker (thanks!), or in our area it's pageants.  When are you going to put her in pageants!  Approximately never?  But for the most part people ARE just trying to be nice and make conversation. 

 

One person who corners you and won't back off is obnoxious.  People randomly saying your kid is cute and should be in commercials?  Are just trying to be nice.  I'm not looking for things to get upset about, I just say thank you.  A lot.  And I'm glad people are trying to be nice, even if it's kind of superficial.

post #53 of 71


That is wretched on so many levels. 

 

I have had people come up to me and ask where my son gets his good looks.  I can only assume they think his father is the gorgeous one.



Oh my. Open mouth, insert foot. The things people say thoughtlessly.

post #54 of 71

I think people are missing a key aspect of the original poster's concern. What is said to children, over and over and over again affects them. It helps shape their conception of self and who they believe they can become. Particularly for girls it is a disturbing message to hear again and again that people are defining you by your looks. There are many troublesome components of this. As one poster mention often this attention is not distributed evenly in the family and and a child may hear every day the suggestion that her sister is prettier. Such frequent comments can feel like a kind of monitoring feeding into dieting among other troublesome behaviors.

post #55 of 71

I can honestly say that I was slightly unprepared for the whole 'strangers commenting on looks' type of thing when I had DS - 

 

DH and I went into a shop that we frequent regularly on a date night a few weeks ago. I went to school with one of the girls who works there and I guess my MIL (who was babysitting DS that day) coincidentally went into the shop with DS earlier that day. DH approached our friend who was working to say hi with one of her co workers commented on how cute our DS is and how much cuter he is than our friends baby. DH said she looked mortified. : ( I was unaware of this exchange until we got in the car and DH told me about it. And to set things straight, her baby is completely and totally adorable. 

 

post #56 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriket View Post

DS has gotten a lot of people in the grocery store and where not, stop to tell us how handsome he is (mostly men oddly enough). The way they say it is with total honesty and a little shock. Like they are suprized a couple of untouchables like DH and I could have such a handsome baby. lol.gif



I wouldn't think that they are shocked by you and your dh having such a beautiful baby - my ds gets that too.  Even teenage boys comment on my ds's eyes - they are stunning, and the teen boys get the biggest smiles from ds, they always comment on how beautiful his eyes are, and have that same honesty and shock that you are talking about.  It's pretty funny, and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with me.  Or, I'm going to assume its nothing to do with me :lol

post #57 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by ~PurityLake~ View Post

I know how irritating it is when people persist, as though they are trying to either convince me to be just as prejudiced as they are, or are using it as a way to knock me for not having those qualities. I'm half Mexican and half Swiss, my mother is the Swiss one and therefore so is all of her family. A couple years ago, her uncle and his wife visited and would not stop praising Sophia's blonde hair, blue eyes, blonde curls, alabaster skin, oh, she is so perfect! she's the epitome of American Beauty, I can't stop looking at her. blah blah blah, completely ignoring my other daughter's beauty because... well, I don't know, they're prejudiced insensitive A@@#$. I appreciated the initial compliment, Sophia is so cute, yes, thank you, and so is Abigail! but when they just wouldn't quit, as though it was the only nice thing they could say about either of my children, as if they were so freaking shocked that the likes of me could produce such cuteness, it did get annoying and I really had no idea what to say, but found myself looking forward to the end of the picnic visit in the park and seeing them off.


That is wretched on so many levels. 

 

I have had people come up to me and ask where my son gets his good looks.  I can only assume they think his father is the gorgeous one.



Or when my husband's sister says, wow, Sophia is so athletic and so energetic and so cute, she's definitely a (*insert my husband's family's last name*)! 

 

post #58 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roar View Post

I think people are missing a key aspect of the original poster's concern. What is said to children, over and over and over again affects them. It helps shape their conception of self and who they believe they can become. Particularly for girls it is a disturbing message to hear again and again that people are defining you by your looks. There are many troublesome components of this. As one poster mention often this attention is not distributed evenly in the family and and a child may hear every day the suggestion that her sister is prettier. Such frequent comments can feel like a kind of monitoring feeding into dieting among other troublesome behaviors.

A child will learn more from her parent's reaction to random people's random comments than she EVER will from those comments.  If you want your child to be kind to strangers, you have to model that and not get irritated when random people are just trying to be nice.

 

 


 

post #59 of 71

Just wait a few months! When my dd1 was about 18mo - 2 yrs old she used to get the compliments all the time, too. One time we saw an old friend in the grocery store. I was saying to dd1, "Look, there's B," as B was walking toward us and dd1 turned around in the cart and glared at B and said loudly, "I'M NOT A PRETTY GIRL!" before friend B even had a chance to get a word out. It was a preemptive strike on dd1's part. She was heading off any potential compliments at the pass.

 

What can I say. She didn't like, and still doesn't, being singled out unless it's on her own terms. (Loves to dance on stage for applause, but can't take a compliment.)

 

So, OP, if you really don't like the compliments/comments on his looks, teach him to say, "I'm NOT a pretty boy!", or you could say something along the lines of, "yeah, he's a cutie. Kids are just made to be cute, aren't they? He's beautiful/cute/great on the inside, too, though, and that's what really matters." As for the modeling, I agree with the other posters that in the original situation where the other mom who does have her kid in modeling is around you kinda have to bite your tongue a little bit. I think the suggestion of, "It's not really our thing and sure is a lot of work for the parents, too," is good. If you can speak more freely, I think it's absolutely fine to say, "I don't really want to use him to sell stuff, but thanks for the compliment."

post #60 of 71

I wouldn't worry about this; it happens to most kids.  When someone compliments your son, just say "thank you".  If they suggest modeling, just say that you don't think he'd like it.  Easy peasy! :)

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