So today I was browsing tumblr and stumbled across the above image.
It’s common knowledge. It’s commonly accepted.
There is nothing that makes me as psychotic a pro-body feminist vocal activist type of person, except this. Except my love for my little sisters.
Robyn is 9. Renee is 13.
Renee wears more make-up than I ever have in my whole life. She wears playboy bunny outfits and talks about how she can’t eat foodcourt meals because they’ll make her fat, and that would be unappealing. My thirteen year old sister.
When I tried to explain to her that she doesn’t need it- any of it, the makeup, the diet, the skanky clothing- to be a worthwhile person, she gave me a look that broke my heart. She genuinely could not comprehend what I was saying. The music she listens to, the clothes she wears, and the attention of the boys at her school are what make her her. I can’t help feeling that I somehow failed as a sister, so see her like that. I mean, by all means, if you want to wear playboy and an inch of foundation because that’s what you want to do, do so! Just please, dear gods, don’t do it so other people will see you as worthy.
It’s made worse because (I know everyone says this about their siblings, but this is backed up with legitimate testing) she has an extremely high level of intelligence. She’s smart. Very smart. She is working in mathematics three or four years above her grade. She can understand and manipulate concepts that I, at 22 with university education, can’t quite grasp. She’s also beautiful in that sort of nordic-maiden way. Tall and graceful and blue eyed and blonde haired. Of all the people in the world, she does not need these image and identity issues, and certainly not at the age of 13!
Thankfully, Robyn seems to be finding her own way. If anything she’s taking after me, only with Renee’s intelligence and a quicksilver wit. My little sisters will grow up to be amazing human beings, so long as they can do it and stay true to themselves.
I am at a loss, my dears. I am so, so very at a loss. There must be something missing, something that we are missing, for childhood to be lost so quickly. Something is wrong if we lose our identity and pride and childlike joy before we even start middle school/highschool. There is something wrong if girls like my beloved Renee and Robyn think that what they look like, what they listen to, and how sexually appealing they are to others influences their worth as human beings.
Help me. Please, help me understand.
I don’t know where to start to help change this.