Monday, December 30, 2013

You don't get to have me.

Barbie has recently reared her ugly head. I mean that figuratively. I don't actually care about Barbie. This isn't where you tell me she's evil and bad for me and bad for my girls. This IS where I tell YOU she's a piece of plastic. And I actually have something in common with her:

I can't point my toes, either, Barbie Doll! 
Fight the power!

Then there's the Duchess of Cambridge. "Flawless" she was recently called. Is she pressuring me to look a certain way? Have it "all?"
Um, no. She's royalty, people. And, I'm...well...just no.

How about Gisele? Did she stress you out when she "multitasked?" Would you like to hear all the places *I* practiced that version of multitasking?

Forget all that. You don't have anything in common with those people. 
Forget that only two of them actually ARE people.

There are real people out there with whom you DO have something in common. 
The woman who just walked by your table at Starbucks: you both dated the same guy in high school except her hair looks a *little* better after a rainstorm. Your college roommate: you wear the same color lipstick except she's chair of the philanthropy you merely volunteer for. Your sister: it's so cute the way you teach nursery school. She just made partner at the largest law firm in the city.

What happens to you when you're with those more beautiful, more successful, smarter people? Can you still see how awesome you are? Or do you forget? I do.

Do you know what I caught myself saying to someone recently? "I could never have dated HIM in college. He was totally out of my league. Still is." 

Wait, WHAT? Hold up now! "HE" couldn't have dated ME because HE was too wrapped up with THE WRONG GIRL. And "he" still can't have me because I'm MARRIED. (nanananabooboo!) OK, maybe he is, too. But that isn't my point.

My point is Barbie's a doll, the duchess is royalty, and Gisele...well, come on, that's just not real life. But the mom with the rockin' hair and form-fitting leggings (I know they're "not pants," but they look so good on her!): SHE'S real. And I compare myself to her regularly. Even though I know I'm awesome. I've always compared myself to the "hers" in my life. But the degree to which I would succumb to pressure to actually BE like her--to BE HER--is minimal. 

I met Baby T's birth mom last week. When the social worker opened the door to introduce us, a child was staring back at me. T's biological mother isn't old enough to drink, she's not old enough to vote. She isn't even old enough to drive. I don't know every detail of every story. But we know that sometimes, young women--girls--are pressured into relationships they're not ready for. Does the same thing happen to guys? Sure. Of all of the babies I've cared for and birth moms I've met, have I ever met more than two biological dads? No.

I doubt it was a doll and it's hard for me to believe that it was a famous person who put pressure on T's mom. (YES. I KNOW TEENAGERS WATCH TV AND DECIDE THEY WANT TO GET PREGNANT. That's not this blog post. OK?) It's more likely it was pressure from someone she thought was cooler than she, possibly older and more sophisticated. "If you really love me," "All the older girls are doing it," and even "I promise, nothing bad will happen," could have all been words uttered.

Tell me, if one of those beautiful, successful, smart people in your life wanted you to do something for them, would you do it because they're "out of your league" and you're so LUCKY that they're even asking you? What would 14-year-old you have done?

It's tough to know where to end this one.

To be continued...perhaps by you.


  1. mmh... it's hard to say. I have a pretty instinctual gut and I've always erred on the side of caution so if I felt bad about something, I'd probably not do it... now or at 14 years old. But a girl who hasn't been raised to be self-confident, or doesn't have a good relationship with her parents, that kind of girl might be more likely to give herself over. So, we have to ask ourselves as parents-- how do we raise girls that won't give into that kind of pressure and how do we raise boys to not put that pressure on? I know this--it has nothing to do with whether or not you let your girls play with barbie dolls.

    1. First of all, I find myself nodding in agreement...again. And I want to add to what you said that not only do I think that I owe thanks for any confidence to parents but also to teachers (yes, parents are teachers) who provided ample facts with which to make decisions. Statistics, risks...all were valuable to me. (My English teachers are now wondering where they went wrong...)

      ALSO, the Barbie thing is HUGE for some people. (I'm lumping Kate and Gisele in with Barbie.) It has just NEVER moved me.