Beauty. How far should you go?

by Jen Lee Reeves on April 15, 2011 · 2 comments

in 2011, Beauty

When I was a teen, I struggled with feeling good about myself and my body. It’s crazy to think about that now since I had everything going for me. I didn’t fit the über skinny expectations for anything like a modeling career, but I really didn’t have a thing to worry about. That’s why the moment I heard I was going to have a little girl, I committed myself to being strong and a role model to my daughter.

When she was born with a limb difference, my head wouldn’t stop thinking about how culture is harsh on a person with all of his or her limbs… I realized it was up to me to make sure Jordan has an incredibly strong self-awareness and confidence. And I wouldn’t be able to do it alone. I would needs friends, activities and organizations to partner with to make sure Jordan hears the message that she’s just right… even while media and culture says otherwise. I want to do what I can to help her stay strong and prevent the effects of bullying. I guess that’s why I always think about the picture I have of little baby Jordan in her “perfect” shirt. I loved it. I love it. She is perfect.

I know other parents worry about these kinds of things. But I am unsure how to feel when I read about a mom who had her seven-year-old daughter’s ears pinned to help prevent bullying. You can watch the story about it on ABC News. Surgery at seven? That seems so extreme, but I’m not the mom of this little girl. So she has the choice to do what she thought was best. The interesting part is how the mom talks about how most of the bullying came from adults and not children at this point in her daughter’s life. I kind of understand this since I’ve had more adults express open shock about Jordan’s difference. Children tend to stare or point or just openly ask what’s going on.

My form of bullying prevention is self confidence, not surgery. I want to make sure I have the resources to support Jordan and any of her friends. Here are a few that I’m really focused on these days:
Operation Beautiful – This is a really cool site that talks about the beauty in all of us with a simple note. The woman who started the campaign encourages us all to leave notes in public restrooms that remind you that you’re beautiful. Seriously. It’s such a simple great idea.
Girls Leadership Institute – I haven’t had a chance to personally get involved with this group yet, but I am inspired by the positive message it sends to girls and the many opportunities it brings for girls to learn about confidence and leadership.
BlogHer’s Own Your Beauty – This is a yearlong conversation on the BlogHer site that is focused on what women find beautiful. I’ve found some incredible stories here. I highly recommend it.

Please share me your links. I think the more we work together, the more positive we can share with the general public and our children, the better the childhood… The better our world!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki Brooks April 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Jen~

Even the parent’s of boys with limb differences have the same thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times our son comes home from school and says he couldn’t play football, basketball, etc. because he has one arm (this is said at recess when all the kids are supposed to be interacting and blowing off some steam). I have talked to the teachers, asst principals, etc. but get nowhere. One of his victories came when one of the boys told him he couldn’t make a basket when they were doing “Hoops For Hearts” and our son out shot him. =-) Boys have their own problems. Did you check out the “Hands To Love- Hand Camp” page and read about Loyal, the tri-athlete that came to the camp this year to visit? I wish you would consider bringing Jordan to Hand Camp next year. If she ever comes one time, her and the whole family will want to return again and again. It is a family camp (parents and siblings can come) and the chance to be around, interact , bond with and develop new and lasting friendships with other children “Born Just Right” and their families is priceless!!! Please consider coming. We would LOVE to have your family there. I can send you the information. Even though I have been told that our son has a ton of confidence, he gets an extra bunch at Hand Camp that lasts him until the next Hand Camp!!!

Hugs, Nikki.

Melissa Varner April 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Instilling pride, confidence, and strength in both of my daughters is of the upmost imporatnce to me. I often wonder how much will be enough to counter how society tells them they should look. I rememebr all to well how difficult the akward years were for me with my glasses, braces, and legs that would make a chicken jealous :) Julia’s limb difference brought the importance to the forefront of my mind and in turn, has made me a better mommy.

Nikki, thank you for posting about the camp. I am very interested!

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