More Than One Definition of Beautiful

Like much of the world, we’ve been keeping our eyes on the Olympics this week. While I’m certainly not glued to the screen, its fun to have the games on in the background while making dinner or cleaning up.  Evie and Mack are pretty neutral to the phenomenon – as far as they are concerned, if they are lucky enough to have a TV on it better be showing cartoons!

Last night Evie and Mack sneaked downstairs after bedtime, and since it was Saturday night Chris and I thought it was ok for them to stay up a little late. We were watching women’s track, and much to my surprise the kids were pretty enthusiastic about it.  Evie kept shouting “Go USA! Go USA!”, while Mack cheered “Go IRISH!” as a nod to his parents’ alma mater.  It was nice for all of us to be entertained by the same program.

Most of the competitors in all the events are wearing next-to-nothing as they fight for a medal.  Track runners are in bikinis, gymnasts wear skin-tight leotards, swimmers sport Speedos.  Not much is left to the imagination.  Even though I want to foster at least a modicum of modesty in my children, I think these elite athletes have every right in the world to wear as much – or as little – as they want.  I know they choose their uniforms based on what will help their performances, but in doing so they are redefining what it means to be beautiful and healthy.

I am so completely over our nation’s notion of what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like.  I am ready for a change, and I hope it happens well before Evie and Vivian come of age. I want my girls to look to athletes like Sanya Richards-Ross as they develop an understanding of beauty.  I hope they shun the images splashed on fashion magazines in favor of the message Missy Franklin offers.  I hope they find inspiration in Gabby Douglas’ warm and cheerful smile. I hope my they don’t feel ridiculous pressure to look like a fashion model; I want them to find happiness in a healthy and strong body.

As a mother of two young girls, I’d like to offer a genuine and sincere “thank you!” to all the female athletes competing in this year’s games.  Thank you for showing girls all over the world that being beautiful means more than big boobs and a waspy waist.  Thank you for flaunting health and determination.  Thank you for your strong arms and powerful legs and thick booties.  Thank you for representing more than one definition of beautiful.

P.S. Thank you for also showing my son that women are powerful and graceful and strong.  He needs to know this info, too…!

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. A big amen! Love this maureen!

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