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May 5 2014

Why I Tell My Daughter She’s Pretty, But Won’t Tell Her She’s Smart

By at 11:36 am

why-i-call-my-daughter-pretty

My 7-year-old daughter who, as we previously determined, is nothing like me in personality, also looks nothing like me. Which is why I can say, without a trace of self-interest, that she is a beautiful girl. She has luxurious black hair, olive skin, huge chocolate colored eyes, eye lashes that go on forever, and a perennial smile on her face–just like her dad. I constantly tell my daughter that she is beautiful. (My brother has dubbed her Beauteous Maximus, in Latin).

I know many beautiful women. Having worked in soap operas since 1994, I’d wager I know more beautiful woman than most people. Every year, around Daytime Emmys time, I would leave the house feeling I looked my very best. I’d get to the venue and wonder why I bothered; I wasn’t in these people’s league. I wasn’t in their species. And yet, a majority of these stunning creatures all think there is something wrong with them. Usually because of a lifetime of hearing from well-meaning people–more often than not, moms and dads set the stage for what agents and casting director and “fans” finish–about how they could really stand to lose five pounds. Or get a nose job. Or straighten their hair. Or wear more make-up/different clothes/stand up straight/smile.

I also know women who would be considered objectively unattractive in the conventional sense. And yet their self-image is amazing. Because no one ever told them otherwise. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2013

Why I Let My Kids See Me Naked

By at 10:24 am

mother and daughter on the beach

I never saw my mother naked.

Not even when I was a little girl.

With her clothes on, she was slender and supple. Her legs were shapely beneath black Gap stretch pants, and her breasts rode high underneath her cotton turtlenecks. She’d change with the door closed, and I knew better than to open the opaque glass door when she was showering.

She never wore bathing suits. Even when we went down to the lip of the sea where the waves licked our feet, she’d stand there in her leggings and a baggy t-shirt while my father and I would charge into the billows, our firm bodies buoyant in the waves.

I never saw the softness of her belly, or spider veins etching a life story on her thighs. I don’t know if her nipples were brown or pink or red or peach.

I never heard her use the “F” word. No, not that one. This one: Fat. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 10 2013

On That Dustin Hoffman Video & What I Want to Teach My Daughter About Beauty

By at 1:52 pm

tootsieYesterday, a video circulated around the internet showcasing an emotional Dustin Hoffman being interviewed about his 1982 movie, Tootsie. I know, it sounds pretty strange for the guy to get choked up over a comedy about a struggling actor who disguises himself as a woman and lands a role on a soap opera.

In the video, Hoffman acknowledges that he did not transform into the most attractive woman. He explains, “If I met myself at a party, I would never talk to that character because she doesn’t fulfill, physically, the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have to ask them out… There’s too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 1 2013

My Preschool Daughter’s Bikini

By at 9:52 am

little girl in a bikiniA few weeks ago, my preschooler daughter wore her blue, green, and yellow bathing suit all day long, the one with the bunches of bananas print. Mind you, this was in New England, during one of those frigidly freezing spells, and note, too, that she didn’t wear the entire bathing suit–just the ruffle-banded bikini top. “This,” she explained as she put it on, “is my bra.”

She paraded around the house in just her “bra” for an hour or so–until she got cold. Then, she pulled her shirt over that and continued onward. She wore the getup to the co-op and she made sure to show our 20-something housemates the strap peeking out from beneath her shirt.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 2 2012

Waxing My Lady Parts for the Sake of My Kids

By at 12:26 pm
waxing supplies

They make the pain look so pretty.

I got waxed today. For the first time ever.

Yes, I will be 35 years old in just over a month, and I have never before had the pleasure of having a complete stranger (in adult braces, no less) rub hot wax frighteningly close to my lady bits before ripping it off with a huge grin on her face.

Now, you may be wondering what prompted me to engage in such masochistic behavior (or perhaps that part is obvious–I did have two kids in less than two years, after all, so I’m no stranger to self-inflicted pain and misery). It’s true, we are going to the beach next week, and my Jewish-Italian heritage presented itself in a rather hairy way after a long New England winter. I decided it was time to take decisive action. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 16 2012

Makeup for Kids? Yuck.

By at 1:01 pm

eye shadowEleven-year-old boys watching porn and now 7-year-old girls wearing makeup.

The voyeur and the objectified, getting ever younger.

The New York Times recently had an article about make-up for the “tweens” and their younger sisters.

What’s next? Wigs for newborns? Bet they’ll only be marketed to baby girls. Read the rest of this entry →

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