Ok, I’ll admit it. I love watching “The Bachelorette” or “The Bachelor.” I get excited on for Monday nights (or as of lately, Tuesday afternoons when I catch up on Hulu) to watch the endless, unnecessary drama. Do I realize that it is totally set up? Of course. Don’t I realize that it never works out between these couples? Duh. Am I aware that the whole concept of this show is completely absurd? Absolutely. So why do I still watch it? Entertainment. If you watch the show you’ve got to admit, it is funny and entertaining. And sometimes I just love some brainless drama :).
Well today I watched last night’s bachelorette episode on Hulu totally heartbroken and close to tears! Am I that involved in the show and the characters to be personally affected by it? Of course not. So why the emotion?
Yesterday I found out that I am going to have a little baby girl! No news could make me more excited :). I have always deeply desired to have a daughter! So in watching the bachelorette today, I found that I could not watch it without doing so through the lens of raising a girl in a world full of insecurities and demands on image. This episode was especially awful, as Ashley (the bachelorette) took 12 of the men on a group date to a comedy club where they would “roast” her in front of an audience of 200. These men were just down right stupid, saying some of the most hurtful things about Ashley! That’s one way to win a woman’s heart. Multiple comments were made about how flat chested she was, one man commenting on how 80% of men in America wouldn’t want to date her since 80% of men are “boob guys.” The most hurtful comment was when William, one of the guys competing, said that when he came on the show, he was hoping that the bachelorette was going to be Emily or Chantel (the 2 other girls from the previous season of “The Bachelor”) but that instead they got Ashley, who he referred to as “Brad’s leftovers.” Ouch. Making matters worse, William is only one of many men on the show who have said they wished it were Emily who was the bachelorette, not Ashley. Barbie doll looking Emily. Don’t get me wrong, she’s gorgeous! But is that not one of our biggest fears in being a woman? That we are not enough the way we are, that men prefer the Barbie girls? Because we’re not already surrounded by enough messages and media telling us that there is one preferable look: blond, tan, white teeth and perfect body.
Of course I felt for poor Ashley who dissolved into tears, but more than anything I could not stop thinking about my daughter. How badly I want to protect her from the insecurities, lies and pressures in the world. How desperately I want her to feel the freedom and ease of being herself and not carry the chains of constantly feeling like she has to look a certain way to be good enough. The chains her mother has carried, and often still does. I’ve already thought about the many different features our little girl could have as a combination between Jordan and I: she could have dark skin, dark hair and brown eyes like her daddy; light hair, light skin, and blue eyes like her mom; dark skin, light hair and brown eyes; dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes; light skin, dark hair and brown eyes; dark or light skin with red hair (both of our mothers are red heads), etc… whatever combination of hair, skin, eyes, etc that our daughter has I hope she will understand that it is who she is, and that is enough. And that she will believe she is beautiful and live in the freedom of that truth.
And as I think about how badly I want to protect my daughter from insecurities, I’m finding that I also have to turn the tables and look at myself in the mirror. Are there things that I am doing to build an image of myself that would communicate to my daughter that I believe there is a certain way that we should all strive to look, and that I am not ok the way that God created me to look? Am I living in a way that would help her to see and appreciate individual beauty and differences, or will looking at me teach her to try to change herself?…