This is a story that I had published back in 2016. This subject is still really important to me so I thought that I would re-share it. We have come along way but still have quite a journey in front of us.
Yesterday, my daughter Stella turned 4, and to celebrate, we took her to her favorite restaurant, Chick-Fil-A. The girl loves her some chicken nuggets! While we were waiting for our food, I took Stella into their small play area. For once, it wasn’t overcrowded with tons of children. There was just one other little girl in there having a grand time.
Stella began to watch the little girl excitedly as she played. Finally, she warmed up and decided to climb up into the play area. The other little girl, who I later discovered was 5 and a half (don’t forget the half!) was oh-so-patient as Stella blocked the slide, too scared to go down. The little girl wanted to know why Stella wasn’t answering when she talked to her. I explained that she couldn’t talk yet, and she said, “Oh,” matter-of-factly and went about her business.
When I later overheard her say to her mom, “I like her face, it’s pretty,” it really touched my heart and soul. This girl did not see Down syndrome. She saw Stella. This cute, sweet little 5-and-a-half-year-old girl thinks my daughter has a pretty face. Well, I agree completely!
It really got me thinking, at what point do our kids start changing the way they see beauty? Obviously it happens. How many magazines, commercials, TV shows, movies, billboards, etc. does a child have to see before their mind is changed about what beauty looks like? How many times do they have to hear the people around them tease, make fun of, and degrade others for their appearances before they start to change their mind about what’s acceptable? When are we going to start setting a better example and be the change for our kids?
Who determines what beauty is, anyway?
Who decided that tall, thin and busty was beautiful? That’s what our daughters are seeing in magazines, believing that is what they need to look like to be beautiful. It’s time for a change! My daughter deserves to grow up knowing she is beautiful because that’s the way God made her. She is beautiful because she is kind, loving, smart and wonderful. Stella is beautiful because she is Stella.
It is time to change the face of beauty. I want to live in a world where I can watch TV shows and movies, look at billboards and magazines and see all people represented. Change is long overdue. Now is the time for the advertising and media world to start using people of all abilities in their ads, movies, and TV shows. We must hurry before society convinces that sweet little 5-and-a-half-year-old girl that my daughter is no longer “pretty.”
Stella and all people of different abilities deserve to be represented in media. Companies, advertising agencies and the entertainment industry have the power to redefine beauty. Will you take this challenge? Will you start using people of different abilities in your advertising? Will you represent Stella?