I'm a Military Blogger


Monday, October 15, 2012

Moms, STAY in the picture and STOP apologizing!

There has been an article recently, buzzing around the internet. "The Mom Stays in the Picture" was originally written by Allison Tate of Huffpost, and has since gone viral.

Tate speaks about many of us mothers' (nay, us WOMENS') concerns over appearing in photographs looking "uggy". Alas, it was this very fear that bred the "myspace angles" and "duck face".  Reading it, I did feel a surge of emotion. I've been hiding myself in photos since at least High School. The few pictures I do post of myself, either cut my face out entirely or come with an apology.

"Making pancakes in the balboa baby. Disregard the unkempt 90's-mom-hair" Reads the facebook caption on that photo.

That one doesn't even include my face at all.
Even the album from my daughter's birth includes the commentary of "I look like a derp in most of these." A derp. In photos of my daughter's birth!

This got me thinking. Why do women do this to themselves? I mean, I don't go around commenting on my friends' photos with "wow your morning hair looks like garbage!" nor do I recoil in fear from other women on the street. Women who, despite walking out the door and letting the public see them exactly as-is, probably won't allow someone to snap a photo of them without checking the back of the camera 40 times to ensure the perfect illusion.

I guess it makes sense. Photos are essentially our attempts at immortalizing ourselves, so that 50+ years from now we, and our children, and our children's children can look back and say "that's what she looked like in 2012". But I think the problem goes much deeper than just not wanting to immortilize imperfections. We flat out don't want to be captured on camera unless we are beautiful. We don't want future generations (or even friends, family, and strangers now) to look and think we are ugly. Our desire to achieve beauty is almost erasing out existence.

Which bring me to another point: How much time do you spend each day "achieving" your standard of beauty for the day. And I don't just mean how much time do you spend putting on your makeup or doing your hair. How much time do you spend trying to control the way the public sees you in person? Do you stare at reflections of yourself in car windows as you cross the parking lot to class? Do you put on lipstick to drop your kids off? Do you worry all day that you do not look "up to code"?And how often does this desire to control your appearance (even on a windy day at the beach) lapse over into your life, and your children's lives.

Our children are watching, even when we don't want them to. Everytime you look in the mirror and say "blah, these pants make my hips look fat" or "wow I really need some highlights" you are subconciously teaching your child that 1. Mommy is ugly 2. If they look like mommy, they are ugly 3. It's ok to make negative comments about themselves. And that rolls into their adult lives. For girls, it teaches them to always question their appearance. For boys, it teaches them to judge women based on their appearance.

Some of you may remember my "hair bleach" incident. Too ashamed and embarassed at the time to post a picture, I promised one at a future date. Well here you go. That's what I looked like. I ran to a wig shop and bought wigs, different colored wigs. Long wigs, short wigs, human hair wigs, fake hair wigs. I wore those wigs for almost a year before shaving my head.

I can't even remember now where this train of thought is going. I guess the point is, I've had some pretty bad hair days, and some no-hair days, and I pretty much avoided the camera. But now, look back on that bleaching photo. It's kind of hilarious! One day, when my daughter is older and is worrying about boys and shoes and her hair, I will pull that out and say "I survived that. You will survive this."

So, Like Allison Tate said, STAY in the picture. You don't have to plaster them all over your house, or in your family Christmas card, but stay in the picture and save the picture. You won't always feel the same about yourself as you do now and maybe later you will look back on those pictures and say "look how much fun I'm having!" and not "look at how much weight I gained". And for the love of God STOP apologizing for the way you look. It's YOU!

I'm staying in the photo. Are you?



Professional Hair Care said...

I wish to express my appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of this type of dilemma. Right after looking throughout the the net and finding thoughts which are not pleasant.I really gonna appreciate if you happen to proceed this in future. Lots of people will likely be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Professional Hair Care

Mrs. Stripes said...

I think we freak out a bit about what motherhood looks like - rather messy and unkempt at times. Oh, some moms aren't unkempt, and that's fine of course. We don't need to be one extreme or the other. :)

It seems we all want to present the best face possible to the world, and that's probably only natural.

Me? If I go out to run errands, I give myself time to get ready and look nice without going overboard. If I had girls, I'd want to teach them that there's a "happy medium".

As it is, I have sons, and they say I'm beautiful, whether I make an "effort" or not. I don't say, "Ew, no! My hair isn't done and I need make up."

I just say, "Thank you. You're beautiful too." :)

~ Kathy said...

I love your writing style - and thank you for your messages. Life isn't perfect, and it's the imperfections that make it an interesting adventure!

Alicia K. said...

This is awesome and so true. I actually came to this realization a few months after Lilly was born. I noticed that there were no pictures of my mom and me when i was young. (aside from professional ones) And i didnt want that for my daughter! I want her to know whats real in life. and its not always glamorous but as long as your happy and healthy and with people you love it doesnt matter!!!