Kari Kampakis published a guest post on her blog yesterday by Emily Wierenga titled Please Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body – you may have seen it. The gist was that we shouldn’t pretend our daughter’s bodies don’t exist, because they do, and if we don’t speak to them about their bodies, then they’ll listen to what everyone else is saying about beauty. Mrs. Wierenga writes from the very personal perspective of a woman whose body was neither acknowledged nor praised when she was a young girl.
I’m not sure why the post grabbed me and refused to let go.
Perhaps it’s because a beautiful young lady – inside and out! – lives in my home with me. She has sparkling blue eyes, beautiful thick hair, a brilliant mind, and an indomitable spirit. She has long, delicate fingers that contrast strongly with short stubby ones, and the build of a tall person in a small person’s size – also in stark contrast to her mother.
Her body isn’t perfect, of course – no one’s is. But some would say that the body she was gifted is “less perfect” than the bodies of her peers, because it can’t do all of the things that her peers can do. I’m a marathon runner, and in the many races I’ve completed, one thing that always amazes me is how every person’s running gait is unique. But Sarah Kate’s running gait is extra-unique – that is to say, different.
I worry that not everyone will see the beauty that I see.
But that’s silly, because that’s true for every girl. No matter her ability or disability, her size or her shape, every girl is beautiful in her own way, but not everyone will allow themselves to see it. So perhaps what I should really worry about it is not whether everyone will see Sarah Kate’s beauty, but whether the voices of those who do will prevail over the rest of the voices – the ones that relentlessly pursue the illusion of perfection.
(By the way, do you read Kari’s blog? Oddly enough…I don’t. I say “oddly” because I worked with Kari years ago so actually know her in real life, unlike most of the bloggers I read. Perhaps I should start.)