A letter to Grandpa

12/13/17

Dear Grandpa,

Everyone thinks their grandpa is the best, and that’s really nice and everything, but the truth is, mine actually was the best.

You were the actual best grandpa, great grandfather, dad, neighbor, worker, and friend. You’re the man everyone aspires to be, the one great character every reader is completely enamored with and that every author hopes to write about – but quite honestly, it may be impossible for even the best writer to capture your wit, smarts, quirks, and charm.

Last night, you died, and when I held your hand, it was still so big and warm, just like always. You looked like you; you still looked so handsome; you looked finally at rest. I can still feel you holding my hands, cupping them around mine since I was a kid to keep me warm, and until the very end, you were still my warm protector.

Why beautiful is not a compliment (and what to say instead)

Everyone likes to feel beautiful, right? That’s what the media tells us; that’s what our inner nature tells us; it’s what we instinctively tell any little girl we see and the way we measure our attractiveness against other people’s, whether intentionally or subconsciously.

After finding myself telling my daughters this all the time, I had to stop and realize what I was doing, because telling someone they’re beautiful may be a true statement, but it’s not exactly a meaningful compliment.

If someone is, as you deem them, beautiful, that’s the way they were made. They didn’t do anything (short of extreme plastic surgery gone right, in which case you can compliment the doctor) to look like that. And even so, a compliment towards one’s beauty is merely a statement on their outward appearance, one they had no control over.

Related post: The problem with ‘everyone is beautiful’

The problem with ‘everyone is beautiful’

While I find it admirable that many mainstream brands and ads have expanded the typical media’s standard of beauty – thin, young, white girl – to include all body shapes, sizes, colors, and ages, I still have a problem with the overarching message – there is a clear problem with everyone is beautiful. Yes, women of all kinds are beautiful, but so what? Why do women have to be minimized or validated by the qualification of being beautiful?

I believe this stamp of approval on our physical appearance is meant to empower women for their individuality, but it’s actually just objectifying us more.

I realize many of these campaigns are just trying to reverse the horrifying, unrealistic depiction of what it means to be a beautiful woman (size 2, airbrushed, photoshopped), which is a real problem in our society, with issues such as depression and eating disorders starting as early as 10-years-old, but instead of asserting that now ALL women can be EQUALLY objectified, we should change the message of these campaigns.

Related post: Why beautiful is not a compliment (and what to say instead)

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