“It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you, the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This beauty will never disappear and it is worth very much to God.”
I continue to see this quote on Pinterest, often with the notes underneath, “for a little girl’s bathroom,” and it horrifies me every time. Please don’t get me wrong, it is not that I am looking to raise a daughter who is vain or materialistic. I already suffer from nightmarish visions of shopping at Abercrombie during her teen years. And it is not that I do not want my children to know and learn to cultivate a gentle spirit. In fact, I hope that each day I am able to demonstrate compassion, empathy, patience and caring to those around me (some days are better than others); and few things make me more proud than to see those qualities developing in my children.
The part of this quote that bothers me is the “quiet” part. I may be overthinking the verse but it just always reminds me a little too much of “little girls should be seen (though only in the background) and not heard.” Anyone who knows my daughter realizes that it is a bit irrational to worry that this might be problem for her. There is nothing quiet about her spirit. However, my greatest fear as a mother is that my little girl’s voice, so strong and sure right now, will be silenced. That as she grows older, she will become increasingly unsure of herself, and begin to keep quiet to avoid being seen as bossy, or too strong or overbearing. That outdated ideas of how a woman “should” act will keep her from speaking up in class when she has a question or opinion, keep her from standing up for a friend being bullied in the hallway, or stop her from saying no to the boyfriend who wants to take things to a level that she is not ready for.
So, as we plan for the remodel of our upstairs bathroom, I have prepared the following quote for the wall:
“As you get ready for this day, be sure to put on the brightest clothes and loudest jewelry you can find, for with your stubborn independence and passion for life, it is only fair that you dress in a way that lets the world know you are coming. And always remember my little lady, the good Lord gave you a voice, be damn sure that you use it.”