Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Letting kids join beauty contests

Will I push my child to join beauty contests? I don’t have a child yet, but I’m already wondering about this. I have mixed feelings about this after seeing several kids in a beauty pageant I judged last Friday.

I am always dreaming of a beautiful or handsome child. When it comes to physical traits, I am hoping that my child will have my nose, my hubby’s lips, my big eyes but my hubby’s perfect 20/20 vision, my hubby’s plump cheeks but my facial contours, my complexion, etcetera etc. Dunno if all these can turn out good, if they’ll make a child that looks angelic and have a face that can launch a thousand ships.

But if I would have a child that looks like the next supermodel or big star, I’d probably have my child join a beauty contest. Talk about being a proud mom. It’s not just about being proud of my child’s killer good looks, it’s being proud that the child is mine. I noticed that beauty contests for kids don’t just boost the candidate or the child’s confidence; they also inflate the parent’s ego and pride. :p

What if my child doesn’t look really Hollywood material and would end up looking just a simple stunning child? Especially stunning on my eyes. I also noticed that most parents have this queer eye, or let’s just say immeasurable love for their child, that sometimes even though their child isn’t that good looking for others, they think and see otherwise. I may be guilty of this someday. Still, I would have my child join a beauty contest. The reasons? I want my child to experience being in front of everyone, being judged and yet knowing how to face people who judges him or her. I want my child to experience the joys and pains of winning and losing and/or both. I know my child can experience these even in other contests, like academic or sports competitions. But c’mon, there is just something about being judged in a beauty contest that shapes the child’s confidence tremendously as he or she grows up. Of course, all parents would tell children that inner beauty is much more important. But you know, in this world, outer beauty undeniably matters and is where you are judged first, judgment for your character comes later on.

Now that is the problem. I am not really sure if beauty contests can really make my child confident. What if my child experience losing more and winning less? I know someone who grew up joining such contests and when you talk to her, you’d sense that her confidence is kinda fake. She would joke that she looks like goddess (well she looks quite nice but not really goddess, hehe) but she is overrrly conscious about her face, hair, dress, smile, stand or posture comes picture time. Of course, everybody gets conscious in front a camera but it’s not as if everyone seriously feels like it’s always a pictorial for a magazine! And I noticed that her friends are too cautious not to hurt her feelings especially when it comes to her appearance. And she always need constant reassurance about her prettiness. Don’t you think that’s quite difficult to handle if you’re her friend? Oh well, thank goodness, we’re not close. Since her mother honed her to be Ms. Beautiful, I would presume she has had a lot of winnings than losings in beauty competitions. But look at the effect, she didn’t really turn out confident, she turned out to be an uber conscious woman to the point of making her own friends uncomfortable. I don’t want my child to end up like her.

In the competition I judged, I saw the attitude of the second runner-up winner. By her looks, I know she wasn’t satisfied, she wanted to have the crown not just some 2nd runner-up title. Honestly, it came as a surprise to me that she was the 2nd runner up winner, perhaps the other judges gave her a nice score. Anyway, she didn’t smile when her name was called, I didn’t see just even one smile after that, and she didn’t want to join in the picture taking with the other two winners. Perhaps, her parents had high expectations from her, and she failed them. But I saw her father so happy but his happiness isn’t enough to make her smile. So maybe she had high expectations of herself. I also don’t want my child to end up like her.

And then I saw this other girl in the competition. She didn’t win major awards for beauty. If I remember it correctly, she only won Ms. Congeniality. After the event, one of my co-judges said he likes this girl’s attitude. I agree, I noticed that her smile while modeling on stage is more genuine and after the results were announced, she was still giddy, bubbly and just her playful self. But I guess, we the judges, didn’t really give her a high score due to other criteria we considered. But her attitude is the kind of attitude I’d like my child to have. She smiles genuinely, on or off screen. By the way she answers in the question and answer portions and the way she walks on the stage, it’s obvious she knows it’s a serious contest. But I have this gut feeling, to her, it’s just a play, which should be the case, because she’s still a child. Most importantly, she lost but she knows how to carry herself.

The judges are all smiles...after 4 gruelling hours of sitting and measuring the looks, wits, and smiles of boys and girls who joined the beauty contest 

So should I let my child join beauty contests? Answer is still yes, but up to a certain point only. If the child says no, then I won’t force him or her. If I see that my child gets so conscious about her looks that she fails to see beyond it or give more importance to her character, then time to stop joining such contests. Until then, I would have my child join such contests…until he or she wins and loses. I want my child to rejoice and cry about what others see about him or her. And yet, my child knows how to stand up smiling and confident in both instances – no matter what others see or say about him or her.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The world of a housewife

I’m back to blogging. I now have time to do so because I’m home alone again, with nothing else to do. My hubby just left home yesterday, again for another seafaring assignment somewhere in Korea for two to three months.
I thought I could blog when hubby was here. But we found ourselves doing a lot of social activities the last two months, attending parties and all sorts of gatherings from family and friends. Then we found our schedule is already full with so many activities in the church now that we have taken various responsibilities in the ministry. Church work isn’t work, but labor of love, and yet just the same, you have to give your time and 100 percent on it.
It’s not true that when you’re not working, you have all the time in the world. False. I just realized that, you don’t have time when you choose your world and decide to “work” on it, live on it. For so many years, my world has been my work; my skills and what I do for a living have, to an extent, defined who I am. Today, I live in a world where employment stops defining one’s personality, capability, failures, successes, and even futures.
So now I am blogging about this world. The world of a housewife seems boring and carefree to others. I would not disagree because others’ sense of excitement and achievement may really be based on compliments from the boss, promotions, and higher salaries. It’s just that in my world now, as a housewife, I feel fulfilled when I get a thumbs-up sign from my hubby for the meals I experimented cooking for him, for breaking my back cleaning the house, and all the works. And you know, these may take hours too, it’s beyond an 8-5 job and yes, you get busy for house chores. I also get excited when we have our dates, whether it’s it in the mall, bar, coffee shop or just at home, if you know what I mean, hehe.
And yet it’s not as if my “employment” as his wife, as Mrs. ___, is the definition of who I am, what I do, can do, and can’t do. Who am I? I am not just Mrs. Hubby’s-surname the day I got married. I am still the same obnoxious girl who likes to humor everyone, though I just turned to a lady who has to lower down the volume of her laughter, as prescribed by the hubby. I am still frank, but not brutally frank anymore, ever since hubby taught me to be more sensitive. I am still the same me in so many ways, but I’d like to believe in an upgraded, improved version. And then there were the inevitable changes, I got submissive to a man, my man, when I used to love girl power or woman empowerment. I realized, it’s easier to submit to someone not just because you love him, but because, he loves you much and sometimes, more.
What is my future as Mrs.Hubby’s-surname? I would still be cooking and cleaning the house but I still have a gazillion dreams that reflect what I can do and can’t do –but mostly would want to do. These include learning new languages, driving, culinary, putting up a business, having children, traveling to Japan, Korea, Greece, Spain, revisiting Italy, Paris, and Switzerland, donating a building to a church, worshipping one God the way He wants to be worshipped with our families and friends, writing a book that can shake the world, designing my own clothes, etcetera etcetera.
Did I choose this world? It’s easier to say to others that my husband prefers that I stop working, that he suggests that I only take part-time jobs but not full-time work, because he values my health. And I know, he also feels a sense of achievement for this, because it means he can take care of all the bills by himself.
It’s more difficult to explain that I also like this world. At first, I thought I would never be a housewife for long. I remember filling out a form, where there is a space asking for your employment, and I wrote “housewife,” and I have to read it thrice, a bit disbelieving. I thought my shock came from the fact that I felt inadequate having no employment, but I realized that when I wrote “housewife,” it already meant I embraced being one, otherwise, I could have just written “none,” right? I like this world, not just because I have more free time on my hands, but because I am able to think more, feel more. Think what I can do more with my free time, think about our future and not just my future, what we both want, not just what I want. Feel more love, appreciate that the simple things done for you are done out of love, and being able to give more love to others whom I used to ignore.
Why it’s easy for me to give up the so-called career? Because work, really, has just stopped being my source and sense of fulfillment in life, it is simply a tool to earn more, save more, get rich. And long ago, even before I got married, I realized I’m not Madonna-ma-ma-maateerial girl hehe. I rejected three fat offers, two of these include being able to work in other progressive countries because there were more important things to consider other than earning dollars, instead of pesos. Though I indulge in pleasures that can be bought by money, I am happier when I am able to put a smile on the people I love and value, and be with them longer than I am in the office. In fact, my bosses from my previous employments often guessed when hubby arrives in the country, they say I am dying to get home when I used to be the last to leave the office. My hubby is higher than my boss, so it’s also difficult to explain to others that I feel more dejected when my husband got so dismayed that he came home one night and I haven’t cooked any meal for him compared to a time when a boss got disappointed in me for submitting an article so late.
This is my world now. I haven’t explored it much and there is so much more to discover. I am excited and feel blessed that in this world, I get to work more with the man I love.