Body image. It’s the single-most maddening problem that I have to deal with in my photography business. I wish I had a nickel for every time a mom nervously said to me, “I take terrible pictures, but at least we can get some good ones of the kids.” Or, jokingly, but maybe with a hint of seriousness, “You can photoshop my hips, right?”
I get it. Believe me, I do. There is an embarrassing lack of photos of me in the family photo album, and for all of the same reasons as everyone else. There is something in me that just can’t look at a photo of myself without mentally “correcting” what’s wrong with my face and my body – too many wrinkles, eyes too close together, an expression or smile that’s too wide or too stiff, that muffin top over my jeans. It’s like I want to reshape myself into some mental vision of what a woman should look like, whatever that vision is. Usually it’s put there by what fashion and the media says it is.
Not so with children! EVERY ONE OF THEM IS STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL. We never think of them as less than perfect, only beautiful, lively, sparkly, and precious. Diversity in looks doesn’t matter at all or affect their gorgeousness. They are little miracles, whether their hair is black, brown, red, or blonde, curly or straight. Whether their eyes are blue, brown, or hazel – we can’t stop staring at how they sparkle. Petite or chubby, they glow and they make us want to squeeze them in a hug. We don’t even THINK to hold them to some sort of uniform standard. We truly love them for themselves and we see their personalities and we love their innocence – and the more different, the more interesting and attractive. They are too young to comprehend anything else, for they are still learning the wonder of their bodies and themselves and trying life out. They are fabulously unaware of physical beauty standards for themselves or others.
When does that change? Why does it have to?
I love this video for calling us all out for our foolishness. Watch it – you will smile all day! And then commit to making sure that you get your family photographed with YOU in the picture this year. Your kids deserve to remember how you sparkled.