all the pretty pretty princesses

I’ve been seeing a lot of Disney Princess on Ice ads for their Princess Wishes show.  Okay, I’m not a Disney fan, to begin with, but this is driving me crazy.  Little girls getting all dressed up to go to the show…it’s not Purim, or Halloween, even.  I’m continually confounded by the wrong message going through from one generation to another.  Why can’t we acknowledge our femininity, yet not run towards the fairy prince?  He ain’t comin’, girls; he just ain’t.

And then there’s this I saw that really frightens me, maybe even more than the previous lame-marketing-Emperor-no-clothing thing, especially this part:

Now, I don’t want to be seen as very old. In fact, for my 40th birthday (we are not their yet) I want Botox as a gift. Why do I fear being old so much? Why do I dread my birthday each year?

Remember, people, I didn’t say that.  But I don’t run and jump when it’s my birthday, either.  (No, I’m not that old that I can’t.  I could.  I just don’t choose to.) Are we just venerating youth, not v’hadarta pnei zakein?

You shall rise before the gray-haired person and grant glory [v’hadarta p’nei zakein] to the face of the elderly” (Leviticus 19:32).  Danny Siegel translates the phase v’hadarta p’nei zakein, “allow the beauty, glory, and majesty of their faces to emerge.”

I love that.  I’m not sure where Danny says that; I’ll keep looking, in all ways that I can.

We are so off-track with our adoration of the young.  To be honest, isn’t that a different religion?

I admit that I was taken in by an offer to buy a gazillion sets of make-up for only $30!!!!  Now that I have it all, I wonder what in the world was I thinking and what in the world will I do with it?  The only good part is actually a mini-set, for traveling.  But in the harsh winter light focusing on my harsh winter looks, I thought I could use a little help.  But I think we all need a lot of help.

Yesterday I saw this presentation of the danger of the compliment, as reinforced weekly by the recitation of Eshet Hayil.  Quite provocative and worth reading.  I will give you a taste here, but I do recommend that you read the whole thing.

Thus, the format of Eshet Hayil can be seen reflected in the current position towards the study of women. At its foundation is the implied assumption regarding the boundless might of the woman, and it is on this that the “compliment-threat” pattern is based. The hymn then serves as a prison: The woman is expected to choose – if she chooses the good, she will be generously rewarded, given “up to half of the kingdom,” meaning control over the domain of the home, which is removed from the control of the man; if she goes beyond the domain allocated to her, she will be condemned as the one causing the destruction of civilization.

Of course, when the world tolerates women being treated so badly that someone has to go into hiding  to avoid being killed for seeing someone outside her religion, then we’ve got bigger problems than false emphasis on beauty.

Afshan Azad, 22, the high-profile Harry Potter actress remains in hiding after refusing to appear in a London court. Ms. Azad had been seeing a non-Muslim man, a Hindu. Her family, specifically her father, Abul Azad, 53, and her brother Ashraf, 28, called her a “prostitute” and tried to force her into an arranged marriage with a Muslim man. Her brother also beat and her father threatened to kill her in May of this year. She escaped her family home and has been in hiding ever since. According to the Telegraph, she refused to testify against her family, saying that doing so would endanger her further. Apparently the British police tried but failed to persuade Ms. Azad to testify.

Okay, I have to redeem this blentry with some uplifting message.  Oh it’s really hard today.

Wait!  I found it!  A redeeming message about beauty!

The Al-Mazayin beauty competition includes two categories: one for light-skinned camels called Asayel, and the other for dark-skinned camels called Majahim. Camels are judged by a panel of experts from Gulf countries, who use a 100 point scale to evaluate the animals. Specific physical attributes such as nose shape, head size, whiskers and ear erection are taken into account, as well as general fitness, size and hair shine.

Al-Mazroui said that camel beauty pageants were initiated 20 years ago, as cultivators began mixing species in order to breed faster camels for racing. Sheikh Khalifah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Emir of Abu Dhabi, endorsed the beauty pageant as a way of maintaining the pure-bread Arabian camel, Al-Mazroui added.

“In the past, people focused only on racing and speed, but no longer,” he said.

Oh maybe not.

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