There is a TV show in America, copied from the UK I believe, called Big Brother. The premise is a group of about 15 people are locked in a house together. The last one standing after 3 months of competitions and voting wins $500,000.
This year, the show has recieved much more attention than usual due to the nasty racist/ homophobic/ mysogynistic comments of several participants. Clips have been shown over and over on public media with evidence. I'm not going to link them, you can search for yourself if you want to. Or you can take my word for it that really nasty stuff was said.
It's been an eye-opener for me to see that there really are still people in this country who speak and act like that. However, the ugly persists beyond. One contestant was adopted and another contestant has been taunting her with comments such as "at least my mother wanted me".
*#*# SCREECH #*#*
WHAT THE FUCK ?
Well there you go. It just got personal.
I watch Big Brother with my daughters, and it occured to me I had a mine full of gold laying under all that horseshit.
It happens so often to kids, especially girls, where just one mean girl can make things horrible for another girl. Two or three mean girls working together can make a strong, self confident child into a shriveled, scarred mess. And so as a society we have these sayings designed to make it better.
Beauty comes from within.
Beauty is only skin deep.
It's more important to be pretty on the inside than the outside.
What's important is how you see yourself.
Beauty doesn't last forever.
As girls become teenagers, their bodies become awkward and betray them with acne and periods. Suddenly appearance is much more important. We share other brilliant sayings.
None of it matters after high school.
The "popular" kids wind up being boring adults.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
It's part of growing up.
She'll be ugly and fat when she's 30.
What comes around goes around.
Most of the sayings really are true, and I am a big believer in karma- what comes around goes around.
But really? Any kid with a handful of working brain cells will perceive the pant load. Even peripheral exposure to the media reinforces what kids already know- pretty is important. Pretty is more desirable. Pretty girls are models and stars. They are on TV and in magazines. They get all the attention. Girls don't look at the woman with the lawnmower haircut wearing a frumper and strive to imitate her. They want to sparkle and shine!
It so truly does not matter in the moment that the mean girl might go on to have a crappy life in some abstract future.
Back at the TV show, my girls noticed how one group of women was horribly mean to a few other contestents. 3 people of non-Caucasian ethnicity and a non-heterosexual man were the targets. The mean group has been made up of attractive, outgoing, (and unfortunately) articulate women. Beautifully done hair and make up, club dresses and party clothes. Confident and self assured. Nastier than a salvage yard snake.
Even in the beginning, when edited airings of the show portrayed false congeniality, my girls picked up on the tension. They rooted for the picked on and underdogs. This is good.
It's all lent a rare opportunity to see ugliness occur live, and watch consequences appear. Two of the women have been fired from their real-world jobs because of their televised behavior. I can watch with my daughters and point out- see her? She is a beauty-pageant coordinator, like on Toddlers and Tiara's. She's pretty isn't she? Her body is in great shape and she wears beautiful clothes, right? But none of it matters. She's ugly on the inside. Ugly. She says mean, nasty things to other women and tries to make them feel bad, on purpose.
You know what else? She's been fired from her job. She doesn't even know it yet because she's still in the house game. Her bosses watch the show and see how ugly she is on the inside and now she doesn't have a job.
That other woman- the other mean one? She wants to be a model, or on TV and you know what happened? She is fired too. She hasn't just used ugly words, she has done hateful things. It doesn't matter how pretty you are on the outside if your heart is ugly. If your spirit is nasty, good things won't happen.
Genea had been invited to a birthday party and was delerious with happiness looking forward to it. A few days ago, the girl told her she couldn't come. We don't know why, but obviously Genea has been devastated. To her credit, she is still being nice to the kid. That blows me away.
Now it's possible that one of the mean girls is going to win the show. And I can take that and use it as well. Sometimes the nasty ones make it to the top- they do, no use denying it. But her ugly spirit has caused her to lose something very very important to her.
What's on the inside really does count.