I puckered my lips up nice and fat, as fat as any duck lips meme that is circulating on Facebook. I was bracing for impact. The lips are a convenient bit of soft tissue that shield the face from forceful toddler kisses. “I will give you a kiss!” The tot shouted in an enthusiastic voice, and then bam, her face slammed into mine—thank goodness for that duck lips padding.
Puckered lips are an iconic symbol of femininity. The red lipstick print for Valentine’s Day will be showing up all over the place in another month. I ran into an older lady at a party recently that obviously had pumped her lips up to the point of the skin reaching max capacity. Maybe she was wanting to achieve those Valentine’s Day lips. Somewhere along the lines things have gotten a little extreme.
This is the beautiful and coveted Wedding Pony with her handsome groom. Doesn't he look nice now that I've brushed his old hair into a mohawk?
Sometime this afternoon after the aforementioned duck lips incident, the tot and I were sitting out on the porch together. I was shifting around in a rocking chair that threatened to poke me with a stray piece of its wicker, while the tot trotted back and forth to the bedroom. Slowly, one by one, she was bringing out her My Little Ponies collection. Actually, almost all of it is my pony collection from thirty years ago. I hadn’t played with them for about twenty of those years, and it showed. I sat there with my brush in hand, combing the poor things’ hair. All sorts of odd colored artificial hairs were tangled around the tines of my brush, when the tot brought me one of the few ponies that was made in the last year.
It looked like a freak. The small sized ones are intended to be the children version of the ponies, which made the comparison of the new and old versions all the more ridiculous. The 1980’s small ponies are chubby like squishy little toddlers. They look cute. The modern one is too thin like a teenage girl sneaking off with her mother’s pills, and those eyes—she’s got Graves’ Ophthalmopathy.
It’s happened to the dolls too. Barbie was vilified for being too perfect—an unobtainable perfect—but now we have dolls with bulging eyeballs, tiny noses, and huge lips. Freaks. Doll Freaks.
I mulled it over then. I could just get rid of the freak pony, and the tot wouldn’t even notice. Then she’d be growing up with nothing by nice wholesome 1980’s ponies that aren’t drug addicts. I mulled it over, but I decided I’m not the sort of parent that tries to hide her kids from whatever pop culture has decided is best. I always had good sense, and I trust they will too. Besides, despite the crazy ideas society comes up with for what makes a woman beautiful, I think instinct prevails. There is so much more to attraction. There are the unseen rhythms that drive us—the way a person moves, the way a laugh sounds, the confidence that is exuded.
I think my daughter will grow up feeling comfortable in her skin despite the caricatures of women all around her, even without those inflatable lips. Unless she is bracing herself for a toddler’s kiss, in which case inflatable lips would be very useful.