People occasionally ask me why I haven't gotten my daughter into modeling. And, oh, what a sweet compliment, and wait, are we being serious because, haha, have you seen my kid beeline the second she smells me reaching for a camera, but also, hmm, yeah I do hear kids who model have a fun time and money sacked away for college is always nice, and --
I don't know. It's just...
Sara Bareilles practiced a whole year before she performed a rendering of Elton John's song in front of other people.
I finally watched the documentary Miss Representation that is a clarion call to not only change the messages we are sending about women but also to change the message-makers. Women are surely in the minority at the top echelons of media companies that are producing messages of misogyny, sexism, violence toward women that come pouring out of our screens and speakers like a fire hydrant. Hey, womyn's studies. How yooodooin'?
This Miss Representation movie? Scared. Me. Like no horror flick ever did.
Maybe because we're all living it. The credits stop rolling and the horrors of women objectified don't stop. One particular part of the documentary that most sobered me was about reality television portrayals of women. Truth told, I never watch reality TV because I don't have the talking picture box networks in my house. Lame. But I did once upon a time, and I remember teasers for certain episodes. It is all about the promise of a catfight. Or the promise of Real Housewives getting real with one another, which we all know couldn't be any more staged.
We have made celebrities out of women who do nothing for the cause of anybody but themselves, oftentimes by doing really awful things to others. Or! We celebrate women who do nothing but put on lip gloss. All hail and honor. Let us unveil the mighty secrets in glossy magazines of how The Kardashians Korporation accomplishes the smoldering lip. A magnanimous contribution to humanity. Bow down in reverence.
Over there, Sara Bareilles is practicing. She's banging hard on the keys to get her craft just right.
We saw Sara Bareilles last night and she amazed. Such a strong voice with real range and such a charismatic performer. I was pretty much convinced that we are going to hang out at some point in the near future, Sara Bareilles and I, because we totally connected. She was cracking all kinds of jokes and she knew I was down.
One of my favorite moments at the concert was when she played Elton John's "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road." She said it took her a year to practice before she even dared share it with an audience. "Because it turns out it's a really hard song," she said. The way she played it was just...sacred. She captured the range of emotions and notes so well. She had mastered it.
And this was Sara Bareilles. Thrice-nominee of a Grammy award. She's gone platinum and stuff. She still practices with dedication and she is not afraid of hard songs. She told the audience to look in the other direction if she messed up, or to just look at our phones until she gets back on track. She welcomes the unscripted moments.
I'm not saying Sara Bareilles or anyone else who sings and plays instruments is the paragon of womanhood in America. I just appreciate people, women especially, who are willing to do the hard work to produce something bigger than themselves. Whether that's a song or an opus, a garden, a foreign relations policy, a computer tablet.
*** I don't have a hard position on my kids modeling or learning karate or wearing fake mustaches all day long. I just want to teach them about hard work in service to others; the only work worth doing to reap real and eternal rewards. My children are only on lease to me for a limited time. I don't just want my daughter to know her worth, it's my job to imbue in her a strong sense of duty, to not be afraid to lead with heart and head and work hard with her hands. If she is called to sing and play like Sara Bareilles, then I hope she bangs the ivory out of those keys after much practice and even then, I hope she's not afraid to mess up. Because therein lies the beauty in this unscripted, unphotoshopped marvelously flawed, hard, unpracticed life.
That's the kind of modeling business I can get behind.