Sometimes it’s the little things that define a moment. In this case the little thing is actually two little girls in China. Story here:
During the opening ceremony the producers had planned for 7 year old Yang Pieyi to sing “Ode To The Motherland” a patriotic song in China. At the last moment a member of the ruling Politburo decided that she was not cute enough and so the music director was told to have 9 year old Lin Miaoke lip sync the song.
I do not want to discuss the validity of their decision, I find the idea that one could be cuter than the other irrelevant. The beauty of children is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, your children are always more attractive than others. I know because my daughter is.
Writing this I began with the thought that it is an outrage what China is doing to both of these little girls. They are telling one she cannot sing but is given the stage because she is cuter, reinforcing the notion among children that beauty is the ticket to success, and the other that she is not attractive enough, reinforcing the idea that talent is not enough for success without beauty. The reality is that this whole incident is a study of our image starved society. In America we do this also. How many talentless singers do we have that are performing solely because of their looks or their bodies? Our girls pick up any magazine or turn on the television, even some of the “safe” children’s shows, and their role models are underfed waif’s with IQ’s even lower than their weight.
I never gave this as much of a thought as I have now that my daughter is getting to an impressionable age. She is an attractive child and I will likely have to beat the boys off with a stick (note to any local boys reading this, I mean this literally). I don’t want her to be defined by her looks though. She is also a bright little girl and I want this to be what she is.
What happened in China with these little girls can be viewed as a small incident and only about the country trying to put the best face on the Olympics. It’s not too hard though to see it as a very poor message to send to our children at an age in which they are starting to develop who they are.