Our culture has corrupted the perception of beauty to the point that it is used almost solely as a way to objectify (mostly) women. I believe that visual appeal is but one small piece of the whole package. It should not be a calculated measurement that society uses as a scale to evaluate a person’s sum worth instead of, or, as a precursor, to their integrity, talent, intelligence, behavior, and attitude.
Let’s be honest – girls are often praised for their prettiness before they are celebrated for their inquisitive intelligence and they are berated for their personal style (clothing and adornment choices) and gutsy attitude before they are honored for their quirky uniqueness. While boys are frequently commended for their handsomeness, as well as their rough and tumble behavior before they are complimented for their artistry and they are condemned for showing emotion before they are congratulated for their compassion.
In addition, young people are inundated with photo-shopped visions of perfection – a physical standard that is not even close to realistic. They are then told that they can attain that paragon, if only they purchase and use product X, Y or Z. Therefore, as tweens and teens, they seek out validation for cosmetic values, not fully understanding that they are initiating a downward spiral where their self-worth becomes entangled with other’s perceptions which (by the way) are totally based on artificial measures.
By focusing on physical attributes (objectifying) we are, quite simply, perpetuating a culture of superficiality, disrespect, and, yes, even, anxiety and abuse by placing emphasis squarely on the things that have absolutely nothing to do with anybody’s capabilities, contributions, or spirit.
What if we told young girls, instead, that we appreciate their ideas, their creativeness, their inventiveness, their moxie, their multi-layered questions, their problem-solving skills, their stubbornness, their astuteness, and their desire to step outside the confines of their prescribed box, as well as their nurturing kindness?
What if we told young boys that we appreciate their intuition, their imagination, their empathy, their style, their wisdom, their talents, their aspirations, their determination, and their willingness to step outside the boundaries of their socially acceptable box, as well as their ability to be tough?
Even better, what if we degenderized the entire conversation and told all young people we value them for their individuality, idealism, convictions, confidence, genius, rare gifts, and inclination to break down the barriers of cultural norms, as well as their innate silliness and spirited generosity?
Imagine that in doing so, we could elevate beauty to a place where it would define all of those attributes that make us beautifully human.
DRC FAQ Q. - How is Deep Root Center funded? A. – Deep Root Center is not funded by the State or Federal government. We do not receive subsidies and choose not participate in any school voucher programs. DRC has an annual tuition fee of $5130.00; however, offers substantial scholarship aid to 95% of our student members, totaling nearly 50,000.00 each year. The staff and board are very proud to say, we have never refused a student because of their family’s inability to pay the full fee. With the community’s generous contributions, we are able to continue this tradition of supporting those young people who dare to choose a different educational path - one which truly reflects their interests and aspirations. The Board also regularly seeks out competitive grant opportunities; we have been fortunate to receive a couple each year. We are looking to increase that number to make all of our programs sustainable. Much of the work at Deep Root Center is provided by volunteers. We would not be able to do all we do without their generous gifts of time and talent. You can help by donating here. You can read our Annual Appealhere.