Baird (9) seeks to address the issue of parents lying to theirchildren that looks do not matter. She compares the notion to buryingone’s head in the sand because in reality, looks matter. However,the author is quick to point out that looks “mean something, butnot everything”. She does not appreciate the way the society putstoo much importance looks, forgetting the other features that make ahuman being likeable. In summary, her main point is that the societyuses looks to define someone, hence parents should not lie to theirchildren that looks do not matter. She also rebukes the action ofpeople judging others by their looks and forgetting all the otherattributes of the person under scrutiny.
The author asks the right questions to make her argument. She askswhat a child should do when her parents tell her that she isbeautiful, but on the playground, other children ridicule her for herflaws. The bullying leaves the child confused because according toher parents, she is beautiful like any other child. This questionhighlighted the mistake of parents who lie to their children thatlooks do not matter when they know too well that the real world caresabout looks more than anything else does. The author also asks thequestion what if a child wants to accept that they are aestheticallyunattractive. Such a child has already accepted fate and decided tofocus on other things that will make him or her a better person.Therefore, should the parents keep lying to the child that looks donot matter or just confess to the child that in the real world looksare more important than the attributes of a person? The author makesher argument by poking several holes on the parents who lie to theirchildren. All these questions seem to fall in line with her argumentthat indeed looks matter, but they are not everything that defines ahuman being.
The author seems to have left out a few questions probably becausethey could have discredited her point of view. For starters, she doesnot answer the question, “then what?” After parents tell theirchildren that they are physically flawed, what should be the nextstep? Should they stay around and see as their children suffer fromdepression because they have realized that even their parents do notapprove of their aesthetic flaws? Their peers have most likelyridiculed the children and if their parents told them that they wereugly, it would be seem as though they were siding with the bullies.The author intentionally fails to address what would happen to theself-esteem of these children if they heard the truth from theirparents. She seems to avoid acknowledging the fact that the words ofa parent can do more harm than those of a bully.
Baird does not address the cost-benefit perspective of tellingchildren that they are physically flawed and that they should lookpast it because looks are not everything. The question that she failsto answer is what will be cost-benefit ratio of exposing suchchildren to the reality of the ugly world we live in? Are they strongenough to learn that they will be judged by their looks for the restof their lives? Such questions would clearly have poked holes in herargument, hence the reason she left them out.
The author omits telling her audience the benefits of a parenttelling his or her child that being different is good too. She onlytouches on the issue of parents lying to their children and why theyshould refrain from doing so. She however does not outline thebenefits of telling a child that she is different from others becauseof facial flaws because she wants to attract more parents to herpoint of view. She should have said that telling your child the truthfrom an early age would make her immune to the unending bullying byher peers. In addition to acknowledging that one’s child isesthetically flawed, telling them the truth will teach them to beself-loving and look past their physical characteristics. She shouldalso have mentioned that telling children the truth would preparethem to be responsible adults who will judge people not by looks, butby their character.
When the author omits the fact that people lie to their children fora reason, she weakens her argument. She fails to acknowledge thatparents do it because their children are too young to be initiated tothe cruelty of the adult world. Parents lie to their children becausethey love them and wish to protect them from the cruelty of theworld. They prefer to lie to them so that they can find out the truthon their own, rather than have the children hear the truth from theirparents’ mouths. The author should not have omitted the idea thatparents do that for the love of their children. She should haveacknowledged that parents do it for the lack of a better way hencethe reason she is writing the article- to give the parents analternative of dealing with the issue.
The author also omits the examples of parents who have children withflawed physical features. She does not give a relatable example of aparent in the USA who had a child with disability, and how headdressed the matter. She did not talk to parents in order to knowhow they communicate with their children. She makes her argumentunder the assumption that all parents with children who do not meetthe societal standards of aesthetic beauty, lie to them that looksare not that important. The omission of this part weakened herargument to some extent.
The references used by the author are effective for her argument. Sheuses the example of the Australian writer Robert Hoge. She quotes hiswritings to show that indeed people place unnecessary importance onlooks. She also makes sure to include the part where Robert Hogeagrees with her argument- parents should tell their children thatlook matter, but they are not everything. By the fact that shealludes to a renowned writer and politician, she increases thecredibility of her argument. Baird also refers to her daughter toshow that children are born not to judge others by their physicalappearance. When she gives her daughter an Eleanor Roosevelt doll,she embraces it in the same manner that she embraced the Barbie doll.The author uses this reference to show that children are borninnocent but the society teaches them to judge others by theirappearance.
Baird Julia. Being Dishonest About Ugliness. The New York Times, Nov.2015. Retrieved from<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/09/opinion/being-dishonest-about-ugliness.html?_r=0>accessed June 13, 2016.