Growing up, I read a LOT of the Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High books. For whatever reason, I distinctly remember Jessica being a “perfect size 6.” It was mentioned in nearly every Sweet Valley High book.
That factoid popped into my head as I was getting dressed this morning. I immediately had two thoughts:
1. Young girls really DO pick up on popular conceptions about beauty. Otherwise, why would this be one of the ONLY things I remember about the books 15 years later?
I’ve forgotten something as significant as the other twin’s name, (I think it’s Elizabeth, but I’ll have to verify.), and I only remember one other thing: That both twins had long beautiful blond hair and blue eyes.
2. It’s interesting to me that in just 30 years, the standard of beauty has decreased from a size six to a size 00 or whatever it is these days.
I found myself wondering if Sweet Valley High had done me a service or a disservice telling me that beautiful women wore size six clothes.
The average women today in fact does NOT wear size six, (14, in fact) so the size-six standard planted in my little brain is a bit idealistic by today’s standards. (Though perhaps not by 1980s standards, as evidence shows the average female weighs 25 pounds more now than 40 years ago.)
I wondered if the books had done me a disservice by telling me that size six is perfect, as it’s not something realistic for many women today.
But at the same time, I wondered if they book had done me a service by telling me that size six is perfect, as it is somewhat more realistic and attainable than size 00.
At the end of my argument with myself, I realized that I’m an adult and I couldn’t really care less if I wear a size six or a size 66.
But it left me wondering what kind of information my impressionable daughter would eventually pick up on. Will she someday feel less than beautiful if she’s not a size 000? Will she dislike her brown eyes and eventual brown hair?
I sure hope not. She’s beautiful no matter what in my eyes, and I hope I’m able to instill that belief in her as well.
BTW, Did you know that Sweet Valley High was a TV show? I definitely did not.