OPINION: What we can learn from children’s perception of beauty



There are two distinct instances I recall where different 6-year-old girls approached me and told me I was pretty. 

Both moments have stuck with me for one reason: I believe a child’s perspective on beauty is the most innocent and authentic perspective there is.

Children see raw, natural beauty.

Young children are blessed with a blindness to the horrible standards that have been pushed into our lives.

 They do not yet understand the disgusting comments others make about body shapes and weight expectations. 

They do not internalize the hateful comments that powerful people, such as our president, make about women’s bodies and appearances.

It’s hard to get dressed in the morning without thinking about magazine wardrobe hacks to make you look skinnier. 

It’s hard to put on makeup and not remember the Instagram videos that teach you how to cover your blemishes. 

Young children do not know those standards yet. They have not yet been influenced to see anything wrong with my thighs and freckles. 

The first time a child told me I was pretty was in high school. I was in the hallway with my friends goofing around. A little girl stepped up and tapped me on the back. 

When I turned around, she said, “You’re pretty when you smile. Like really pretty.” Then she stepped back into her line and went on her way.

I was overcome with emotion because she said it with such confidence that I could not even doubt her. 

She had seen beauty in my smile and my happiness, not from the clothes I wore or the makeup I put on — just a part of me.

The other instance was this summer. I was at work with no makeup on and my hair falling out of a frazzled bun. 

A girl walked in with her mom and was picking out ice cream. When the girl brought her ice cream to the counter, she whispered to me that she thought my freckles looked beautiful with my eyes. 

She finished by saying she hoped her freckles would look like mine when she was older. 

I thanked her and told her that hers already looked just as pretty. 

As she left, her mom thanked me, because she was worried that her daughter would grow up to hate her freckles like she had.

Unfortunately, I had also grown up hating my freckles because I was told by magazines and television to despise them.

Ultimately, I hope we can all see beauty with a child’s perspective again. 

Why do we let the media morph our perceptions and taint what we believe true beauty to be? 

Can’t we go back to seeing beauty from people’s smiles and freckles on their faces?


Micayla Ter Wee is a secondary education Spanish major and can be reached at [email protected].