Flawless finish. Brilliant strength. Instant age rewind. Affordably gorgeous. Go nude.
These words, gleaned from the hard-sell packaging on display in the make-up aisle of a store, filled this father with such dismay that he wrote this letter to his little daughter as a future safeguard against phrases with ‘deep power.’
Dr Kelly Flanagan, an American psychologist and father of three, writes: “When you have a daughter you start to realize she’s just as strong as everyone else in the house-a force to be reckoned with, a soul on fire with the same life and gifts and passions as any man. But sitting in this store aisle, you also begin to realize most people won’t see her that way. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence.”
In his letter, Dr Flanagan recasts “the words with deep power” into amulets against objectification:
Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart?
Choose your dream. But not from the department store shelf.
Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off.
Infallible. May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist.
Age defying. Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless.
Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on last day.