Anna and I were chatting the other night, when our conversation turned to beauty. Anna told me “My freckles are not pretty, mama”, she didn’t see them as a nice thing. “I love your freckles,” I said, and admired her face. I love how they are sprinkled across her nose and cheeks. I traced my finger across her cheek and said “Freckles are beautiful.” “Really?” she said “Of course!”.
Beauty is a peculiar thing; it changes with perspectives and means something different to everyone. Different cultures have different beauty perceptions. India is obsessed with a white and flawless skin.
I happen to love any of Astrid Lindgren’s books and in particular I love Pippi Longstocking. She doesn’t live by anyone’s rules but her own, and she’s perfectly fine with being a little different -and I, personally would like to see more Pippis :). One of my favourite quirky quotes to convince Anna tonight:
“The children came to a perfume shop. In the show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES?
‘What does the sign say?’ asked Pippi. She couldn’t read very well because she didn’t want to go to school as other children did.
It says, ‘Do you suffer from freckles?’ said Annika.
‘Does it indeed?’ said Pippi thoughtfully. ‘Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let’s go in.’
She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. ‘No!’ she said decidedly.
‘What is it you want?’ asked the lady.
‘No,’ said Pippi once more.
‘I don’t understand what you mean,’ said the lady.
‘No, I don’t suffer from freckles,’ said Pippi.
Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, ‘But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!’
‘I know that,’ said Pippi, ‘but I don’t suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.’
She turned to leave, but when she got to the door she looked back and cried, ‘But if you should happen to get in any salve that gives people more freckles, then you can send me seven or eight jars.’