Doutzen Kroes: "I Want My Daughter to Have Different Aspirations"
“Instead of saying, ‘You’re so beautiful,’ I’ll say, ‘You’re smart,’ so she’ll have different aspirations in life than beauty and modeling," Kroes said. "Though I love my job, I’m not changing the world. I’d love for her to study and to have different aspirations. We need to teach girls they can become presidents, and it’s not about beauty all the time.”
The 29-year-old Victoria's Secret angel has spoken out about the modeling industry before, saying that she sometimes feels guilty that she works in a profession that "makes certain girls insecure." Last year she told Page Six, "I always say, I don’t look like the picture...If you put me in bad light with no hair and makeup, it’s not good...I wake up sometimes like, this is not what I see when I look at the magazine, who is this visitor in the bathroom?”
Kroes' remarks are interesting for a few different reasons. On the surface, it's easy to dismiss her as part of the problem. There's no doubt that Kroes profits off the system that perpetuates unrealistic body images and tells girls and women that their looks are the most important things about them. Things may be slowly changing, but women would still trade a higher I.Q. for bigger breasts, girls as young as five still worry about their weight, teenage girls still don't want to take on leadership roles for fear of being labeled bossy, and studies still show that many women still wear makeup because they believe men want them too (even if they don't).
On the other hand, even with the amount of visibility Kroes has, she's one player in a decades-old game that includes media, photographers, the magazine industry, and fashion institutions. If she quit tomorrow, a thousand other people would line up to take her place. Plus, let's face it: She won the genetic lottery and cashed in on it. Who among us wouldn't do the same if given the chance? She realized she could use her looks to make a killing, and she did. Is that so wrong? "Smart" and "beautiful" aren't mutually exclusive, and Kroes is clearly an excellent example of that.
Ultimately, I don't know if there's anything wrong with telling little girls they're smart and pretty, but we love Kroes' commitment to focusing on what her daughter will do, not how she'll look. And in the meantime, we look forward to the day we'll read about President Mini Doutzen Kroes!