Do “ugly” kids have to work harder?
Marlon wonders if good looking children achieve success easier.
(Jade Photography)
BBC Radio Five Live anchor John Inverdale caused a bit of controversy while commentating on the Women’s Wimbledon Singles Final this weekend. His offensive remarks: “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little 'You’re never going to be a looker? You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight” forced the BBC to issue a grovelling apology.

The presenter tried to make amends for his comments after Bartoli’s victory by saying: “We poked fun, in a nice way, about how she looks ... but Marion Bartoli is an incredible role model.”

I loved Bartoli’s dad, Walter’s response: “I am not angry. She is my beautiful daughter,” he said.“The relationship between Marion and me has always been unbelievable so I don’t know what this reporter is talking about.”

Kids do not have a perception of what’s “beautiful” and “ugly” or what constitutes being “clever” or “not so clever” until we make the distinction for them. I was told throughout my school career by my mom that I was brilliant. Trust me, my marks reflected a different picture. But I always believed I was brilliant, because mom told me so.

Walter Bartoli is exactly the kind of Dad all kids should have. The physical attributes of a person, in terms of attraction, is as history has proved in the eye of the beholder. I don’t know what this John Inverdale looks like, but I’m pretty sure some people will find him less than attractive as well.

Let’s all agree that he put his foot in it squarely. But does he have a point? Do “aesthetically challenged” people have to work harder to achieve the same success that so-called “beautiful people” do? Can you survive on your good looks? Does it last forever? Can you maintain it to just get through life on your looks? And do not so pretty people have to push, push, push to get what they want for their whole life? The case makes for a good debate, and I’m sure we could all come up with arguments for both sides. However, as parents, our duty and responsibility is to make sure our children are armed with a healthy self-esteem.

Little girls need to be told every single day how beautiful they are, because let’s face it, they just are. Boys have to be reminded of their handsome qualities as well. Obviously not in an arrogant egotistical way, just a healthy parental expression of love and affection is all it takes.

That way our little monkeys, whatever they look like, will always end up shrugging off moronic statements like those made by Mr Inverdale and go on to win our own personal Wimbledon finals over and over again.

Congratulations to Marion and Walter Bartoli, a good example of a healthy parent-child relationship.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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