Sibel Mehmet is jealous of her 17-year-old daughter, Yasmin. "At 38," she writes, "I'm finding it incredibly difficult to accept the fact that my 17-year-old daughter is the focus of the admiring looks I used to attract."
Mehmet, 38, spends the majority of the piece discussing her own beauty; how her mother, a beautician, pushed her to focus on her appearance, how she began using makeup at 12, and how these efforts eventually led to a career as a part-time model. It's evident from the get-go that Mehmet's self-worth is directly tied to her appearance, which casts a sad shadow over the rest of the piece, which reads, quite honestly, as someone having a slightly tortured conversation with herself.
Mehmet admits that she's jealous of her 17-year-old daughter, who is now "blossoming into womanhood." Yasmin is young and pretty and, according to her mother, a dead ringer for Mehmet herself in her younger days, which complicates her jealousy and resentment even further: "And although she was oblivious of all this, I couldn't help resenting her for it," Mehmet writes of her daughter's coming-of-age, "I began to make comparisons all the time, and a terror of getting old and losing my looks enveloped me."
The first time I read this piece, I was so irritated (it is the Daily Mail, after all) that my first instinct was to write a headline like "Mom Realizes She Is Not 18 Anymore, Calls Dina Lohan For Advice On How To Fix Situation," but after reading it a few more times, I realized the piece is just sad, really, in that Mehmet really doesn't seem to be able to let go of the idea that she is worth more than her looks, and that true beauty and happiness are not, despite what the magazines and the media might tell you, about trying to look 18 when you're 38.
I do feel a certain sympathy for her, as obnoxious as the article reads at times, in that I think it's normal for people to feel pangs of envy or jealousy when they realize certain points in their lives are behind them. The entire article is a sad commentary on the increasingly obnoxious values we place on youth and beauty, and the most disturbing aspect is that Mehmet doesn't seem to understand that she's just setting up her daughter to feel the same pangs of worthlessness and jealousy by constantly placing such a value on her child's looks.
Instead of trying to keep up with her daughter, or comparing herself with her daughter, Mehmet should find her own path and attempt to show her kid that life doesn't end at 18 (unless you're a member of Menudo, and then you are so out of there) and that true beauty has no age limit and that living in the past is a surefire way to miss the really great things happening in the present and waiting in the future. Yasmin claims that "we all get old, and to my mind there's so much more to life than looks. In 20 or 30 years, if I have a daughter, I'm sure I'll be confident enough to be glad that she's more gorgeous than me. I'll have had my time, and I'll definitely be ready to grow old gracefully. If only Mum could see it that way." If only both of them could see that there's so much more to "their time" than being the most gorgeous one in the house.