Whoopie Goldberg’s Mom Told Her To Work Hard As She Was Not “the prettiest”

ap111027028153By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

I watched an emotional episode of the talk show, The View, yesterday as they all said good-bye to co-host, Sherri Shepherd. The central focus of the show was Shepherd’s departure but something that Whoopie Goldberg said is what stood out to me.

This is what I posted on my Facebook timeline:

Whoopi Goldberg says that her mother told her something to the effect of “you’re not the ugliest woman but you’re not the prettiest either so at some point in your life you’re gonna have to work to support yourself…don’t wait for someone to do it for you”.

Should mothers be telling their daughters this? And what if she is “pretty”..is the message different?

The Oscar winning actress, comedienne and now talk show  moderator has spoken often about her mother and how much she loved and respected her. Her mother raised her as a single mother, which I reckon may explain why she made sure her daughter understood that financial independence, as a woman, was very important.

Some of the people who responded to my Facebook noted that it is sad that women have to be judged for their looks, whether they were considered pretty or not. There seems to be an assumption that being “pretty” means that you will have an easier time getting though life while a not-so-pretty girl or woman would have a harder time.

My other comment on the Facebook thread was that beauty is fleeting, so if that is your ticket to financial security, then you have a problem. I agreed with another commenter that mothers are to teach their girls to be confident and have a healthy self esteem but to be honest, I still feel that we live in a work that has a very narrow definition of what beauty is and sadly, I also have to admit that if a woman is considered “pretty”, she may enjoy better treatment than a woman who is not.

How do you think mothers should set up their girls for success in life?


Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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3 Responses to “Whoopie Goldberg’s Mom Told Her To Work Hard As She Was Not “the prettiest””

  1. Daisy says:

    First of all, no mother should ever tell her daughter that she is ugly. A mother sets the tone as to how a daughter will eventually end up. If that daughter is not strong, imagine what that does to her self esteem. Because I was the darkest girl in my famil, my mom told me that I was ugly. I told her that I could care less about what she thought. I was beautiful and was not going to let her tear me down. I have been more successfull than any of my sisters in my family because I didn’t hang on to my mother’s ugly words. If a mother can’t build her daughter up, then she shouldn’t say anything.

  2. BernieB says:

    Maybe the Mom was raised that way and that’s all she knows…..

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