Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tots at the spa?

Newsweek had an article in this week's issue about young girls and the amount of money spent on beauty supplies for them. At first I thought that the article was going to focus on teenagers, because they do spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on looking good. I sure did as a teen, and my daughter does as well. The best present you can give her is a gift card to Sephora. Or one for a mani/pedi.

But nope, the article was talking about much younger girls, even younger than tweens. 6-8 year olds who wear lip gloss every day. 9 year olds that color their hair. 5 year olds that go to baby spas for a day of beauty. The only one I know that does a day of beauty is my friend R's little Yorkie, and he looks spiffy when he's clean. Day spas for kids 0-12. Spas for babies! Good god, what does any baby need at a spa? A facial? Botox? Waxing? Laser hair removal? I just cannot imagine.

I worry about the diva message that this is sending to young girls. "Never been satisfied with how you look. There is always room for improvement and upgrading. You can always be thinner and prettier with a little help." Is it just me, or is this so very very wrong? Wrong on so many levels. Not only are we sexualizing our children earlier than ever before, we're also teaching them that low self-esteem is the norm and help is always needed. This just makes me ballistic.

What I want to know is, who the hell can afford this stuff for kids not on the pageant circuit? The article says that 8-12 year olds in the US spend more than $40 million a month on beauty products! They are talking about makeup and hair products. It also says that for the 18 and younger group, cosmetic surgery procedures have nearly doubled in the last decade. I have a feeling they're not just talking nose jobs, either. I'm guessing boob jobs, either reductions or enhancements are what is inflating the cosmetic surgery statistics. All I know is, it's not happening where we live...yet. Maybe it's the Yankee frugality or something, because we don't know anyone of my kid's friends who has gone the cosmetic surgery route. Not even a nose job, something that was practically a given when I went to high school.

After I read the article I was talking about plastic surgery for young kids with the Girl and the Girl reminded me that she had seen a plastic surgeon as a kid, but her visit was to have a suspicious mole removed, and the dermatologist sent us to the plastics guy because he didn't want to leave a huge scar on her back so she couldn't attend the prom. As she was 8 at the time, believe me, prom dresses were not even on the back burner of my mind. I just wanted the best scar that she could have, and he did a good job. Otherwise, we don't know any kid that has plastic surgery.

Anyhow, the article talked a lot about the high cost of beauty for such young children, and the costs were staggering. They estimated that by the time these mini-divas turn 50 they will have each spent $300,000 on makeup and hair products. That's the cost of a house in some places! All I can say is, what a freaking waste of money, especially as the money spent is for something virtually worthless. I understand that body identity is important, especially with young girls, but do you have to spend so much money to urge a child to always been the best on the outside? Isn't the inside more important? Well, according to a DOVE Real Beauty Campaign survey, 42% of 1st - 3rd grade girls want to be thinner, and 81 % of 10-year-olds are afraid of getting fat.

Of course our nation's current obsession with the "every child is obese" campaign isn't helping. Obesity is a worry. No doubt about it. But when it becomes part of our every day language, when kids are told over and over that fat is irresponsible, dangerous, unhealthy, deadly, and especially ugly, just what are we setting our children up for? The truth is, many fat people are very healthy, and many thin people keel over and die. Weight is just ONE factor in our overall health, but the way we expound upon it at every turn, no wonder we have a rise in eating disorders and a bunch of kids that think it's necessary to work on their looks at the spa. Perhaps taking a kid to the gym instead of the spa might be a better option?

I want to know what kind of message this sends to young girls, to see the importance played on looks, on makeup, on being thin, and on the urgency to be attractive at all costs. How did this become a part of our lifestyles? I just don't get it.

My daughter won't go out of the house without makeup. Ever. But she's also very secure about her body and her looks, mostly because she's so pretty and has a dynamite figure envied by her friends. She is confident and proud of herself. We have never really had to talk about all this external beauty stuff because it's just not a big part of our lives.

So I don't really understand how someone can reinforce such superficiality on their children. What does it say about this generation of young moms bringing up daughters to focus on their looks before anything else? What does it say about the future of this country to have an entire generation of barbie dolls coming up?

Sorry for shutting down comments. I'm just so not in the mood for people to come to my space and try and shit on me. It's enough. Comments will remain closed until they find someone else to shit on. I've had enough.

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Blogger Pam said...

I have a 5 1/2 year old girl. She does love lip gloss. Not on a daily basis, but for fun. Nail polish too. That is what is in the birthday party goody bags these days.

1/4/09 1:08 PM  
Blogger Louise said...

I teach junior high. I have taught everywhere from first to 12th grade. I had third graders whose parents brought them in every six weeks to get their hair bleached and permed. Fourth graders wearing three and four inch heels. I had one child in first grade whose mother was taking her in regularly to get her legs and underarms waxed. Seriously. In first grade, they need this?

1/4/09 1:23 PM  
Blogger bethany actually said...

*sigh* There are a lot of people in the world with messed-up values, I guess. I look at my almost-5-year-old daughter and can't imagine how anyone would look at her and think her peachy-perfect skin would be prettier with make-up slapped on it.

1/4/09 4:37 PM  
Blogger mamaduck27 said...

I happened to see the two removed posts before you got to them, Margalit, and those people need to get off the computer and get a life. If you have a relevant difference of opinion, fine, but quit with the immature crap.

Maybe it's just a couple of those girls with low self esteem you were talking about.

I totally agree with you on this subject. We do not do Barbie or Bratz, and my fifteen year old daughter would look at you like you were nuts if you told her she should wear makeup. Both my girls are beauties, at least to us.

For her birthday, somebody gave my six year old one of those doll heads that you do the hair and makeup, and we were all just creeped out. A weird decapitated Barbie head for a little girl to play with. Only for future funeral parlor employees!

1/4/09 4:52 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Avitable and his sad minions. I don't bother you. I don't talk about you. I don't care if you live or die, although today I'm leaning towards the latter. I don't know WHAT your fucking problem is and I don't care. Stop bothering me. STOP.

I don't talk about your delightful hitler pictures or your delight in the word retarded. I don't talk about what a fucking pathetic jackass you are and how you freaking LIVE for this kind of stuff. I don't read your blog. I don't care one whit about you. I think you're lower than pond scum.

So what is it that you can't keep away from me? Some deep seated problem with your penis size that makes you like to try and dominate women? Because you are NEVER going to dominate me, I'm going to continue to voice my opinions on MY blog, and it you don't like it, don't freaking stalk me any more.

Really, you're just pathetic at this point.

And of course, anything that you bother to write here will be deleted post haste, and I've blocked you and ALL your little trolly friends from my twitter stream, so... honestly, what is the point except compensation for that 3 incher you apparently are toting. Wish it actually worked so you could get your aggressions out someplace else.

1/4/09 5:26 PM  

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