May 9, 2008

Where have all the little girls gone?

When it comes to little girls, I've generally leaned towards the traditional side of things. I think little girls should have age appropriate little girl haircuts. I think they should wear bows. I think they should wear MaryJanes and tights. That's just the way I am.

But I admit, I've pierced my girls ears. When they were infants. I'm also debating giving my 3 year old a perm. (Because Oh. My. Life. Blayne with curls would look scrumptious)

But I'm about 1000% sure I'd never send her in to get her sweet little legs waxed. I ran across this article in the Philadelphia Magazine awhile ago. And I was appalled. Blown away. Confused. Irate. And upset.

Upset because there's so much focus on appearance these days, that little girls have to grow up too fast. I teach the 3-4 year olds in Sunday School every week. And they know what fat is; not in the observant way that most kids would know... Not in the "oh, look mommy, he's very much bigger than me!" kinda way, but in the "WOW! He's FAT!" disdainful way. When did 3 year olds begin to disdain? Where did they learn that tone? And how do they know that being fat is a bad thing?

Maybe because children are a direct product of their environment? Maybe because they hear Mommy say "I'm so fat!" and stare at her reflection with absolute disgust?

And if these girls are being treated with spa services from the time they're born, how will they ever learn to like themselves in their natural state? Will they appreciate their beautiful freckled skin? Will they appreciate their thick wavy hair? Or will they cake on foundation and flat iron their hair poker straight every morning?

I remember having dirt under my nails and mud in my toes. I remember getting my knees banged up and having unruly hair. And then I learned how to clean myself up. I learned how to tame my hair, and take care of my skin. I learned how to like myself DESPITE having hairy legs, black elbows, and a pimple or two.

I'm bothered by what is going to become of the little girl. What happens, when they miss their 6 week retouch? Will they hide in their rooms from the shame of having regrowth? Or heaven forbid, a zit! What happens when Daddy goes bankrupt? Or when the girl moves out and has to make it on her own? What happens when the little girl can't afford the upkeep that she feels is necessary, since it's been required of her for such a long time? What happens to the little girl that goes into debt so she can keep looking like Barbie?

I'm angry that instead of teaching children self confidence, we're teaching them self loathing. I'm angry because to me, this lends towards the early sexualization of children.

(seriously, what's wrong with the first picture, untouched? What's that? Nothing?!? Thought so. Tell me, how is that 2nd photo in ANY WAY for the girl? IT'S NOT.The first picture looks like a girl. The 2nd one looks like a toy. And you wonder why sick people are attracted to children. )

I'm not against teaching your girls how to take care of themselves. I think every little girl would love to get a manicure. I worked in the beauty industry for a long time and I remember how excited the young girls would get when they got to come in and get a blow out for their birthday. It was a big deal. And I like it that way.

I like for the girls to be excited about going to the salon. I want them to be absolutely giddy about all the different colors of polish they could choose for their nails. But I don't want them to expect it. I don't want my girls thinking they deserve to be primped and curled. I want them to know that things like manicures, and highlights, are a luxury. If I think their skin warrants a consultant with a professional, I want them to listen, and learn how to take care of their skin. I want them to figure things out for themselves. I want them to find the look that's right for them. I don't want them to be unhappy because they're not the typical "pretty girl"

I want them to know they're beautiful, just the way they are.