Walking through town on Friday evening I passed a high end beauty salon and was amazed to see about 20 children aged around 7 having a birthday party! They were all sat on the floor surrounded by cakes, crisps, and jelly and ice cream while they were shown a range of cosmetic products. It served me yet another reminder of the speed at which our girls seem to want to grow up these days which saddens me a great deal.
When I was a young girl I was very girlie and loved wearing pretty clothes but this never involved make up or hair products. I wore make up for dancing exams and had hair ribbons that matched my school uniform and favourite outfits but that’s as far as it went.
I remember being excited when I was allowed to wear CLEAR nail varnish for special occasions–I was about 10–and I didn't start to wear make up regularly until I was 16, and then only because my peers were, not because I wanted to.
My sister, who is 5 years younger than me, seemed to grow up quicker–but then she had me to follow. She had a nail studio complete with coloured false nails and nail art when she was 8.
However, today seems to be 100% worse in encouraging girls to wear cosmetics etc. Make up, hair products, and jewellery are aimed at much younger audiences. Children as young as 4 or 5 can get free make up with certain shoes or magazines–even for their dolls.
This has been the case for a while and is worrying enough. However the growing trend of paying for young girls to have makeovers concerns me. A friend of mine recently took her daughter, aged 4, to have her nails done as a treat. Innocent enough on the face of it but it strikes me that this is something that could quite as easily have been done at home, without the expense, and would not have exposed a young child to more extreme forms of makeover experiences that were undoubtedly occurring or being advertised in the salon at the time of her visit.
We complain constantly about celebrities and the media encouraging and exposing our girls to the beauty and cosmetics industry too much. However, by paying for "treats" in this way we are reinforcing the idea that image is all that matters and not what is on the inside that counts?
Girl Museum Inc.