Friday, April 10, 2009
Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Wear Eyeliner
I picked up a copy of a local parenting publication this week and was shocked by a full page advertisement I saw for a spa. What shocked me, you ask? Well, this wasn't any old spa -- this was one for girls 5 AND UNDER. Yes, you read that right -- a spa for toddlers and preschoolers. This company specializes in hosting parties that include -- for a base package of $34.95 per girl -- a special hair updo, makeup application, manicure, a 15-minute walk on a runway, cake and a special goodie bag including more makeup, glitter and a photo to capture memories of the special experience. This company offers services for tweens and grade-school-aged girls, however this ad specifically was targeting pre-schoolers. As the mother of a toddler girl, I am afraid -- very afraid of the kinds of things I might face in the years ahead. Are these "princess packages" creating negative images in our daughters' minds or are they harmless? Is it just a day of fun, or does it create a lasting impression on our girls that this primping and perfecting is what they need to be real girls & women? That you always should be made up, done up as much as you can, or else your just not worthy of being called a princess? Last week, an article ran on Newsweek.com called "Generation Diva," about the very same subject. Author Jessica Bennett posed these questions and others and pondered what this "diva-fication" will do to girls' images of themselves. Will a girl raised on mani/pedis be getting Botox at twenty, facelifts at 30, and then Prozac at 40? Will the never-ending search for perfection be taken to new extremes by the next generation? The article stated that tween girls are bombarded with an average of 500 advertisements a day, many of them concerning how a woman can gain a little bit more perfection physically. That's the reason I started my company, Gis4Girl, is to let girls know that they are already fabulous and beautiful just the way they are. I don't really have a problem with girls wanting to be princesses -- playing dress up in pretty dresses can fun. And maybe they want manis and pedis and make up because they see mom doing just that. But I can't help but feel that a party including makeup application and strutting down a runway is just a bit too much for someone 5 and under. Be a princess for a day, fine. But girls: be a scientist, an athlete, an adventurer, a reader and writer, an artist, a doctor, a creator, and be yourself every other day after that!
Til next time,