December 1, 2011

Salon Kids

Today, on The View's "Hot Topics" segment, the ladies discussed this new trend of young girls (we're talking 8-12 year-olds here) visiting the salon for treatments. And when I say treatments, I don't mean a haircut and blowout. I mean treatments:
  • Manicures/ Pedicures
  • Hair coloring/ highlighting/ straightening
  • Facials
  • Eyebrow shaping
  • Waxing (even the bikini line!)
And no, these aren't just pageant girls. These are the girls next door (as in, next to you and me, not Hef's girlfriends), the ones in school with your children every day.

I've already discussed the dangers of sexualizing young girls, so that's not what I'm going to focus on today. (Although, I do have to seriously question any parent who thinks it's necessary to get their daughter a bikini wax at this age.) Instead I want to focus on the message this gives young girls: you aren't good enough.

We've all heard this warning in terms of weight. Psychologists all over the country have cautioned us from speaking negatively about our bodies or obsess over every calorie in front of children. The result of this, we know, is a generation of little girls with negative body images.

But what about the other things? Are you teaching them that it is impossible to face the world without a full face of makeup? (If so, I recommend you consider the No Makeup November challenge next year.) Are you teaching them that the hair on their head is only acceptable in certain colors, perfectly straight, full of body and without any sign of frizz? Are you teaching them that their body hair is gross or embarrassing by waxing or lasering away every last strand?

Not that any of these things is inherently wrong. And I think that we, as adults, have the right to choose to do whatever we feel necessary to our bodies. I'm not here to tell you to stop wearing makeup or stop maintaining your bikini line. In fact, please don't stop... no one needs to see that!

I just think that we, as parents, teachers, and mentors are role models in the lives of little girls, we also need to be mindful of what we're sending them. We can't say that we want to raise confident young women and then let them see us spend so much time and effort altering ourselves in order to face the world (no pun intended).

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