There’s been a lot of buzz on Twitter and Facebook today about this BBC report on a Beirut beauty parlor designed to serve girls between the ages of 4-14. Chez Lulu was met with some criticism when it first opened in 2009, sparking a debate about whether this is an age-appropriate activity for children.
Personally, I think putting makeup on little girls makes them look likecreepy, tranny-midgets. But I get it: some girls like to play dress-up and feel like the princesses they’ve come to adore from their favorite fairy tales and cartoons.
But I’m also convinced that nurturing a young girl’s desire to value appearances (make-up, clothing, hair, etc.) teaches them that self-worth is related to their looks and not their accomplishments or abilities. It also encourages their objectification and sexualization by others around them.
It’s not just about being “girly” or sexy. It’s about building a relationship between a girl’s desire to achieve the right “look” by becoming a dedicated consumer. Shops like Chez Lulu don’t open up because they want girls to feel special, they open up because they want to make money off them.
So when marketers allow you to believe that Pretty=Popular=Happy, it’s the cosmetic companies who reap the benefits and your little girl who’s then often left with low self-esteem, superficial desires and maybe even an eating disorder.
And so, it’s no surprise when impressionable young ladies end up posting provocative pics of themselves on Facebook just to get feedback from their friends about how “great” they look. It’s not about having fun with the possibilities offered by social media, this is what they do to make themselves feel good.
It’s clear we live in a world that puts a high importance on appearances and little value on brains and intelligence. And there’s no escaping the hypersexualization of women in the media. But that’s why it’s more important than ever, I believe, to guide your child away from these very narrow images of what it means to be a girl and even a woman.
I’m not a parent yet, but I’d rather take my daughter to a heavy metal concert where we might be accused of “satanic worship” (in this country), than a beauty parlor that sends an ever-so-subtle message that her butt might be getting too big.
Admit it, when Malak Mohammad (who is a gorgeous little girl with or without the makeup) wears her pink wig and mini-shorts in the video above, she doesn’t look much different from this toddler, whose mom dressed her up to look like Julia Roberts from the film, Pretty Woman.
From the article, “’Toddlers and Tiaras’ Mom Dresses Up 3-Year-Old Like A Prostitute. On Purpose.” (Photo via mychannel957.com)