One benefit (or side effect?) of having a week off of work with nowhere to go is that I have time in the morning to watch the morning news/talk shows. Just now, the Today show aired a piece on the marketing of makeup to young girls.
As a girly girl, I remember my first exposures to makeup. To this day, my mother wears very little makeup, but I fondly recall the feelings of fun and mystery the makeup in her vanity conjured up. All the tubes of mascaras and lipsticks, pots of powders, strange tools like the torturous eyelash curler...all sorts of forbidden, interesting products that signaled adulthood and being a women. Though I was naturally attracted to cosmetics, I was not allowed to wear them until I hit 7th grade. Buying my first products, learning how to use them...it was all a rite of passage.
According to the Today show's report, girls these days aren't just playing dress up or messing with their mother's makeup at home. Now girls as young as 4 go to the salon for pedicures, manicures, makeovers, hair extensions, even highlights. Girls go to birthday parties at Club Libby Lu where they're given faux cocktails for kiddos as they get glammed up in the Sparkle Spa. Disney offers salon packages to little girls, and Sephora (and other cosmetics giants) sell entire lines of products targeted at the tween and younger set.
As a kid I would have LOVED a Libby Lu party. And part of me thinks it all sounds like fun. I don't have kids and I don't have any nieces, but if I did, I know I'd be charged with teaching them how to use makeup and take care of their skin, and taking them to a Libby Lu party or out for a pedicure doesn't seem too crazy to me.
But getting highlights at the age of 6? That seems like overkill. And there's another part of me, the idealistic part, that doesn't like kids being exposed to brands and consumerism, even though that's a huge part of childhood. It also seems like girls are just mini-mes of their product-conscious mothers: they have to wear the perfect clothes, have the perfect look, own cute accessories, even tote designer bags. That's sad to me...it seems like girls should enjoy their carefree youth, a time when their supposed to play, roll around in the mud, and figure out who they are and who they want to become.
Experts say such early exposure to makeup promotes a negative self-image as that child ages. They say that girls who start makeup and hair care too young are overly sexualized at a young age. And yet, Club Libby Lu is making money hand over fist.
So what do you think: Is it bad for young girls to get made over? What age is too young for makeup? What's the right age? I'm firmly in the middle on this issue and am very thankful I don't have kids to worry about this. Leave me a comment if you have thoughts on this!