As I am getting further into the book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein, I am learning more and more how I have been manipulated by the big-and-small name companies who have market segments strictly leaning on girls. Don’t get me wrong. I went more than willingly along for the ride. (Another time I will tell you about my youngest daughter’s foray into Irish Dancing). Reading about the toddler beauty pageants in this book had me seeing what I myself was capable and guilty of.
So, one thing that really reached out and slapped me in the face, was on page 82. “ ’Tween’ girls now spend more than $40 million dollars a month on beauty products. No wonder Nair, the depilatory maker, in 2007 released ‘Nair Pretty’, a fruit-scented line designed to make 10-year-olds conscious of their ‘unwanted’ body hair” (2012, pg. 82). The first thing I thought was that these tween girls must all have amazing jobs to be able to spend that much money, a month!!, on make-up and lip gloss. If only, right? But apparently a lot of moms are doing pretty well for themselves to be able to invest this kind of money in their young girls beauty regimens. My kids are going to deal with whatever supposed unwanted hair they have when they are 10 years old. They are just stuck with it. Sorry. You don’t need smooth legs right now.
I understand that times have changed. Having 4 girls ranging from 21 years old down to 9, I have bought Barbies, Bratz, Moxie Girls, My Little Pony, Monster High Dolls, and every other girlie toy I can’t bring to mind at the moment. But even though times have changed, my oldest still set the precedence that the others will, and do, follow. No one is allowed a cell phone before they are 13 years old. No one will wear make-up other than chapstick before they reach 12. No one will wear clothes that show their midriff, butt-crack, or breasts falling out of a shirt. I haven’t budged on this, and I won’t. Yes, I hear all the time about the 8 and 9 year old friends who have their own cell phones, and I refuse to give one to my 12 and 9 year old. I got by without one; I’m sure they will survive it as well.
So what’s to come? More eye-opening facts of how I have been sucked in to the system. Again; willingly. I like my girls to be girlie, if they are indeed “girlie-girls”. 2 of them are, 2 of them aren’t. If one wants Barbie Dolls to play with, I am OK with that. But if they decide they want a baseball glove and bat instead, I am OK with that as well.
I am curious to see as I continue to read what possible damage I may have done to my girls’ self-esteem!