Tuesday Newsday – Generation Diva?

August 3rd, 2010

My daughter went to daycare twice a week when she was super little. Cuz mama gotta get some stuff done. One day, when she was about one, she came toddling over to me to show me her new nails. They had painted my daughter’s nails pink. Bright pink. Pepto pink.

I went home and cried. I have no idea why. Oh, wait, yes I do. They didn’t ask me. Because if they had, I would’ve said no. Not for any reason other than I wanted her first nail polish to be at the hands of her mom. A bonding experience. A bonding experience when she was four. Not one.

According to market-research firm Experian, 43 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss; 38 percent use hairstyling products; and 12 percent use other cosmetics. Huh?

Coming from a childhood where I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 14 (sorry, mom, but I put it on once I got to school), this seems ridiculous. Not as bad as those padded bikinis for 7-year-old girls that Primark pulled off the shelves because they were über-creepy. But still. Are we raising a generation of primped and not-so-proper divas? I can’t even get through a 10-second clip of ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ before I want to throw something at the TV (shame on you, mothers…faux lashes and fake tans on six-year-olds?).

Check out Generation Diva and find out how our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.

On a recent Sunday in Brooklyn, I stumble into a spa that brands itself for the 0 to 12 set, full of tweens getting facialed and glossed, hands and feet outstretched for manis and pedis. “The girls just love it,” says Daria Einhorn, the 21-year-old spa owner, who was inspired by watching her 5-year-old niece play with toy beauty kits. Sounds extreme? Maybe. But this, my friends, is the new normal: a generation that primps and dyes and pulls and shapes, younger and with more vigor. Girls today are salon vets before they enter elementary school. Forget having mom trim your bangs, fourth graders are in the market for lush $50 haircuts; by the time they hit high school, $150 highlights are standard. Five-year-olds have spa days and pedicure parties. Read more…

How old were you when you started wearing makeup? When will you let your daughter start? Are spa treatments for girls good bonding experiences or overindulging? Let me know in a comment.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday Newsday – Generation Diva?”

  1. Brooke says:

    I was in 7th grade before I could wear makeup to school. And I think that’s too young.

  2. I’m a faithful viewer of Toddlers & Tiaras, and while I only did one pageant (at 17 years old), I was also heavily involved in dance, gymnastics and cheerleading – three activities that require athletic ability but also, yes, place emphasis on appearance. HOWEVER, there is too much of an emphasis on outer beauty in today’s society. My parents were always very careful in making sure that I realized that beauty is fleeting, while intelligence and warmth and genuine caring never go out of style.

    So while I do love my make-up and I am definitely a “girly girl,” I cringe to see how our culture forces little girls to grow up. And we force them to grow up not by demanding excellence in the classroom or in sports or music or any other activity, but by meeting a certain physical standard. And if you don’t meet that standard, then fix it with nail polish and lip gloss. Disgusting.

    BTW, I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up until I was 14 either. And while on one hand I did sneak it on at school, and I do think it may be a bit too old, I also have to shrug and think that may be way too young to be wearing it EVERY day. It’s tiring, you know? One day you’re a carefree child and the next you’re shaving your legs and curling your eyelashes, and it’s like that every single day for the rest of your life.

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