Monday, April 4, 2011

Professional Reading #5

Staples, G.B. (2011, February 19). Makeup for the tween crowd: More cosmetics being marketed to ages 8 - 12. Some say attention on looks sends the wrong message to girls. The Atlanta Journal - Constitution.

Most tween girls express some interest in makeup or playing dress up. When I was a tween there was makeup marketed to girls my age, but it was more costumey and manufactured by Hello Kitty or Barbie and wasn’t something girls were going to wear beyond playing dress up. The increase in money available to tweens as well as their increasing powers of persuasion over their parents has led to an actual market for tween makeup, more than just dress up. This article discusses a new makeup line coming out at Walmart that will include skin care items as well. The article also mentions a spa for kids called Spa-Kidz. Girls from ages two to fifteen can go and get manicures, pedicures, miniglams, and facials. I visited their website which boasts that their mission is to empower young girls and boost their self-esteem. I’m not sure how they’re planning on accomplishing that with “dreamsicle glitter lotion,” a “pigglywiggly bubblegum soak," and their slogan, “Girlz just want to be pampered." Perhaps it’s that women have different definitions of what is empowering. Seeing an eight year-old wearing a full face of glittery makeup with her fingers and toes painted doesn’t convey to me a confident young lady, but maybe to some it would.

Manufacturers are just capitalizing on children's desire for these products. Where are young girls getting these ideas? From friends, television, and many times their parents. Many parents think it’s fun and harmless to let their daughters wear makeup and run around the house in high heels, and why not? Many little girls love to do it and it seems harmless enough. But, when this dress up is encouraged and the girl’s behavior is reinforced with coos of how cute or pretty she is, that’s where the desire takes form, thereby creating an association of dressing up with complements. I could see where women would like to bond with their daughters and take them for mommy and me manicures, but what is the harm in waiting a few years until exposing them to societal pressure for women to be made up in public. Later in life they can make choices about this, rather than be trained from an early age that this is how they are supposed to appear. I think eight years old is far too young to begin associating self-confidence with makeup.

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