Baby Brows!

7 Jan

Yesterday, I happened to walk through Debenhams store and saw a young girl, aged between 8 and 10, sitting in a reclining chair with her head tilted back and her mother standing next to her, looking on with affection, pride and silent pleasure. Nothing unusual in that, you might say. But what struck me is that there was a young woman leaning over the young girl, with a long piece of thread in her mouth and held between her fingers. The little girl was having her brows threaded!!

I might be old fashioned, but as much as I love children, I feel that when children ask for certain types of beauty treatments at such a young age, it saddens me and makes me think what do the parents gain from allowing their children to endure such “pampering”?

It’s like the other day, I read an article about a young mother who enters her 18 month old baby girl into beauty pageants. The mother denied being a “pushy parent” and said her child “wants to do it, loves all the attention and enjoys every minute of it.” How did the child know at the age of 6 months, that she wanted to enter a beauty pageant? How does she know that she is entered into a competition for prizes? I should imagine for the young girl it’s a bit of fun, playtime and naturally with children who tend to have a very inquisitve nature, she would like the attention, sparkle and flashing lights of the cameras or stage. She has received numerous awards and her mother intends to keep the little girl “grounded”. It’s not the girls’ fault. It’s not really her mothers fault. What parent wouldn’t want their child being described or voted as a beautiful baby? But at the same time, it’s like saying that a child who enters beauty competitions is special and gifted and those children who don’t are ugly. Why have beauty pageants for little children?

I blame the event organisers, or those who create such schemes. To me, it’s just another money making hare brained business project that feeds of vulnerable or starry eyed parents who are living their failed dreams through the lives of their off spring. They must think “What I don’t have or couldn’t have, I’ll make sure my son/daughter has it!” And there are some (unscrupulous?) people out there who can quite happily feed off those thoughts and bag themselves a new type of consumer. A very lucrative business, which over the years, appears to be getting worse and worse. There is a campaign in the UK called “Stop the Sexualisation of Children”. It’s aim is to stop such pageants and products for sale that make a child look older than what they are, sexually provocative music or billboard advertising. I support elements of this campaign, which came about after the findings of a report by the Mother’s Union. It saddens me to think we have to have a campaign to stop manipulating the consumer and we don’t seem to allow children to be children anymore.

But I think it goes deeper than that. It’s a whole generation of young people who are not encouraged to play outside, have a make-believe world, have stories read out to them or use their creativity or imagination. Children appear to be postively encouraged by the “We never had it as a child” parent mentality and are losing out on the value of what is really true and meaningful in life, the wonderment and awe, the magical and mystical, the escapism, the comfort and joy, the whole interaction of being loved and cared for, the inquistive nature to search and find out, the little giggles and tears, the growing pains and so forth. An example of childhood lost is when I see the majority of parents around me today who give a young toddler a mobile phone to play with and fries for lunch, dinner and snacks. They also seem to either talk over them, shout at them or involve them in adult conversations. Like celebrity or gossip magazines, children want to know the sordid details. They want the latest designer fashions, they want more technology, they want fast food, they want beauty treatments like mum, they want to emulate mum, they want to be like dad, they want to follow dads football team.

Children want, want, want…

I recall a brief exchange with my then 10 year old niece and her 4 male siblings younger than her when they were at home on a lovey, hot sunny day. It went something like this:

“What can we do?” she said.
“I suggest you play outside”
“It’s boring outside!”
I flashed back to my childhood. “Go and play tig, hide and seek, hopscotch?”
“What are they?”
“Games” I said.
“Games? I’ve got the computer to play games!”
“Well, go and create a play or write a story”
“How do I do that?”
“Use your imagination!”
“Whats that!?” They all chorused and ran upstairs to play on the computer. “Are we having fries for dinner mum?” One of the lads called down.
“Yes” exasperated mum replied.
They all cheered.

But sometimes, as adults, we have to learn to say “Stop wanting because I can only give to you what you need. That way, you can appreciate what I have to offer more and you can learn more about life and materialistic things, the value of money etc in your own good time. But just for now, enjoy your childhood and all that it offers because at this rate, you’ll lose your childhood memories forever so learn just to be and be who you are!”

The Learned Kat

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