Saturday, April 05, 2008

Little Miss Supermodel.

A Barbie girl in a Barbie world.

I received my first facial cleanser when I was eleven years old, plucked my eyebrows and waxed my legs for the first time when I was eighteen. My first facial came a year later, and I was a working adult when I got my first professional manicure. In contrast, Philadelphia magazine reports that girls as young as 10 are getting bikini waxes and microdermabrasion treatments. While the article focuses on a small sub-set of girls, I am deeply disturbed by the complicity of the aestheticians and mothers. In the article, several salon owners now have mothers sign waiver forms before their daughters are waxed, but I maintain that they should stand their ground and refuse service to these insane women.

The image above is from the 2001 HBO documentary Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen, which follows young Swan Brooner (pic) and her mother as they hit the children beauty pageant circuit in the American south. You can view this in nine parts on Youtube by clicking on this link.


g33kchic said...

It's just WRONG. I didn't get my first lipgloss until I was... errr... 17

Laura said...

I watched the documentary and was a little horrified. It's like watching a car crash: so disturbing and horrifying yet you can't take your eyes off of it. I've always loved makeup (I started wearing it around the age of eleven, without parental permission) and had lipsmakers as a kid, but this just too much. Bleaching your daughter's hair? Thousand dollar outfits? Headshots that make an eight-year old look sixteen? Sexy dance routines? Pagent coaches? It's nuts. I think it would be one thing if the kids in the pagents truly wanted to do it and were having fun, but it's pretty obvious that the they see it as work. It also makes me wonder about how much school they miss out on for these shows... I guess in some ways, pagent mothers view pagents as a way of getting their daughter to a...higher level in society? That it will build their daughter's character and help them make friends? Bring success to the family? Who knows their rational behind it all. I have nothing against pagents overall, but from what I could see in the documentary, these kids looked fairly exploited. I respect people who believe children's pagents as a good thing, and those who have participated in them and have had a positive experience, but it's certainly not something I would want my child to participate in.

Tine said...

This is simply scary. I don't understand the need for 10-year old girls to get bikini waxes. What the heck is there to remove in the first place?!

I had my first facial cleanser when I was 12, plucked my brows when I was 19 years old, and have never waxed my legs (gasp! Faux pas? :P)

Shryh said...

g33kchic: I was doing tinted lip balm at 17. >)

laura: I agree with you all the way. While I'm sure the pageant experience was positive for some girls, some mothers in the movie also seem to take the competition more seriously than their daughters, which bothers me. That said, I've heard that children's pageants have begun to eschew adult pageant hair and the ridiculous ruffled dresses. I'm not in with the pageant crowd so I don't know for sure, but I hope.

Tine: You're one of those lucky ones who never has to shave or wax. I'm jealous! I have to wear jeans or tights most of the time. :P

siongee said...

I saw this documentary some time ago and was horrified to say the least at the lengths the parents went. I read somewhere that Swan was no longer in the pageant circuit. Her family life seemed quite a tragic story. I have always wondered what happened to the other girl (the one who is the daughter of the pageant "trainers"). I too was deeply disturbed for quite a while after watching the documentary.