Lambs dressed up as mutton
When my little cousin waltzes into my room and asks me for nail polish, it doesn’t really bother me. Perhaps her decision to forego my sexy reds and vixen blacks for the playschool razzle dazzle of my fluro pinks and purples fills me with a little confidence that her safe and happy childhood is very much intact.
Then there are the other times, when she waltzes in my room wearing blue eye shadow and shiny pink lip gloss, and asks me for help in adding more artificial crap to her face.
Those are the times I know we have a colouring-outside-the-lines situation – and not just because she misses the outline of her lips.
The other week, I found a picture of three year old Suri Cruise, wearing a pair of blue peep-toe heels, and I couldn’t help but recoil in shame at how our society has allowed our little girls to grow up before they’re emotionally and physically ready.
Sure, we can’t help the fact that our reality is far different to that of days gone by. But when we have young girls over-sexualised before they’re emotionally mature, or battling issues such as body image disorders before they’ve even reached their teens, we know there’s a problem at stake.
How can we teach them to be comfortable in their own skin, and encourage them to seek pursuits outside the physical realms of their bodies (like sports, community goals or academia), in order to help them develop as well-rounded individuals with a tight enough grasp on life? Don’t the statistics of mental health and suicide on the part of our adolescents say enough?
Far be it from me to judge what is appropriate dress for one’s age, considering I once went on a date dressed in a batgirl tee shirt, but come on, even I couldn’t put my childhood behind when it was time to grow up. And considering the advent of botox and other futile attempts at retaining our youth, I am evidently not the only one.
I figure this is an indication that we really need to remind our kids to enjoy childhood while they can, because childhood is changing and it is changing fast. Where daddy’s little girl was once about climbing trees, tea parties and hopscotch, she’s now about skimpy pussycat doll clothes, make-up and boys.
Where my generation grew up on youth fighting for the planet and against crime and corruption in TV shows like Captain Planet and Power Rangers, my cousin’s generation is growing up on Hannah Montana trying to decipher who she is in the middle of stripper-pole skits at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.
But we don’t have a choice in the matter, because we only get one shot at an amazing, carefree childhood, and I’m sure we all know that we should have milked it for all it was worth. And why our daughters need to do the same, because there’s a time and place for everything, and hopefully, a full life for this everything to fit into place.
But for now, we need to chat about why high heels belong in mummy’s closet, and why make-up is best reserved for those times in our life when we really need it – like when we’re cursed with uneven skin tone due to stress, acne, and ironically, premature ageing. Lord knows, if I had the skin of a child, I wouldn’t be dashing off and donating money to Clinique every chance I got.
We need more ‘beautiful on the inside’ mentalities. We need more little girls loving life instead of little girls lost in its maze before they’re ready. And as always, we need to get to the root of the problem, and get little Suri Cruise to hand her heels to daddy Tom, because, no matter our take on the matter, we all know that they’re certainly more prettier than standing on a cardboard box for that bit of extra height.
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