Lots of time to grow up
Yesterday afternoon, I was shopping at a busy cosmetics outlet in St. Julian's, and whilst I was discretely rummaging through the "first signs of aging" section, someone caught my attention.
She had long glossy hair with streaky blonde strands, sparkly lips, dangling earrings, and a gold crucifix hanging round her neck. She was wearing a short sweater with the words 'I'm hot' printed in luminous orange, and her low cut leggings exposed a perfect six-pack.
Her parents, who were there helping her choose an expensive perfume looked proud as punch of their seven year old daughter.
That's right, she was just seven years old, and her appearance came in a hundred different flavours of wrong!
Now, before someone starts hurling the word 'uptight' at me, let it be known that I'm usually considered very liberal when it comes to kids. In fact during a child Vs parent dispute, I'm almost always rooting for the kid; I abhor the 'cause I said so' line of reasoning, and wish it was made illegal to use the 'don't answer back' retort to a child's valid argument.
Most probably, I would also be one of those bad parents who allow their kids a Facebook account because I think that Facebook is the perfect way of monitoring the way your kid behaves 'when you're not around'. It's also the only way to get to know most of your kid's friends and raise the alarm if someone jumps off the screen shouting 'trouble' through their pics.
But, as liberal as I am with kids having their freedoms and voicing their opinions, when it comes to girls looking like slutty women, (but inevitably thinking like girls), my blood starts to boil.
Sometime last year the American fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch launched a push up bra for girls as young as seven! Now I know that I'm a particularly late developer, but I think it's safe to say that at that age there's nothing to push up right? At the time, the public complained vociferously until Abercrombie & Fitch came back saying that they've raised the target group to girls aged 12. Ah! Now that's so much better isn't it? It's always good to start the self-conscious training young. That's what kids' beauty pageants are for in fact!
Of course it's easy to point a finger at the big profit-hungry brands for launching such items, but truth be told, retailers wouldn't produce anything for which there wasn't a market. So it's the parents that are to blame here, no one else.
So, please, before you give in to your kid's whims for the latest thong-wearing Bratz doll, just be aware that in 2007 the APA (American Psychological Association) linked early sexualisation of girls to the three most common mental health problems in women - eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.
How's that for a great future?