An interesting news item caught me eye the other night on TV. The channel was set to one of those tabloid news shows like First Edition or People. You know, the Hollywood gossip shows. My wife likes to get her check out line line fix of all the gossip a couple of times a week via the TV. Saves us the hassle of recycling the crap from the store.
I do not usually pay much attention. Or if I do, I spend way too much time rolling my eyes and wondering why we are so fascinated with these losers. The only thing about any of them that interests me is when they are performing. What they do in their private lives is of no interest to me. Who's sleeping with who, who's pregnant, and who was caught OUI leave me less than impressed with American culture. As a nation, we spend entirely too much time living our lives vicariously through the lives of our chosen heroes. If we would pick better heroes, I might be kinder in my evaluation.
Anyway one segment was about the age at which a young girl should be exposed to all those female renovations that many women take for granted as adults. The story centered on one 4 year old girl who was experiencing her first makeover. Hair dyed, make up, the works. Even with my jaded attitude about America's fixation on appearance, I was taken aback by this.
I guess it was a natural progression for some mom somewhere to turn their daughter into a minature runway model. They have run out of options for themselves, and needing the fix, they look around the house for something to improve. If there are no pets to work on, they settle on what comes down for breakfast in the morning. Hubby is a lost cause. But little Nancy with her boney scratched knees, hair every which way, and wearing an old T shirt of Dad's she loves to sleep in is another matter. Glamour Mom sees this pitiful young waif and decides her little darling could stand some tuning up. Like her own live action Barbie, she schemes and makes appointments to turn her little darling into Paris Hilton.
These moms are sick puppies. Ingraining a stupid fascination with appearance into their kids' minds so early is just wrong. Kids need a grace period before they are expected to act adult like. They need a time period to find themselves. Not be forced to an idea we as parents have of them. Lord knows, we warp them in many other ways. But turning them into fashion plates at age 4 is over the top. JoBenet Ramsey comes to mind whenever I see something like this. If ever the foreign detractors of our country had good reason to hate the USA, this particular perversion lends them credibility and feeds their fire.
I grew up looking scruffy 6 days a week. Sundays, I was forced to put on the church going duds and requested to stay clean at least until we got home. I had a problem meeting that challenge. Seems dirt and grunge sought me out and still do. Most of my friends were the same. Superficial stuff like clothes or hairdos mattered not. Who could climb the highest in a tree, who was fastest, or who had the best arm in a dirt clod battle mattered more. Real tangible, get your teeth into them qualities that every kid could appreciate. Status did not depend on how deep our parents' pockets were and what store we bought our clothes in. All that began later in junior high. Sure there was class structure even us kids recognized. But we would recognize it, not focus on it.
In my opinion, when a society starts turning their children into mirror images of themselves, it is one sure sign that society has way too much time and money on it's hands. When time spent with their kids is done at the beauty parlour, or Old Navy and not the local park or playground, it indicates a breakdown in the emotional connection to our kids. The connection becomes economic and a facade. Nothing of real import passes back and forth between parent and child. One of the indicators of decadence and future decline. I hope we can snap out of it.