Helping girls hate everything about themselves earlier every year

Symptomatic of a much larger and subtler problem, but still a great article.

From Andromeda:

I remember when I was a young girl in high school I hated so many things about myself. I hated my thick glasses that made me look like I was wearing Coke bottles on my face. I hated my hair because, although hairdressers loved its thickness, for me it just made it hard to do anything nice with it because at that age I possessed an ineptitude with anything that could be called styling; as a result, I had bushy hair. I didn’t hate my entire body but I wondered why I couldn’t have a little more cleavage, dammit. I was self-conscious about my teeth because my incisors were more prominent than the rest of them (actually, I’m still self-conscious about that).

In other words, I was a fairly typical teenage girl. Just about the only problem I didn’t have was an eating disorder because I was always thin. But I had all those other things, plus a horrible sense of fashion, an uncertainty about makeup (though that never stopped me from wearing it, which was probably unfortunate, what with all that blue eyeshadow and metallic pink lipstick that was “in” back then), and a burning need – like so many girls that age – to fit in, to cave to peer pressure, to follow all the trends so I could be as “cool” as everyone else.

I know this is one of the things lying ahead of me as the mother of two girls, having two beautiful girls who should have all the self-confidence in the world and who may not, no matter how much we both try to instill it in them. Look at the world around young girls – they see women on TV and in movies who are the size of a toothpick and they talk to magazines about what diet they follow or how many hours they work with a personal trainer. People call Jennifer Love Hewitt, a girl with a very normal and nice body (and awesome rack) fat after seeing her in an unflattering pose in a bikini when she was in a private moment – fat. FAT. If people think she’s fat just because she isn’t a stick figure with a bobble head, what do you suppose young girls think? Every few years, an article is released mentioning that eating disorders are hitting girls younger and younger. It’s disgusting.

And THEN I read this article called Why 10 is too young for your first Brazilian where it mentions that Nair released a special line of hair removal products which is ranged at girls age 10 to 15. Why? Why are girls as young as ten being encouraged to use a chemical to melt the hair off their legs and bikini lines? But that’s not the worst part.

Now an Australian website, girl.com.au has a big feature about Brazilian waxes – and in case you don’t know what that is, it’s when hot wax is used to rip off every inch of hair from a woman’s private region. Every hair. And the site is read by girls in the age nine to 14 range. On top of that, the site promotes the Brazilian with this phrase: “Nobody really likes hair in their private regions and it has a childlike appeal.”

IT HAS A CHILDLIKE APPEAL?

Jesus Christ. Is this what the media is teaching our girls? That no matter how much we tell them they’re beautiful, smart, funny, brilliant, wonderful, perfect, incredible, they’re never going to be anything unless they’re thinner, completely hairless for the sake of appealing to some sort of misogynist world, everything an advertiser says they need to be? Take your nine-year-old, toss her a bottle of Nair, give her a belly shirt and some spike heels, and there you go.

You know what? When I was nine, I was wearing jeans and flannel shirts that were dirty because I was out in the backyard, digging up dirt with my Tonka Trucks. I thought boys were cute but I was too busy riding my bike just a little further than I was really allowed to bother dressing myself up for one. I liked to put on my grandmother’s bright red lipstick, pale face powder, and clip-on sparkly earrings for fun, but then I washed it off so I could run outside to play hide and seek or a rousing game of tag.

I don’t want my daughters to live any differently. I want them to play and laugh and be the goddamn children that they are, not some miniature version of a sexed-up woman as described by magazines, and television shows, and websites that don’t see anything wrong with pushing a Brazilian wax job on pre-pubescent girls. For God’s sake, the article incredulously mentions fashion magazines “for five and six-year-olds that tell them how to look hot and find a boyfriend. There are pole-dancing classes for children.” What?! Since when is this all normal? Since when is childhood no longer a special and precious time that should be enjoyed and is now ignored in favor of little children acting like they’re on the latest “Girls Gone Wild” video?

The end of the article says this:

Encourage them to be children, just for a little while longer. And don’t worry. They’ll have plenty of time to learn to hate themselves when they get older.

And it makes me cry because what type of future are our young girls facing?

I’m angry. Are you angry? Then speak up.


7 thoughts on “Helping girls hate everything about themselves earlier every year

  1. When I was a child, I was in such a rush to be older. To understand every conversation i was hearing and to know as much as the taller people around me. When being “female” in this day is to constantly change your appearance solely on the opinions of other influences (the status quo, fashion, TV, people etc)Its difficult to say when childhood ends and adult life begins for women. When that line is a blur then nothing is out of the question. A few years ago i would have laughed at the idea of Brazilian waxes for 10 year old but at the current rate of change I’m sure plastic surgery for self conscience children and such isn’t far behind.

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  2. I couldn’t agree more. I work in a day care, and all the little girls tell me about their boyfriends (they’re 4 and 5!), and the girls just a little older are made ridiculous by talking about things I can’t remember knowing until at least high school. The loss of childhood innocence is shameful and terrifying. How can we fight the entire industry of fashion, with the might of media behind it? Discouraging…but hopefully enough women like us can eventually make an impact and turn the tide.

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  3. I’m angry. I’m an 18 year old girl at university, but i found the push to act older, and to fit in was quite strong when i was in my younger teen years. It makes me feel sick inside that websites are promoting brazillians for children as young as 9. To sexualise a child that young is horrible, and to encourage her to grow up even faster than she already wants to is also terrible. It scares me the way this world is going, given companies are targeting beauty products such as waxing strips at younger and younger age brackets.

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  4. advertisement is so corrupted in the sense that if you take any teen magazine and look at an advertisement you see subliminal sex images the reason for that i think is to keep girls at a step down position from the male counter parts. kids in general are subjected to too much advertisement, a young boy is thought that in the world sex is everything so they wont look at the girl and say hey shes smart its oh hey you have tits lets fuck i know of many kids who have already started having sex in middle school i think thats crazy all its going to is spread STIs and have babies having babies has anyone seen that show on mtv 16 and pregnant? i hope girls watch that and say oh hey its not a walk in the park to have a child im not going to be stupid ill use a condom or if they get pregnant just know that their are options adoption or abortion

    im ranting im going to stop now

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  5. I’m furious! The last time I saw my little cousin she was in5th grade, and she was wearing clothing that looked like it belonged on some cheap dancer! That was FOUR YEARS AGO! I shudder to think what girls in that age group wear now. Girls are meant to be girls, not pre-harlots! How DARE the media warp the world for our daughters, siblings, cousins!? When did women completely stop being people and ONLY be objects? I can’t stand for such a thing, and I won’t respect any other men that do! It’s time that we take a stand against the men that bring my sex down from viewing women (and now LITTLE GIRLS!) as mere objects. AND a stand against the women that allow it! This can’t keep going any further.

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  6. I’ve been aware of this situation, I so agree with you all. It’s just.. this generation is wild, their environment is like encouraging them to become more and more liberated like what they see on the web or tv. One time, me and my friend were watching a Korean series wherein the scene was the guy, about to confess to the girl. Me and my friend was like “OMG. I HOPE SHE DOESN’T REJECT HIM. OMG, THIS IS SO SWEET!” (lulz) and my 6 yr old niece was there watching with us and said “THEY SHOULD JUST HAVE SEX.” And, we were shitless shocked. I couldn’t be surprised more. I told her to go out of the room. I felt like vomiting. Seriously, sex didn’t even cross my mind that time, how can a little girl think like that?! And I’ve also seen nine year old girls on the internet who worries about masturbating, wearing tampons, etc. I wonder what kind of moms they have lol. I wasn’t raised like that.

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