Generation Diva: How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.

[Along with the growth of “gender” as a replacement for sex, something that can be determined by a quick glance between the legs. I have noticed a corpotate exploitation boom in marketing aimed at gender insecurity.  We are raising a generation of spoiled insufferable brats who all think they are special.  The boys have to be he-men super atheletes and future masters of the universe.  The girls are all spoiled princesses an4 year old wannabee Hannah Montanas.

Only social failures, i.e. nerds actually want to know things or have ambitions to be something other than rich consumers.]

Jessica Bennett


There’s a scene in “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the TLC reality series, where 2-year-old Marleigh is perched in front of a mirror, smothering her face with blush and lipstick. She giggles as her mother attempts to hold the squealing toddler still, lathering her legs with self-tanner. “Marleigh loves to get tan,” her mom says, as the girl presses her face against the mirror.

Marleigh is one of many pageant girls on the show, egged on by obsessive mothers who train their tots to strut and swagger, flip their hair and pout their lips. I watch, mesmerized by the freakishness of it all, but wonder how different Marleigh is from average girls all across America. On a recent Sunday in Brooklyn, I stumble into a spa that brands itself for the 0 to 12 set, full of tweens getting facialed and glossed, hands and feet outstretched for manis and pedis. “The girls just love it,” says Daria Einhorn, the 21-year-old spa owner, who was inspired by watching her 5-year-old niece play with toy beauty kits.

Sounds extreme? Maybe. But this, my friends, is the new normal: a generation that primps and dyes and pulls and shapes, younger and with more vigor. Girls today are salon vets before they enter elementary school. Forget having mom trim your bangs, fourth graders are in the market for lush $50 haircuts; by the time they hit high school, $150 highlights are standard. Five-year-olds have spa days and pedicure parties. And instead of shaving their legs the old-fashioned way—with a 99-cent drugstore razor—teens get laser hair removal, the most common cosmetic procedure of that age group. If these trends continue, by the time your tween hits the Botox years, she’ll have spent thousands on the beauty treatments once reserved for the “Beverly Hills, 90210” set, not junior highs in Madison, Wis.

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3 Responses to “Generation Diva: How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.”

  1. Catherine Says:

    I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about this lately. It’s really strange how society has become so much more protective of its children in so many ways but, at the same time, their parents and media seem to strip them of their childhood at such an early age.

    I was at my spa getting a bikini wax yesterday for my Greece getaway and there was this girl there that couldn’t have been any more than fifteen with her mom. It really took me aback. My mom, other than lip gloss, wouldn’t let me even wear makeup until I was almost 16. I was told it was bad for my skin. Maybe it was her way of protecting my youth, but I sort of appreciate it now. At least I had a childhood.

    Whatever happened to the hippy generation parents out there that wanted to raise their children to be more thoughtful and more interested in living independent lives as opposed to idealized media representations? It still amazes me how many kids raised by ‘flower power’ parents ended up owning Volvo’s and spending 500 dollars a week at Baby Gap. I was in the modeling biz long enough to realize how unrealistic the images that these girls strive for truly is. I can understand kids being confused by these images but their parents should know better.

    I was raised by the quintessential 40’s and 50’s parents and my mom stressed etiquette over everything else. I think most of these kids would go farther and be better off with a little more charm and a little less peroxide. Ok.. Now I’m feeling old. Where’s my Beatles albums and my stash of pot… 🙂

  2. Suzan Says:

    I did a little modeling too. Mostly though I was into it to get to work with photographers. I was dragging my cameras everywhere at that point.

    I thought modeling sucked (mostly I did catalog) but I dug the hell out of doing extra work in the movies and TV.

    I was never very hairy and so the idea of getting anything waxed especially my kootchie snorker seems like something I would only do if I were into S & M.

    I have to look for hair on my legs with a magnifying glass and as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten to the point where I have next to no underarm hair.

    As for the idea of spending lots of money on make-up I wait until Macy’s sends me the Clinique promo of buy something and get a bunch of stuff free.

    I have stuff I like in clothes like Ralph Lauren at the high end and Eddie Bauer at the low end, LL Bean and that sort of stuff.

    I used to hit the thrift stores a lot in SF and for a while did the Doc Martins with dresses look.

    Mostly though I’d rather buy an expensive lens than an expensive dress.

  3. Catherine Says:

    You’re so lucky you don’t have to do the waxing thing. I’ve done it for so many years that it doesn’t bother me that much anymore. I started waxing pretty young because of living in Newport Beach (Cali) and I loved the beach. It just flipped me out there would be a fifteen year old here with her mom at the spa getting a Brazilian wax considering I live in a land locked area of Europe. I spent hours talking to her and her daughter and her mother easily dropped 500 Euro on beauty treatments for her daughter and when we left, she looked much older than a 15 year old should. It’s scary watching mothers pimp out their daughters these days. My parents worked hard to keep me from having to grow up too fast and these days, it seems like kids are encouraged to shed their childhoods as soon as possible.

    As for makeup, I do admit, I’m kind of a makeup junkie. I’m in love with SK II’s line right now. Especially their spray foundation. Really natural look though a little pricey. Clinique has a great line too. My mother works for South Coast Plaza in OC so I get oodles of samples which usually ends up with me spending more than I should when I visit California. If you need samples (some full sized) I have drawers of them.

    As for fashion, have you tried Free People ( I’m addicted to their clothes. They have some great things. I really got addicted to fashion from living in New York and Tokyo and still write for some mags on occasion so I have to stay up to date. But personally, at my age, I veer away from anything too trendy. I’m not exactly a size 2 these days. I’m lucky if I can squeeze into an 8 so fashion doesn’t have the same allure it used to. I live in jeans. I love the Doc Martin and dress look though. SF always had a really cool eclectic feel I miss.

    If you’re really into photography, I still know a lot of photographers that can get you a pretty good deal on lenses and equipment. I have a friend in Sydney that owns his photography supply company that I can put you in contact with. He exports to the US. I don’t know if you can get my private email off this post. If not, I can send it to you or you can write to me off the blog and I can set you up with him. It’s something I don’t know a lot about so you’d have to talk to him but I’d be happy to introduce you. He’s a brilliant photographer as well.


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