For a child to be a child.. Post 12

..seems to be almost impossible..

Sandhya and Monika shared this link on Facebook, and I had to add my two cents. Apparently, a mother gave her 8 year old daughter Botox, apart from treatments like waxing her legs. All for a beauty pageant.

I can’t help wonder what motivates mothers(or parents) to even think of such treatments for a child. How can a parent be obsessed by the way their child looks? How can a beauty pageant be so important that their child needs to go through such ‘treatments’ to compete?  In the link, the child talks about having Botox to get rid of ‘wrinkles’. Wrinkles? On an 8 yr old child? What, how? I mean, I am running out of words here.

Here I flinch when I take my daughter for her regular immunizations, which, I know, is no comparison, but how could a mother inject her child with Botox for purely cosmetic reasons? What is most saddening and horrifying for me, is that the little girl believed that she has wrinkles! And that it is ‘unladylike’ for a girl to have hair on her body! This is an 8 year old talking, by the way, just in case we forget, in the face of all these adult treatments.

Why are we robbing our children on their childhood? While most parents would not go to the extreme of Botox or waxing, but the emphasis on beauty and looks is pretty much there. I was in a beauty saloon about 6 years ago, in Bangalore. I was pregnant with daughter at that time. While I was getting my hair cut, there was this little girl, not more than 4 or 5 years old, who had professional make-up applied on her. They were on their way to a wedding, and the little girl was delighted with her make-up.  She looked horrendous with adult make-up and lipstick on her, in my opinion, but people were cooing on her and telling her that she looked like a movie-star.If only I could have given them a piece of my mind. The staff of the saloon told me that it is routine. Parents get their children to have make-up applied, hair straightened, curled, set, the works. Now, I see people I know, doing the same. My little girl is curious about make-up too, but I am careful not to glamourise it, and thankfully, apart from the cursory look at what I am upto, she is not really bothered. And I would have it no other way.

It is not just about makeup either. Some of my daughter’s friends have shoes with heels. They wear delicate shoes, with straps, and bows and all sorts of things, which just about allows them to stand without tripping over. What happened to sensible shoes? Sandals which allows them to be children? I might be considered an ‘unfashionable’ mother, but I much rather have my child playing, running and doing everything she wants to rather than wear ‘fashionable’ shoes and get shoe-bitten or just stand in a corner. No wonder the boys seem more active, because they are dressed appropriately. When on holiday, I just take sturdy, sensible shoes for her. Yes, she might not change shoes with every outfit, but at least she is able to walk miles, and not have shoe bites, and aching feet.

I have heard new-born babies being lauded as ‘She will be a Miss Universe’. A woman’s need for beauty is stated right from the beginning of her life. I am yet to hear someone say that of a baby boy. A child(girl) who is tall is told, ‘She will be a model, when she grows up’. When we put such ideas into their heads, is it a wonder that little girls get obsessed with their looks and their clothes? Yes, not all of them might be worried about their wrinkles, but some are definitely worried about their complexion.

Here in the UK, there is an initiative called ‘Stop Pimping our Kids’, which is part of a TV programme. They try to take on retailers who sell inappropriate clothes targeted at children as young as 6/7 years old. While it is great to make the retailers accountable, I think the deeper question is, who buys these clothes? Clearly these clothes are on the rack,because parents are buying them.. Isn’t that a bigger problem?

If only I could cocoon daughter from all these influences. I know I can’t but I can try to negate them by deflecting her attention, and by explaining why heels are not such a good idea. Not just for children, even for adults. And by focussing on things that lets her be a child.

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21 thoughts on “For a child to be a child.. Post 12

  1. So true, Smits! I did see the link doing the rounds on FB. It is so disturbing. Looks are given so much more importance than your inner beauty. And whats saddening to see is how parents endorse that view. Namnam and I had to a b’day party y’day of her classmate’s and I was zapped to see girls present there( most of them around 4-5yrs old) in off-shoulder dresses, with full on make up( lipstick, eye liner, blush on, ectc. and their parents proudly showcasing them to others 😦

    I shudder to think of 4-5 yr olds dressed like that! How can parents do this, is beyond me! And makeup on such little children, what are we teaching them? I worry. Deeps, I worry about how long I will be able to shield daughter from all this 😦

  2. Such people exist everywhere in the world. Making their kids win some pageant they could never win, thrusting their dreams and beliefs on their children…

    I know. They just want to live their dreams through their children. Which is fine as far as what they do does not harm the child in any way.. But Botox and waxing for an 8 yr old, is horrifying.

    I believe instilling the idea of a good mind and a healthy body makes your beauty come out is necessary in kids. We all love to look good irrespective of our age. What means we employ to do that is the important thing.

    Absolutely. Wanting to look good is not a crime, but as you say, what means we employ is more important. I would also question a parent who puts these ideas into their child’s heads. After all where could an 8 year old get the idea that she has ‘wrinkles’?

    Like Amma knew how vain I was as a kid and she made sure I skipped and cycled to get a good height. In teen years, she made me drink lots of water for getting rid of pimples and apply sandal paste. The first time I threaded my eyebrows and waxed was in 11th or 12th, that too from peer pressure and not parents’.

    That is a reasonable age,isn’t it? I mean you must have been almost 18. But when little children want to get these things done, I can’t help wonder…

    • Ahhhh not good commenting by phone.

      I rarely comment from the phone. I find it easier to read on the phone, but comment when I get to my laptop 🙂

      Another set of parents are who on drugs they dont care if a child is there they want their fix.

      Dont know why the so called do gooders go over stupid things but such things go unnoticed.
      Such parents are not able to do anything on their own but want to have success by the help of their kids.
      Disgusting.

      I know! It feels sad that such people are allowed to become parents 😦

  3. I particularly disapprove of uncomfortable footwear, which is only a lesser version of Chinese foot binding.

    I totally agree!

    The idea of girls and beauty is too deeply entrenched and as they grow older the fight keeps getting tougher.

    I know. I can see it already. If five and six year olds are so bothered about looks, then as teenagers, it is just going to get worse?

    Wearing comfortable, practical footwear and shorts/jeans is seen as ‘tomboyish’, dainty footwear and skirts and bows and ribbons are seen as appropriate for girls, often even when they go out to play. Even if these hamper movement and future health. Same goes for hair styles, outdoor activities etc.

    I agree! I don’t understand why parents feel the need to ‘dollify’ their daughters. Surely they have more to their personalities than looking like a dumb doll?

    So comparatively, maybe dressing up and make up for just one wedding can be compared to kohl and bindi and veni in the past, more like a fun activity that lasts just one evening.

    Yes, I agree. If it is just a once in a while thing, it is fine. But here, I have seen little girls with their hair straightened at every kiddie party. And we have parties almost on a weekly basis – some child’s birthday or the other. Most of these parties are at play areas, where children can really be kids and enjoy themselves, and yet, the children are dressed as if they are out to a pub! And surely, such things like frequent hair straigtenning, and curling, might have other effects on the hair, even if we assume that the children’s psyche is not affected?

    • I agree IHM. I was rather irritated when I took along my daughter’s friend for a museum trip last week, and the girl came in strappy heeled little bitty stiff sandals. She developed massive shoe-bite and was unable to even walk, forget run with the other kids.

      Poor thing! That must have been such a torture for the little girl!

  4. I have similar thoughts when I see these kids on talent shows etc on TV..3-4 yr olds pushed into the world of television and fame and competition..I don’t see the point in it!

    Talent shows, the less said the better. I remember seeing a nine year old child making lewd, adult jokes and people applauding! I don’t understand how things of this sort is allowed on national television..

  5. You are right that mother is not just robbing her daughter her childhood but also she is sending a bad message out. Botox injected into a child’s face? Very bad idea.

  6. I was so angry when I read that post, so angry. I mean playing with makeup is one thing but behaving like 20 yr old is another and all 5 yr girls I meet these days unfortunately do 😦 before they were not allowed to play in the parks now they dont want to because they will get dirty 😦 sigh

    and 8 yr old botox I dont think I will ever do botox…. that mother needs to be whacked

  7. sigh. dont know whats with parents these days.
    u know traditionally in some parts of China and Japan mothers wax and thread really young girls so that by the time they grow up their bodies are hairless. also these very young girls are made to wear tight shoes so that their feet dont grow and big feet are considered ugly.

  8. Totally agree, Smitha. I hate this focus on looks, looks, looks. What about action?!!! I just had my umpteenth argument with daughter and told her to run, jump and play instead of standing around playing Princess and fairies. And I will never buy her clothing or footwear that restricts her movement.

  9. Agree with u totally…let the kids be kids instead of some self-obsessed model-to-be or whatever….
    I prefer the sandals, the sturdy shoes to high heels – I’ve never worn one till date nor my girls have tried it….if told properly abt the bad effects heels can have on our spine, the children will refrain from it…its upto us to keep telling them that health goes a long way than this beauty.

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