When I was fourteen, my mother made an appointment for me to get my hair highlighted. It was made abundantly clear to me, by my mom, many years prior to that appointment that I had bad hair. I grew up believing that and relished the day I could finally do something about it. Since that day, with the exception of going natural for a few years in my early twenties, I’ve never really seen what my real hair color is (No, I’m not a real redhead.) Truth be told, my natural hair color is a bit blah; it’s a muddy, lifeless brownish-blondish color that, in my opinion, needs to be dyed. However, I have to wonder why I think that way about it. Is it because my natural hair color really is ugly or because this is what I was told about my hair when I was a kid?
Watching this video about girls as young as one getting manicures and pre-teen girls getting bikini waxes I realize that, while it all can be in good fun, too much primping, preening and changing one’s look at such a young age can wreak havoc on a girl’s self esteem. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of a spa day, to me, is like a day spent in heaven. However, I’m an adult who has made peace with the elements that make up my physical body. A day at the spa is a day of decompression and relaxation, not because there is something wrong with me. But, what about young girls who spend countless hours at the salon and spa to change things that are natural about them? Is she old enough and mature enough to know how to accept them? Are we sending the wrong message?
Watching this video I was also reminded of my favorite quote by my friend and author of the book “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life”, Wendy Shanker who said: “Nobody ever made money telling you that you’re good enough just the way you are.”
Obviously, image is important. How we present ourselves outwardly is just as important as who we are on the inside, like it or not. However, there is a fine line to be considered. Are we altering our image to make up for something we lack or enhance something positive we believe about ourselves?
To me, young girls aren’t old enough to make that distinction. My biggest regret in life, now being in my very seasoned thirties, is that I didn’t like and appreciate myself more when I was younger. It’s not that I blame my mom for being so gung-ho to alter my looks as a teenager (or that she reminded me on many occasions the imperfections of my face to the point that I eventually got plastic surgery), it’s just that I realize I wasted a lot of time during my adolescent years wishing I was anything other than myself. As an adult I see that, hey, I’m pretty cool. Few children possess the objectivity like adults to make that distinction.
Sure, one could argue that taking a young girl to the spa or salon for hours upon hours of treatments is a totally innocuous thing. Why not let your tot splash around in the pedicure water, get cute little designs on her toes while her face is slathered in some mud mask concoction? Is that so damaging? Well, who’s to say? Don’t we get braces on our kids’ teeth the second they show signs of being crooked? Nobody seems to think that is shallow. I don’t think there is a black and white answer to that. However, I am left wondering, regardless, why a pre-pubescent girl needs a bikini wax.
Watch the video and tell me what your thoughts are on young girls spending countless hours at the spa and salon.