Makeover parties for 8-year-olds?

Filed under: Opinions

makeup brushA few years ago, when she was about six years old, Ellie was invited to a makeover party at a local salon. The salon catered to children and was outfitted with a special party room where girls could get manicures, pedicures, hairstyling and makeup sessions. The special makeover room was decorated in frills, feathers, sequins and lace and the girls just loved it. Ellie came home from the party with her hair styled into an up-do and sparkly makeup on her face.

At the time, I didn't see anything wrong with a six-year-old getting dolled up as a party activity - and I still don't. But Ulrika Jonsson, a columnist for the UK's Daily Mail, sure does. She sees these types of parties as just another way to sexualize little girls and says she would sooner cut her left arm off than allow her 8-year-old daughter to attend one.

Her concerns are rooted in what she perceives to be the premature sexualization of young girls. She draws parallels to skimpy thong underwear for five-year-olds, underweight celebrities and those mothers who are obsessed with their own appearance. While I agree and share her concerns about society's tendency to mold little girls into sex objects, I don't see the makeover party as part of the problem.

To me, a fancy hair-do and sparkly makeup applied at a party is nothing more than playing dress-up in a group setting. And haven't little girls been doing this for as long as there have been little girls? I did it, my mother did it, and I would be willing to bet that my mother's mother did it, too. Does the fact that it happens in a commercial venue change the basics of what it is? Am I missing something here?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.