Toddler Makeovers Might Land Your Kid in Therapy

Jacqueline Burt Cote

toddler tiaraHey there, moms! Looking to get a head start on indoctrinating your daughter to The Beauty Myth? Want her to learn the basics of how to measure her self-worth by her appearance before all the other gals in pre-school? Then book an appointment at a toddler makeover salon, ASAP! That's right, you don't have to be a Toddlers & Tiaras mama to make your daughter prematurely obsessed with her looks. Now there are so-called "princess parlors" where any little girl can go for the full spa experience: Hair, nails, makeup, fake tattoos ... a plethora of neuroses.

I bet you think I'm being unnecessarily harsh. I am. I bet you think I'm a die-hard anti-makeup type, the polar opposite of a girly girl, a mom who dressed my toddler daughter in earth tones and banned Barbie from the house. That's where you've got me wrong.

When my daughter was 2 and the Disney Princess phenomenon was reaching fever pitch, I let her dress up like Sleeping Beauty/Cinderella/Snow White whenever she felt like it. I started taking her for pedicures as soon as she was old enough to sit still for one, because that made it easier for me to get a pedicure. At 10 years old, her current favorite store is Sephora; when she asked me to streak her hair pink a few weeks back, I did. So what kind of a crazy hypocrite am I?

Well, I'd like to think I'm only a moderately crazy hypocrite, and this is why: I hate the message our society sends girls and women about looking perfect and measuring up and how to be the prettiest girl in the room and all of that. I also think dressing up and makeup are fun. Really fun. I have tattoos. I wear sparkly eyeshadow. How could I expect anything less from my daughter?

So when I make sweepingly outrageous statements about how screwed up toddler salons or princess parlors are, I'm swinging the pendulum way out there because I still think it's extremely important that we remind ourselves, and our daughters, on a daily basis that this whole beauty thing is what it is: Frivolous, a lark. A damn good time, maybe, but not the be all and end all of any woman's existence.

Now, I challenge you to look deep within and ask yourself if you don't harbor a similar set of contradictions. I'm not saying any of us should set out to reinvent the beauty wheel. I'm just saying let's admit the truth: We are beauty hypocrites and we are raising our daughters to be exactly the same.

Would you give your toddler a makeover?

Image via Jon Rawlinson/Flickr

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