All over the newspapers today has been this story, about a beautician mother who spray-tans her four-year-old girl in order to 'give her confidence'. Often found near to this story is that of a little girl who had a red blemish removed from her nose so now she can lead a normal life; pictures of this girl show her with pierced ears and painted nails. She's three.
Naturally the mainstream tabloids were concerned about how glamourising young girls like this made them a ready target for paedophiles, without glossing over the primary issue here - why on Earth is a girl as young as three being taught to associate cosmetics with confidence, and a certain manner of appearance with what's socially acceptable, desirable, and the only way to be?
It continues to disgust me, this lack of diversity in the world. Or rather, the lack of tolerance for the alternatives. Children should be allowed to be children, and people to be people. I'll defend a woman's right to raise their child however they want, because God knows I couldn't do it. But this is the one that gets me - if a mother has found confidence through cosmetics and nothing else, should she teach her daughter the same method, in order to avoid her having to experience the crippling awkwardness of being a less-than-confident child? Should she protect her from youth make-up products, easy-to-apply fake tan and magazines like Cosmo, or let her form her own judgement after stumbling through the youthful minefield herself?
My mother never taught me how to put on make-up, epilate or wax, or how to dress for my shape and chose the right colours. I had to figure it all out myself. And I think that's what's the making of young people. The one person you don't want to learn from is the one person who could tell you everything, if you wanted to know. A personal project I'm working on intermittently at present touches on this. I don't think it's the business of a mother to force anything on a child, but I do think it's in a mother's interest to equip a child with every possible weapon against the things that will bring them down. As well as a bulging make-up bag and a natural affinity with Sun-In, the uprising against vile modern culture should begin in the home. Soon.