That certainly seems to be the not-so-subtle message, when a quick scan of the ether brings headlines of Abercrombie’s latest foray into the offensive — the padded push-up bikini top for girls… like, 7 year-old girls — and this little item:
A San Francisco mom admits to regularly injecting her eight year old daughter with mail-order Botox… the mom stated:
‘What I am doing for Britney now will help her become a star.
‘I know one day she will be a model, actress or singer, and having these treatments now will ensure she stays looking younger and baby-faced for longer…’
Her daughter replied:
‘My friends think it’s cool I have all the treatments and they want to be like me. I check every night for wrinkles, when I see some I want more injections. They used to hurt, but now I don’t cry that much. I also want a boob job and nose job soon, so that I can be a star.’
Well, I guess we know who that padded bikini top is being marketed to. But here’s the thing: while the Botox story sounds over-the-top outrageous, in a world where seven year old girls are being sold padded bikini tops, it’s not that over the top. The more we absorb the message that our bodies are something to do battle with–that can always be “improved,” well, the more this sort of freakshow story makes sense. And here’s the other thing: how many seven year-olds do you know who drive themselves to the mall, or have a credit card to plunk down for a pair of “Cute Butt” yoga pants? Why are moms willing to subject their daughters to this?
Worse than the message that your body is wrong, worse, even, than the sexualization of ever-younger girls is the message that underlies it: that you are nothing more than your body. That spending your time and energy forcing your body into what ‘society’ — or, less face it, the media — deems acceptable is more important than, well, anything else. And hey, after years spent buying into that and struggling to achieve the cultural physical ideal, I guess it’s no surprise that some moms think they’re giving their daughters a leg up when they’re buying them padded bikinis and injecting their foreheads with
poison Botox. But: doesn’t it seem that all of this distraction is a pretty effective way to dilute women’s energy? Who has time to fight for equal pay when there’s so much physical maintenance to be done?