Thursday, April 17, 2008

They've got our daughters

I discovered this in my room last year. Look at the beautiful adolescent girl on the left--she looks like Iris in another 7 years. Look how she has "improved" herself with the help of (a division of Mattel, the folks who brought us Barbie).
I asked her why she did this. She replied because it makes her look prettier. I was at a total loss for words.

The blogosphere is not at a loss for words about this book. I agree with some who believe that Newsweek ran the story just to drive traffic to their site. Hey, it worked. A friend emailed me the link and I read it, and now I am linking to it. But consider reading these more thoughtful responses instead:
Do follow the link at the end of Italie's article to American Society of Plastic Surgeons: The statistics speak for themselves. 347,524 breast augmentations were performed in the US in 2007, 10,505 on girls 13-19. (786,911 people were injected with Botox, 11,023 of them children 13-19.) What are we teaching our children?

As I have written before, the spread of breast implants follows the pattern of a socially communicable disease. We pick up our notions of "normal" from those around us, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Those are not adults auditioning for a role in a porn movie. These are mainstream Florida teenagers. The one on the left, Stephanie Kuleba, died after undergoing corrective surgery for a prior breast augmentation. She was 18.

Our eyes adjust. As our hair darkens with age, we think nothing of lightning it. Everyone else does it. Blonding is now a verb and I read in Vogue (years ago) that blonding was responsible for 85% of the revenue of NYC salons. Why didn't she stop there?

I wonder how her parents feel? We all make mistakes, but few are fatal. I share their Universal Sorrow.

Let's teach our daughters well.

Serenity now. Let's knit some lace.

Lace Ribbon Scarf from Spring 2008 Knitty out of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. Notice that the lace repeat is fewer than 20.


  1. This is sad on so many levels. Why is straight, blonde hair the beauty standard? I want to scream when makeover shows take curly hair and then blow it out and iron it. I can appreciate the desire for change, but Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez with blonde hair simply support the notion of "white is right" in terms of beauty and acceptability. That is tragic.

  2. Wow - really powerful post, thank you. That picture of those two girls is so upsetting on so many levels.

    Sigh. Okay - heading into 2nd graders classroom where I will feel much better. :)

  3. Reading about the new law proposed in France, and now your post, just about sums it up for me. Looks like two parallel cultures are running here. Growing up in Europe (Norway), small breasts were 'it'. In fact, small 'everything' was the ideal. Anorexic. Looking at the models, this trend seems to still reign. Arriving in Tinseltown in 1990, I had the shock of my life. Big breasts, big behinds, blinding teeth... It was distressing, to say the least. Still is, but the constant bombardment of images has had some effect. And both cultures are so wrong. I'm trying to teach my daughters to look at the clothes and the style, not the person's body. Personally I think 'style' is defined by someone who's completely comfortable on the inside and then manage to reflect this with what they wear on the outside. That, to me, is pure beauty. Thanks for another great post, Grace. You always make me think :-)

  4. I like changing my hair color and style at regular intervals and wouldn't care if my daughter wanted to do the same. Plus no one complained when Gwyneth Paltrow went brunette, so I don't see why Beyonce can't be blonde for a while.

    However, the ghost of Coco Chanel should grab that "after" girl and force her to remove at least one pink heart-shaped accessory before she leaves the house -- preferably the weird face tattoo.


Comments are open for recent posts, but require moderation for posts older than 14 days.