Diapers and Dragons

Monday, May 18, 2009

Putting On The Glitz

Been wondering where to go for that birthday party your little munchkin has looming on the horizon? Want something that offers a full range of services including cake, beverages, kid-friendly location, and entertainment? Trying to raise a child who believes that either the Disney princess or the youthful Paris Hilton look is the greatest aspiration a little girl can have?

Then why not try your local kids' hair salon?

Yes, indeed! What better place to entertain a group of estrogen-laced little kidlettes than a salon that will tart them up in hairspray and butterfly barrettes, cheap glam outfits, glittery makeup, and plastic high heels? And then have them parade down their very own grabbed-from-the-remnant-rack red carpet to the applause and camera flashes of their mamarazzi? Or will let them learn their very own makeup- and mousse-application techniques on a creepy head-on-two-legs doll that they can take home for their future style rehearsals?

That's Snip-Its, "The Most Amazing Kid's Haircut Franchise" known to--um, me! You can choose from the Glamour Party, specially crafted for those pageant mom wannabees; the Hollywood Party, where your little darlings can prepare to be the future Paris Hiltons of Hollywood "celebrity"; or the Style-A-Doll Party, where the dolly creep factor is unbound!

Come--join in the effort to brainwash an entire generation of girls into thinking anything that glitters is, in fact, gold!

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When we were looking for a new place to get the boyo's hair cut, now that our beloved Carnival Cuts is defunct, ComputerDaddy spotted Snip-Its near his workplace. Desperate to keep the kidlets from turning into woolly mammoths before our very eyes, we decided to give it a try. (I should note that our previous attempts at home haircuts have been, shall we say, disastrous? I'd rather not have our children be mocked and stoned on the playground, thank you very much.) We checked it out online first, and I was rather surprised to see that they offered birthday events. I don't see how that's possible, opined ComputerDaddy. It's such a little place, tucked between Trader Joe's and another store, that must just be something that happens at other locations.

Despite my inner ick at what I had seen online, I was desperate enough to give the place a whirl. I mean, it's just a kid's salon, right?

Ha. We walked in just in time to witness the grand finale of what I THINK was a Glamour Party. Since they weren't slutted out a la Paris, as the website had shown in their *ahem* "adorable" photos.


Hey, biotches! aren't I HAWT? See ya on Surreal Life!

A gaggle of six six-or-seven-year-old girls in multiple layers of garish clothing, wilting fairy wings, glittery wands, plastic high heels in various shades of pink and purple, and glitter plastered all over their faces and hair was milling about uncertainly at one end of a cheap red runner. A store employee was explaining to them what they were supposed to do. A handful of parents gathered, cameras in hand, at the other end of the carpet. One by one the girls stomped down the runner and stood for a few seconds, then turned and lumbered back. A couple smiled brightly for the camera, one of whom I believe was the birthday girl. A couple looked confused. A couple looked downright sullen and embarrassed. The parents oohed and aahed and marvelled over what a brilliant idea this was. And for only $175?!?! Why couldn't they do something like this for adult birthday parties?!?!

(They do, chickas. They're called Spa Days. Not as cheap, though, and more likely to involve chocolate and mimosas. Much more satisfying, though, in my humble opinion. Unless you'd like karaoke, for that potential public humiliation factor.)

I struggled to keep the sneer off my face, peoples. I mean, girliness is great, and we all know I'm a shoe addict, and I enjoy earrings and makeup and dressing up and all, but in this day of rampant obsession over all things Barbie and Bratz Dolls and Miley Cirus and Britney Spears and Paris Hilton (I'm aiming for some major search-term pop ups here), it seems to me that we're sending a strong message to our little girls about what's important and just what it means to be a Girl these days. It's one thing to enjoy femininity--I'm not saying I don't ooh and aah over precious little dresses with ribbons and bows, or cute pigtails--but it's another entirely to take it to such a glitzy extreme. And then put it on such a display. I think the red carpet strut may have put the whole thing over the top for me, horror-wise.

People can talk all they want about Disney heroines and modern female celebrities being strong, independent women who choose their own paths, but the reality is that Jasmine and Pocahontas and all those chicks are NOT realistic representations of the female body or lifestyle, any more than Barbie or Bratz Dolls. Every time we see young female stars in the news, there's some emphasis (often exclusive) on what they are--or are not--wearing, how many extra ounces of fat they seem to have accumulated, and who they are dating/marrying/divorcing/sleeping with. How many of those celebrities went or are going to college? And if so, how many articles are covering that?

Being the parent of boys is not magically easy, and I believe I will be facing my own set of social issues--not least of which is the horrific Boys Will Be Boys fallacy and a massive double standard regarding male behavior. But right now, having witnessed that birthday party yesterday, I'm grateful I don't have a little girl to raise. I wouldn't be the one giving such a party (bring on Chuck E. Cheese or a day in the park!), but what would I say to my daughter if she was invited to such a thing?

Maybe I'm getting too heated up over a birthday party in a hair salon. And maybe I'm not getting heated up enough. What do you think?

6 bits of love:

Beth said...

ITA that it's very creepy...but it makes a great blog post!

Anonymous said...

Awful. That's all I can say. Where's the back yard soccer game?
- SoccerSister

Kathleen said...

I'm with you...just did the big Mouse today for youngest son's b'day, and that's where I draw the line. Spending an obscene money on nasty pizza let alone the other half of obscene on tokens for games to earn tickets to buy junk is near over the top, but at least they're getting a chance to just "play" on the playground, etc. No red carpet parades, thank you very much!

Aludra said...

These things are always the parents' ideas. Ask a girl what she wants to do for her birthday and if you get more than "Eat cake" or "open presents" out of her, you're using interrogation techniques.

Heidi said...

Personally I'd rather treat a little girl to a tea party, where she (and her friends) could dress up in their own favorite clothes than go with a more tarted-up version.

But when all is said and done, if I had a girl and she were BEGGING for something like that, I think it's somewhat harmless fun - I'd just prefer NOT to have the runway red-carpet and just the fun makeover.

Kathleen said...

Tag...you're it! http://treasuredchapters.blogspot.com/2009/05/crazy-eights.html

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