Attack Of The ‘Stepford Teenagers’ – Young Girls Are All Rockin’ Chanel Lipgloss And Brazilian Waxes
What were you like as a teenager? I was all gawky homemade hairdye Halloween hair and thrift shop combat boots, a DIY nose ring and mildew-smelling fur collars that belonged to dead socialites. The majority of my teenage years I prided myself on being DIFFERENT, I was Nick Cave albums and too much black coffee and always reeking of Juicy Fruit, my jaw overworked from gum-smacking and reciting bad poetry I scribbled in dollar bin notebooks. I was very not cool, but I felt that was what made me cool, being not cool. Looking at the teenage females of today, I am pretty sure they all would throw things at the me of yesterday. And I may not be wrong, because according to the The Times UK, the teen girls of today are doing everything they can to look as similar, and as Facebook photo ready, as possible:
Yet todayâ€™s teenagers are denied wild experimentation. They are all principally aimed at the same look: a kind of bland, flawless feminine perfection. Look at any girlsâ€™ school photo, any Facebook album, and the homogeneity is astounding. Long hair, big eyes, groomed brows. They look like a tribe of Stepford Wifelets. Growing up in the Eighties, we could choose from all kinds of hairstyles â€“ Purdey bob, bubble perm, punk crop, Dynasty power back-comb â€“ but now almost every girl you see has the exact same hair: long and ironed poker-straight. This is beyond a fashion: it is a template.
Meanwhile, girls are piling on more slap and from an ever younger age. The worldâ€™s most famous make-up artist Bobbi Brown remarked recently, â€œI used to reserve black eyeliner and a little bit of a smoky eye for 18-year-olds, but there are plenty of 15 and 16-year-old girls that wear it now,â€ she says.
This summer Chanel is offering teen makeovers at its Covent Garden boutique. For Â£25, girls aged from 16-23 can learn red carpet how-tos, celebrity tips and tricks and get an exclusive Chanel goody bag with the latest shades for summer.
A Mintel report showed that in the decade up to 2010, spending on make-up among girls increased by 90 per cent. â€œTeenage beauty standards are constantly shifting into more adult territory,â€ it concluded, â€œas girls want to be seen to be more mature at a younger age.â€
Are you as depressed as I am yet? Then read on because the author of this article interviews a group of girls who discuss taking an upcoming holiday with their friends, and how they need to prepare:
The girls tell me about a forthcoming holiday: 40 of their mates, both sexes, are going to a villa complex in Spain. Their preparations are a frenzy of depilation. â€œI donâ€™t normally have a Brazilian,â€ says one. â€œBut Iâ€™m imagining if someone pulled my bikini bottoms down in the pool, what they might see.â€ The shame of being seen to have pubic hair might taint the whole trip: â€œThe boys expect you to be waxed.â€
Yes, girls who just recently got pubic hair are removing their pubic hair, all in the name of beauty. I don’t have a teenage daughter yet, but if mine came to me at age 16 and asked me to take her for a Brazilian I would be horrified. It’s bad enough these girls are all straightening their hair and getting makeovers at the Chanel counter, but waxing off their body hair is pretty appalling at such a young age.
We discuss why they wear make-up. They say, â€œI feel gross without itâ€; â€œIt is like armour against the dayâ€; â€œI feel more polished.â€ They all agree it gives them confidence. And then one recalls a boy who, seeing a Facebook picture of her bare-faced, remarked, â€œAll girls look ugly without make-up.â€ Are they fearful of what boys think? â€œOnly the horrible, judgmental ones,â€ says Bella.
Anna recalls cutting her hair short. I remember seeing her with this style: a bold, chic AmÃ©lie crop. â€œBoys kept saying I looked like a lesbian,â€ she says. â€œI grew it back as quickly as I could.â€ Phoebe adds that recently, when she dyed her long straight hair dark-brown, a boy remarked approvingly, â€œYou look just like a porn star.â€ All the boys watch porn, they say, shrugging. It makes the girls very uneasy, but they accept the images and fantasies it contains are the mood music of their growing up.
This entire article is pretty much my greatest concern about raising a daughter. How can I raise her to be strong and confident and independent without feeling like she has to conform to what the media portrays as “beautiful” and what her peer group sees as beautiful? Â It’s the gazillion dollar question. We can teach our daughters to be empathetic and care about the world around them, to know that what’s on the inside is what’s important, to focus on their minds and intellect and heart. And I believe I do this with my own daughter, and yet still at age eight she begs me to straighten her wild, curly hair so she looks like her friends.
(Photo: the Doll cafe)