"Girls Who Dress Like Women And Women Who Act Like Girls"

My mom pointed me to a WaPo article titled “Glamour Babes” about what goes on at little girls’ birthday parties at Libby Lu stores. Lest you think this is only a DC phenomenon, I would remind Indy readers that we have a Libby Lu at Castleton Square.

The article describes how the store takes the fun universal girlhood pastime of playing dress-up, and twists it in a sick way that somehow passes for normal in our culture today. The little girls (mostly aged 4-8 at the party the Post profiled) are dressed up in hoochie-mama outfits like spangled tube tops that show their bellies and low cut pants that show their underwear, then made up with glitter and tiaras and taught how to “shimmy down” and “shake their booties” so that admiring parents and passers-by can take their pictures. Shoppers who aren’t taking part in parties can buy these items or other merchandise like t-shirts with such wholesome messages as “My {heart} Belongs To Shopping.”

At one point in the article, the author attributes the Libby Lu appeal to a culture of “cheap celebrity” made up of “girls who dress like women and women who act like girls.” I think there is something to that. Our culture does seem to foster ideals that have little girls growing up way too fast, while their mothers desperately grasp to keep looking 25. Or 21. Or 18. Or 16. If you think about it, it’s pretty twisted.

What are we teaching our daughters about womanhood, or about what makes a woman beautiful and/or successful in life? I’m thinking most of the girls described in the article are not learning about inner beauty and wisdom, nor are they being taught to aspire to be mommies or ballerinas or teachers or doctors when they grow up. I would argue that most of the time dress up and playing in Mommy’s makeup is good clean fun, but you have to think about what children are being taught even in play. Personally, I don’t want my daughter to look up to the likes of Paris Hilton or Brittney Spears. I don’t want her to think that following cultural norms of sexiness will make her beautiful. I don’t want her to define success in terms of “bling” and material things. I will love to encourage Hannah to be girly and feminine and play with pink and purple dollies to her heart’s content, but I will also encourage her to be a LITTLE girl long past her 4th birthday, and to value and cultivate a strong character and inner beauty that will last her a lifetime.

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~Proverbs 31:30

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