Thursday, February 28, 2008

Girly Girls: The Growing Trend of Marketing Makeup To Children

In today’s New York Times, the paper takes an interesting look at the growing phenomenon of pre-pubescent makeup use. Analysts say this is part of a trend called KGOY (kids getting older younger) – a trend which is only enabled by pushover parents.

Years ago, I was shocked when pre-teens started carrying Dooney & Bourke handbags and wearing 7 For All Mankind jeans. And don’t get me started on the sweatpants with “Juicy” splashed across the ass. I used to find fault with just the parents, but the article points out that retailers are also to blame.

“Today, cosmetic companies and retailers increasingly aim their sophisticated products and service packages squarely at 6- to 9-year-olds, who are being transformed into savvy beauty consumers before they’re out of elementary school.”

According to the article:

*In a study last year, 55 percent of 6- to 9-year-old girls said they used lip gloss or lipstick, and nearly two-thirds said they used nail polish, according to Experian, a market research company based in New York. In 2003, 49 percent of 6- to 9-year-old girls said they used lip gloss or lipstick.

*Sweet & Sassy, a salon and party destination based in Texas for girls 5 to 11, includes pink limo service as a party add-on, which starts at $150 a ride.

*At Club Libby Lu, a mall-based chain, girls of any age can mix their own lip gloss and live out their pop idol fantasies. Last year, the chain did about a million makeovers in its 90 stores nationwide.

*Dashing Diva franchises often offer virgin Cosmos in martini glasses along with their extra-virgin nail polish, free of a group of chemicals called phthalates, for a round of services for a birthday girl and her friends.

Virgin Cosmos?!?!?! Huh?

I don’t know about you, but I am sickened by this. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of Big Tobacco marketing to adolescents and teens, but it’s pretty damned close. And the parents who can’t say no just add fuel to the proverbial fire. I’m all for buying your pre-teen some Bonne Bell Lip Smackers (that’s what my mom did, and I turned out just fine)…but limos and faux cocktails? I think this trend will only lead to bad things – like girls begging for rhinoplasty and boob jobs to commemorate their sweet sixteen.

Photos courtesy of The New York Times.

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