sassysage's Blog

Diva is the female version of a hustler…

Posted on: April 3, 2009

Apparently Beyonce is not the only one that’s giving props to Diva’s…

This week’s Newsweek has an article about how our cultural obsession with beauty is affecting teen and tween girls.   

The article states that market research firm, Experian, found that 43% of 6 to 9 year olds are using lipstick or lipgloss!    They describe that girls are using beauty products at an alarmingly early age and spending a lot of time and money on fixing their appearance; including getting plastic surgery.   They ponder what this emphasis on beauty and perfection is doing to our girls’ identity and self esteem.   From my experience working with teen girls through THE MIND MAKEOVERsm workshop, it’s clear that this is a major issue.   Girls often feel awkward about the way they look and are struggling to catch up with their changing bodies. And what do we do as a Society to support them?   Not much… 

 The Newsweek article states that “girls 11 to 14 are subjected to some 500 advertisements a day.”  It’s a media warfare on our girls’ psyche you say…

Well, it’s not just the bombardment of images that girls see in the media.   Everyday people like you and I can contribute the problem. When was the last time you saw a girl and commented on how ‘pretty’ she was.    Hearing Aunt Fanny rave again about your gorgeous hair, get’s a girl to thinking this image thing must be really important. Maybe more important than other things; like brains, creativity or personality…

But is this a new phenom or just old folks looking down on the next generation?  After all I am out of town and staring at my suitcase which is half full with beauty and hair products.    Did my ‘obsession’ with beauty just start with womanhood or was I groomed into being a Diva since birth?

Whether this is a frightening trend or the same storyline we’ve had through the ages, we’ve got to talk about it.  Is our worship of Divas good or bad for our girls? 

Let me know what you think…

 

 

 

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5 Responses to "Diva is the female version of a hustler…"

as long as we teach girls about the whole package (brains, charisma, & looks). i don’t see what’s wrong with glammin it up!

It’s interesting, to me, how divas are now being compared to hustlers. I always thought of a hustler as a cheater or a manipulative person who is only concerned with his/her own gain. But a diva on the other hand, I always saw as a fabulous looking female who can just have a bad attitude at times. hmmm… I’m learning.

As far as our divas becoming younger, I do see it. I think it takes away from young people enjoying their childhood. You know…the season when the only care they use to have was playing with puzzles or arts and crafts. I think it’s unfortunate, because with this praise of divas comes a pressure on young people to look a little older and take on responsibilities that a young person may not totally be prepared for.

I do agree it is a media warfare on girls’ psyche. It’s this non verbal pressure that is blatantly telling girls they have to look like this. And the attention that is being put on their appearance can be put into strengthening their talents, intellect and other things that will last far longer than a bottle of lipgloss.

You bring up a good point… about how often we comment on “how pretty” little girls are…. I’m constantly aware of not falling into this practice….. i recently met a cousin’s 9 year old daughter (who is striking). They live in Cali, and constantly being stopped and asked if she’s a child model. The mom is now struggling with the daughter because she no longer wants to do her schoolwork or play… she wants to spend all her free time in front of the mirror, fixing her hair and playing with makeup…. She’s a nine year old Diva, and while she may be confidently narcissistic now, as she grows into puberty, her insecurities will begin to undermine that confidence….

I’m proud that Michelle Obama has beeen campaigning to young girls, about their inner strength and beauty…. but it needs to start from the day that young girl can walk, and know knows how to say “I” or “me”…… my mother had spent my childhood telling me how smart i was (inspite of being dyslexic and unable to read the alphabet till age 8…. it wasn’t about mocking a young girl, but reinforcing confidence and shaping an identity of who she could really be, and ultimately is….)

greetings soror! So glad you’re doing this. I have shared with a few friends who i know will find this interesting.

i think there are few issues:

(1) as you and others have stated, lack of balance in the focus on beauty versus other things;

(2) not only do we focus too much on beauty, many of us are still guilty of only focusing on one type of beauty, which further invalidates and creates esteem issues for girls of color, girls with weight issues, etc. without necessarily providing solutions for them; and

(3) we may be using this as a vehicle to continue to enforce old gender norms that confuse new generations.

I must say I am guilty of telling my own daughters and nieces how pretty they are. I make the statement because I thought it would be a confidence booster for them. It’s frightening to think this statement might affect their self esteem and identity. On another note, I was recently on a road trip with my ten year daughter and niece and a song was playing on the radio and I was enjoying the beat until I heard them singing “tonight your’re on the top and I’m on the bottom” and they were cluelessly singing the words to this very popular song. Sounding very nervous, I said what do you mean by that and their response was it’s just a song. I too, cluelessly sang songs as a youngster and realized at a later age what those words meant. The messages flowing from this song and others like this as well as media images are sexualizing our daughters at such an early age. They were singing the song but clearly do not have the emotional maturity to deal with this subject matter….

Thanks for doing this.

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