I have always wondered why mothers are always in a rush to turn babies into ladies.
Last weekend, I was moving through BBS Mall fleemarkert doing some shopping. I heard a piercing scream that made almost everyone turn to track the source.
And there the source of the scream was. A few meters ahead was a little girl, who couldn’t have been anymore than a year old, crying in obvious pain as her soft fleshy earlobes were being mercilessly pierced with a pair of gold studs, fired from a piercing gun.
I don’t know why mothers inflict such pain on their daughters in a bid to conform to society’s unbending standard of beauty.
What pained me more was that the mother paid no heed to the child’s cries and did not bother to comfort her. The mother simply turned her daughter’s head, offering the woman with the piercing gun the child’s other ear.
Immediately, another shot went through the little girl’s earlobe, as another little sharp scream pierced the silence.
With a big grin on her face, as if she had accomplished something great, the girl’s mother paid the fee for the service rendered.
As one who had been disturbed by the pain the little girl had undergone, I thought it right to stop her and ask a simple question.
“Why are you causing such unnecessary pain on such a little child for the sake of an earring?”
Feeling justified of her actions, she replied, saying, “Because it’s better to get it over and done with now so that she can wear earrings and look pretty tomorrow.” At that point, I noticed on the little girl’s ears a pair of golden chandeliers, adorned with multi-coloured gems and tiny droplets of blood. “She has to look fabulous with earrings like these and look pretty like me.”
I strongly believe this agony is unnecessary for children. Body piercings and tattoos at so young an age and only for cosmetic purposes are nothing but the mother’s view of what beauty means. What standards of beauty should girls be made to aspire to. As we can see, mothers begin to limit space for the child to have her own understanding of the concept.
If you go to Riverwalk or any other mall in town you will meet these small girls no older than ten walking ploddingly adorned in mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and lipstick, not in that childish kind of way, but in a manner that deliberately provokes sensuality; something that is just not for their age. You will notice too that those children do not want to be considered kids.
I have seen this form of abuse by mothers even at hair salons where I sat next to a four-year-old girl who was having Beautiful Beginnings mulched into her scalp. Next to her, a small girl, barely five years old, was having a weave being hand crafted onto her head .
Because children’s skin is tender, the baby was crying that her head was burning. The mother kept on telling her how beautiful she looks and that she’ll buy her ice cream if she kept quiet.
Children might, undoubtedly ask for such things at times but it is up to us as mothers to control them and protect them from such disgusting practices, which, in the end, attract pedophiles.
Yes, parents do say they don’t have control over their children these days, that they are headstrong and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. But let’s think about the long term effects of what we are doing, of how in the long run this persistent pursuit of beauty only helps to cultivate the feelings of insufficiency and un-prettiness that visit and reside within so many girls and young women when they start to believe they can never reach the ultimate standard. As mothers, we should not rush to turn babies into ladies; we should not cut short their youth as youth is a learning period.
Let children be children; they are not ladies.