MUSINGS- Should “Germany’s Next Topmodel” replace “Pippi Langstrumpf”?

”Tina! How do you look like, again??!” , my mum always asked me when I came home from playing outside with my friends. Black dirt allover my face, knee scratched, trousers damaged. But with a great sparkle in my eyes and a big smile in my face I would say: ” Why? I was just playing hide and seek with my friends, mummy!” Lovely and happy childhood where scratched knees and having to wash the dirt off my face again were the biggest problems. Or when I missed my favourite series ”Pippi Langstrumpf”.

Nowadays, it seems to me as if ”Germany’s next Topmodel” by Heidi Klum was the new ”Pippi Langstrumpf“: A few days ago, I heard from a friend of mine that his 8-year-old sister meets with all of her friends on Thursdays to watch ”Germany’s Next Topmodel“ show. At first, I was just a little bit wondering: ”Why do young children do not watch series about friendship and adventures just like I did?“ My friend told me:”Well, sometimes they do, but they definitely prefer watching topmodels and the days after the show they do make up and try to walk on their own catwalk.“ What? 8-year-olds doing make up? Walking the catwalk?- I was shocked!  In which world are we living in?!

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In a world which is totally obsessed with beauty and being beautiful.

Also Wikipedia states:

”During the 20th century, the popularity of cosmetics increased rapidly.Cosmetics are increasingly used by girls at a young age, especially in the United States. Due to the fast-decreasing age of make-up users, many companies, from high-street brands like Rimmel to higher-end products like Estee Lauder, have catered to this expanding market by introducing more flavored lipsticks and glosses, cosmetics packaged in glittery, sparkly packaging and marketing and advertising using young models.The social consequences of younger and younger beautification has had much attention in the media over the last few years.”

Media and cosmetics industry infect us with the belief that we have to be beautiful. Beautiful for success. Beautiful to be loved. Nobody points this out exactly, but come on: That is the message cosmetic industry conveys to us! And we act according to this message: Especially we women –however, also more and more men- define ourselves by our outward appearance. We spend a lot of money and buy tons of beauty products. And the trend is that sales in the cosmetics industry is constantly increasing. According to Cosmetics and Toiletries USA 2010, a survey by the market research firm Kline, the economic downturn could not stop this development: Even if we have to save money, we are no loger willing to give up beauty products. Despite the crisis, cosmetics industry had a 2.4% growth in 2010, reaching $36.5billion! …Successful business. Great business model: Implementing wrong values and beauty ideals. And the reward for that is generating enormous profits.

Back to children again: A great part of children’s learning process is imitating their parents. So why are we still wondering? We live out our wrong beliefs that beauty is one of the main features of your personality, so it is definitely no miracle that also children start to reduce themselves to their look. Particularly, when we create special make up for children with fruity flavors, give them flawless-looking barbies to play with and let them watch modeling shows, we nearly FORCE them to take over this beauty ideal!

Recently, I saw on TV that there are even beautycontests for children in the US! It is called ”child beauty pageant” and children are dressed like models and have to walk the catwalk. Every weekend, their mummies take them to different shows and during the week they practice with their children. For their mothers it is like a hobbie, like a sport.But what about their children?

Well, most of them claim that they like these shows and that it is fun for them.

When even the little ones prefer putting on some make up and acting as supermodels rather than playing outside, something definitely has to be wrong.

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