Spend your summer vacation at Beauty Boot Camp!

12 06 2009

Where are you going to send your daughter(s) to camp this summer?  How about Niagara College of Canada’s Beauty Boot Camp for Tweens:

Calling all pre-teen girls, ages nine through twelve. Come and have a blast of summer fun at our Beauty Boot Camp! Let’s make some facial masks, body scrubs, and glam up our fingers and toes. Let’s play with fashion, do our hair, and decorate a shirt or two. You’ll love creating and learning in our professional Esthetics Lab! Sign up early. Seats are going fast. See you soon!

All girls love to play with makeup!  So of course they’d have a fantastic time doing facials and body scrubs, and manis and pedis; playing with fashion; doing their hair; and decorating shirts.  OMG!!  Can’t wait!!

Or if your daughter is slightly older than that, consider their Beauty Boot Camp for Teens:

Calling all girls from thirteen through sixteen! Join us in our Esthetics Lab for a great learning experience and some amazing fun! You will learn how to do facials, makeup, nails, and up-dos to enhance your own natural beauty. Come on out and make some new friends while learning beauty fashion tips. Develop your own style, flair, and creativity! Enjoy learning how to give each other spa treatments and how to create your own beauty products. Don’t miss this experience! Register early as seats are limited.

“Enhance your own natural beauty”?  Pshht.  This camp sounds like it’d be reinforcing western standards of beauty and teaching girls that 1. they aren’t good enough as they are, 2. they need to prioritize their appearance because that is the most important thing about them, and 3. it is their responsibility as women to make sure that they are able to look good at all times.

What the camp descriptions neglect to tell you are that:

1. This camp experience will just (further) shame girls into gender conformity.

2. It feeds on perhaps already-existing insecurities that tween and teen girls have and will magnify them.  Learning about makeup, fashion, etc. is NOT empowering – it is NOT empowering to insinuate to girls and young women that their value is essentially based on the way they look and therefore they need to look good all the time.

3. It further bolsters the booming beauty industry which thrives by deceiving women and making them think that there are all these magical solutions to nonexistent problems about their appearance or their bodies.

As Renee writes on Womanist Musings:

If we are going to take the time to create classes by gender, how about one where both boys and girls learn affirming messages?  How about a class where they learn that it is okay to subvert gender norms if that is what makes them happy and comfortable?  A radical thought I know, a class that teaches children to think while at the same time affirming that the constructions which we  create are certainly not relevant or helpful for everyone.



One response

12 06 2009

As a psychologist, it is absolutely frustrating to learn that ‘camps’ like this exist. The messages in consumer culture position women as nothing more than cookie cutter dolls to be looked at by others. Such camps only serve to promote the belief that women are to be dissatisfied with their appearance and thus consumed in consumption of body management products and services. This dissatisfaction/consumption is the life blood of the beauty industry–a breeding ground of pathology.

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