I’ve got two teenage stepdaughters who are breathtakingly gorgeous, and a sweet 6-year-old daughter who looks up to them in every way possible. The clothes they wear, the makeup they dab on, the way they straighten their hair or leave it curly and wild — she makes mental notes about all of it, and those notes come together in her little head like pieces of a gigantic puzzle. The “this is what you are supposed to do when you are big” puzzle. The “this is what is appropriate” puzzle. Whether the big kids like it or not (and there have been times when they don’t), they are their little siblings’ role models.
It’s probably why pop-culture stuff like this throws me for a loop. I mean, seriously. I know that Jersey Shore is a guilty pleasure for a lot of people. But to let your 11-year-old be made over in Snooki’s image? By Snooki herself?
W. T. F. ?
“I’ve always said, you’re never too young to look bangin’,” says Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi as she prepares to give squeaky clean 11-year-old Jessica a makeover.
Um…. yes. Yes, you are. Eleven is way too young to “look bangin’.”
Snooki slathers bronzer and eye shadow on the pre-teen before ratting her hair and enveloping her in a cloud of hairspray as part of the “Snookification.” Snooki sprays her own hair for good measure, natch, then dresses the girl in an animal-print tank top “for the perfect Snooki look.” She introduces her to the camera as her as “Mini-Snooki” and they pose together, guidette-style.
Who thought this was a good idea?
While I’m not a huge fan of the slut-it-up Halloween costume trend starting earlier and earlier, at least there’s a reason behind it. These kids may look outlandish and ridiculous, but they’re not on MTV (though now they are all over the internet, and that’s an issue unto itself). But 11-year-olds aren’t known for their ability to separate reality and fantasy very well — remember the infamous Jessi Slaughter videos? — and the cast members of Jersey Shore are questionable role models. This isn’t an example of a kid trying to emulate Miley Cyrus and her transformation from sweet Disney star to hyper-sexualized pop tart; this is a case where adults are dressing an 11-year-old up as a hard-partying, hot-tub hopping man-chaser for their own entertainment.
I really don’t think we need to be encouraging preteens to be like Snooki. It’s one thing to have scores of young adults inspiring to reality television fame, but 11-year-olds? They don’t need to “look bangin’.” They need to look — and act — like 11-year-olds.
When my 6-year-old was about 3, she started pretending that she was too busy to go to bed, a working mom in training. I was worried about that, at the time, but I’m definitely not anymore. I’m much rather she imitated me on my laptop — or her sisters and their choices — than want to dress up as anyone from Jersey Shore.
Who do your kids look up to?