against spas or a bit of pampering, even though that kind of thing isn’t for me. What I have against the spa market actively targeting the under-teen crowd is the idea that kids need fun to be DONE to them, not that they can MAKE their own fun. As Julie Turkewitz reports in The New York Times:
It was a day out at the spa for Paige Ehresman and her closest friends. Manicures. Hairdos. Makeup. And some gossip — about second grade.
The spa industry has begun to target children in a big way, going way beyond mother-daughter manicures. Adult spas are adding separate menus of services for girls, usually ages 4 to 14. In most major cities, there are now dedicated day spas for children, offering a range of massages, facials and other treatments for girls (and sometimes boys) too young to have had their first pimple.
“I feel like the best princess in the world,” said Paige, who celebrated her seventh birthday at Sweet and Sassy, a national chain of spas that boasts that its cosmetologists are specially trained to work with children. After the beauty treatments, Paige and her guests walked down a red carpet and disappeared into a hot pink limousine, which took the squealing children on a spin around the parking lot. One 6-year-old guest documented the revelry in a series of selfies.
Ok, the writer knows most of her readers will probably be appalled. What’s most appalling to me, for some reason, is that the spas are “suggesting oil rubs for heels worn rough by barefoot play…”
WHAT barefoot play? It just feels as if the “play” part of kids’ lives is being replaced by the “getting” part. Not that most kids are going to spas. But there is something twisted about a society that pretends that kids are out there, Huck-like, playing so much that they need some R&R.
R&R for kids IS playing!
At the party here in Aurora last month, Paige’s mother, Kari Ehresman, 33, said she was thrilled to be able to treat the girls to a day of playful pampering.
“They do deserve something special,” said Ms. Ehresman.
Yes they do — free time, with their friends. They can always play “spa” if that’s what they really want. – L.