Re: School & Cosmetics (was: Dissertation help)

Barbara J Tavares (
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 15:03:35 -1000

I have been employed in a 100% gender equity job for 11 years now, and
still find new ways on a regular basis in which emphasis is placed on
female appearnace over other attributes. I think what happens somewhere
in 6th or 7th grade is that girls start to catch on that that's where
praise and attention are going to come from. I agree that there are a
few that don't succumb, either because of terrific early years, or perhaps
because they are afraid to "compete" on that basis. (I think I fell into
that later group as I refused to bathe at that age.)

After raising two sons well into the teen years, I married someone who
brought daughters into the family, and am now witnessing this dynamic
first hand. Despite all my gender equity background, the youngest, who
has been with me since kindergarten, is now 13 and very mirror and make-up
centered. It's heartbreaking not to be able to stop it in my own home,
although I try not to make a big deal out of it.

My real question is about research, projects, or other organized effort to
describe/analyze this situation and possibly do something to limit the
harm it (in my mind) causes. I get WEEA materials and am on other similar
mailing lists, but have never seen anything that specifically addresses
girls' attention shift into appearance, while discontinueing anything that
might be perceived as uncool.

Barbara Tavares
Unversity of Hawaii

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