Do 12-Year-Old Girls Ever Need To Be "Fabulous"?

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Babble's Ada Calhoun is appalled by a new tween book called The Girls’ Book of Glamour: A Guide to Being a Goddess. "The jacket flap copy on the girls’ book. Be confidant. Be glamorous…


Be gorgeous . . . Be the goddess you were born to be!” The book has been marketed alongside a book for male tweens, called The Boys’ Book of Survival: How to Survive Anything, Anywhere. Calhoun says:

Girls are instructed to “accessorize fabulously.” Boys are taught to “survive an avalanche.” Girls are told how to “give yourself a mini-facial.” Boys are given instructions for making a dugout canoe. The major theme in the boy book: Be ready for anything! You’re a leader! (“How to Be a Good Leader,” p. 12) The girls’ theme: Be pretty! Also, friendly! (“How to Have the Best Manners,” p.81) And “jazz up” that “boring ponytail.”

As evidenced by Danica McKellar, girls aged 10-15 are very concerned with being attractive. There's no way around that. But McKellar is also spreading the message that being smart is more important. Naomi Bates, a YA Blogger and Librarian, is not as upset by The Girls Book of Glamour. In fact, Bates wrote in August:

My 12 year old daughter, Maddy, sadly to say, isn't a big reader. It takes a certain book to really hook her and I haven't seen this happen since she read Number the Stars a couple of months ago. Anyway, I got in this ARC and it has been sitting in my pile o'reading when she picked it up. A few minutes later, she comes rushing into the living room asking, "Mom, can I keep this book?" I believe this reaction will happen to MANY girls who pick this book up. Why? Simply, because there aren't a whole of books about the subject of girls and the girly things they are interested in. Want to know how to shiniest hair ever? How about having the prettiest summer feet? And let's not forget about the how to deal with zits! It's not about being a model - it's about being the prettiest girl you can possibly be.

I remember being that age, and yeah, I probably did want to know how to be the prettiest I could be. However, I would rather die than buy this sort of book for any of my future potential offspring. How do you handle the reality of the tween girl while still trying to convince her that her brain is more important than the shiny, shiny tresses on top of it?

Et Tu, Scholastic? [Babble]
The Girls' Book Of Glamour: A Guide To Being A Goddess [YA Books & More]



You know what's tough? You have to just let your kids explore stuff and not over-react to anything. Kids go through phases and grow in and out of things really quickly - my nieces were obsessed with princesses, much to my sister's horror, until they turned 6, and then got over it overnight. Now, they're obsessed with anything gross, the grosser, the better. It's like boys playing with dolls - some dads freak out, but the smart ones understand it's just part of exploring your world. The more you over-react, the more exciting the thing becomes to the kid. You have to try not to read your own socio-political issues into everything a kid does - sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.