Thursday, 9 June 2011

My child, my choice?

"Sarah Burge has boasted how she gave a voucher for the procedure to her daughter, Poppy, to use when she is 16.
The 50-year-old, whose comments come in the week ministers vowed to crack down on the sexualisation of children, said her girl ‘squealed with delight’ when given the £6,000 gift.
Poppy said: ‘I wanted a new computer, a holiday and a voucher for surgery. When I got it all, it was a dream come true. I can’t wait to be like mummy with big boobs.’
Her mother, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, has spent more than £500,000 on her own surgery so she looks like Barbie.
She hit the headlines last year when she revealed she was giving Poppy pole-dancing lessons."

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Needless to say, the £6,000 would have been better placed in a bond for Poppy to do with as she saw fit when she herself becomes an adult. However the issue here is not the money spent but the gifts on which the mother saw fit to spend it.

Sarah is well within her rights to spend her money on her daughter what parent wouldn't wish to indulge their child on their birthday, but by giving Poppy this gift, in my opinion she undermines her love for her daughter. She has sent a clear message to her 7 year old, not that she should be proud of who she is and how she has been created, but rather she should be confident in her mother's ability to provide the money to fund any alterations.

I truly feel sad for Sarah and young Poppy, they can't possibly understand the words of Psalm 139 verse 14:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
Earlier in the week, I got involved in the Radio 2 debate via Twitter on the sexualisation of children by clothing retailers. I made a naive and foolish comment.

"The best way to stop this is for parents to take control - Don't buy the clothes! "

Foolish and naive I realise because, for some parents, these clothes are exactly what they wish to buy! If they are available there will be a market for them, just as a voucher for a boob job can be bought for a 7 year old girl.

Suddenly I feel very old.

I was completely out of the loop regarding sex education until at least senior school, I wouldn't have ever been bought a figure hugging top or micro mini by my parents at any time. Neither were my friends or acquaintances at primary school (I would have remembered as Mum would have complained voiciferously and embarrassingly). Experimentation with make-up, skirt lengths, push up bras etc all happened at senior school  in those rights of passage years. I left primary school only 20 years ago. When did it suddenly become fashionable to tart up your toddler if you are so inclined? I don't remember. However I am very glad that organisations such as Mother's Union, and Mumsnet, are continuing to put pressure on the government and retailers with their campaigns. 



  1. It is so worrying. There is peer pressure too. My 10 year old is asking for a bra (she is skinny as a rake) and saying she gets teased if she wears 'little girls' clothes ie a pretty dress rather than skinny jeans and crop tops. I hate it. I'm also glad of the MU and MN campaigns.

  2. Well done for saying something, even if you now think you could have phrased it better. The news item you describe horrifies me and I feel desperately sorry for both mother and daughter. Things were very different when I left primary school in 1957 and even when our daughter did the same in 1982. It must be hard for parents to swinm against the tide today.

  3. I wonder at what point this overlaps with good old fashioned child abuse? Surely if we wrongly align our children's self-perception in a way that cause them thereafter to chase the impossible dream that is abusive in an emotional sense.

    It makes me angry. Really bloody angry.