Venus Palermo, a 15-year-old girl, still likes to play dress-up--every single day of her life. She transforms herself into "a living doll." And apparently she has a pretty big following: Her makeup tutorials on YouTube have just hit the 10 million-hit mark. However, critics call the images too "sexualized," saying that this could have extremely damaging effects on other young girls. Is her bizarre way of life damaging--or harmless child's play?
Photo courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk.
The photos of this teenager are really not all that sexual. In fact, her outfits are not half as bad as what some young stars and "role models" wear. However, she the message she is sending is negative. She is projecting a standard of beauty based on a doll. Girls, dolls are made of plastic, they have unrealistic features--and they're not real! (Barbie has been criticized for years for having scarily impossible body dimensions, yet girls still want to look like her). Plus, it's just bizarre-looking.
The young lady dresses in frilly little dresses, false eyelashes, contacts to make the irises of her eyes look enormous, lots of makeup, lots of pink (of course), and bows, to achieve a doll-like look. Photos of Palermo on her website (she is known to her followers as Venus Angelic) show her posing for the camera with wide eyes and pursed "rosebud" lips. She is extremely popular in Japan as well, because her wide-eyed, cartoonish look makes her look like an Anime character. Venus Palermo's mother defends her daughter's lifestyle, calling her daughter "innocent, [a] good girl who likes cute clothes and frills and ribbons."
Again, this issue is not so much about the sexualization of children than it is about girls holding themselves to impossible standards of beauty. One wonders if Palermo will grow out of this, because if it's freaky now, imagine how she would look in ten years dressed like that.