Now that 8-year-olds are getting bikini waxes and 10th-birthday parties have moved from the roller rink to the nail salon, we're not really surprised by the revelation in today's "Style" section in the Times that hair highlights are to middle-school girls what Christian Louboutins are to uptown socialites. This is sad in and of itself, but what's more tragic is the tots want the streaky, fake look Hannah Montana sports. Take 11-year-old Lexi James, who longed for the salon after her sister got her hair professionally relaxed:
“I wanted highlights, you know, and the salon thing,” Lexi said, explaining that the idea of being pampered seemed fun.
In her case, “the salon thing” meant a couple of hours at Toadly Kool Me, a children’s hair salon in nearby Fayetteville. For $45, Lexi would receive six caramel streaks of permanent color along her part, for a look she described as “a little punky,” followed by a blow dry and flat ironing.
“Lexi works hard, gets good grades,” her mother said. “I feel like she deserves a treat.”
We remember when a "treat" meant getting a big, fat scoop of ice cream after school. So thanks, Hannah Montana, for pushing today's youth away from the simple pleasures of yore. Though Manhattan salon owners, who charge $200 to $400 for highlights, are happy for the business in these penny-pinching times, one ponders, "I wonder what message we are sending the girls.”
Hmm, we bet that message is that image is everything. Or that it's okay to copy everything Hannah Montana does. We've said it before, but we'll say it again — Miley Cyrus is as wholesome as a slice of wheat toast now, but so was Britney Spears once upon a time. Maybe parents should encourage their daughters to take up some of her more substantial attributes like, er, her ability to sing or act. Those lessons cost the same as bad hair streaks and are actually good for the brain, while bad highlights are good for nothing.