Fury over Essex beauty salon that is offering makeovers, spray tans and facials for girls as young as ONE
Last updated at 10:42 AM on 9th June 2011
The opening of a beauty parlour offering makeovers and facials for girls as young as one has caused fury among children's rights campaigners.
The salon, which caters only for the under-13s, has opened its doors at a time of intense concern over the growing sexualisation of children. This week, a report backed by the Government called for measures to protect children’s innocence, including controlling their access to inappropriate clothing, and raunchy pop videos.
Shy Keenan, a child protection consultant, said: 'This is outrageous - it is giving children a complex about the way they look from the age of one.'
Pampered: A little girl waits patiently as she has her hair done in the salon which caters for children up to 13, in Brentwood, Essex
While critics have been warning that pampering youngsters in adult ways can take away their childhood, Trendy Monkeys owner Michelle Devine defended her business
But while critics warned that pampering youngsters in adult ways could take away their childhood, Trendy Monkeys owner Michelle Devine, defended her business.
The salon is based in Brentwood, Essex, the epicentre of ITV series The Only Way Is Essex, which follows the lives of glamour-obsessed young people.
Miss Devine, 28, a single mother of two young girls, insisted that going to the salon would allow girls to ‘exude confidence, glamour and the desire to look her best at all times, regardless of age’. ‘I will do spray tans if parents want them,’ she added.
But Ms Keenan said she thought it exploited the young. She told The Sun: 'If you are going to mess about with yourself, mess about with yourself. But leave your kids alone.'
Bailey, left, one of Miss Devine's two daughters, shows off a stick-on tattoo. The salon is based in Brentwood, Essex, the epicentre of ITV series The Only Way Is Essex, which follows the lives of glamour-obsessed young people such as salon owner Amy Childs, right
The salon, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain, officially opened at the weekend. One of its first customers was only 16 months old.
Child psychologist Professor Judy Hutchings, of the Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention, warned that the salon represented ‘not just the sexualisation but the commercialisation of children’.
She said: 'It’s OK to make believe and put on mum’s high heels – we want to encourage fantasy play and role play. But it is actually being seen as part of the mainstream.
‘I think it’s pretty sad. Children are having part of their childhood taken away from them. There are dangers in this because they are being sexualised.’
Miss Devine insisted that going to the salon would allow girls to 'exude confidence, glamour and the desire to look her best at all times, regardless of age'
Claude Knights is director of Kidscape, a charity committed to keeping children safe from abuse.
She told MailOnline today the parlour made her furious, and fearful for young people.
'In the light of the report about the sexualisation of children, this is one of the most horrendous examples I have come across and shows the dangers we have all been talking about,' she said.
'Sexualisation of children is encouraged by this. It makes me so angry. It is detrimental to a child's normal development.
'We have to work together and wake up and say children should be children. This parlour could send some down a very dangerous path.'
Children had their fingernails and toenails painted for free at the opening on Saturday, which was attended by Mick Norcross, father of Sugar Hut nightclub manager Kirk, both of whom appear in The Only Way Is Essex.
Treatments include fruit smoothie facials for £5, mini pedicures, manicures or make-up application at £7 each, hair ‘up-dos’ for £5-£10 and a shampoo, haircut and styling for £21.
Girls are also being offered ‘Princess pamper parties’ where they will be picked up in a pink limousine and brought to the salon to ‘have all their little treatments with their friends’.
Fifteen have already been booked, despite the £300 cost for six people. Parents can pay for add-ons including spray tan booths and photos.
There certainly appears to be a willing customer base. Maxine Chinowaith, 11, who goes to school in Brentwood, had a pedicure at the bubblegum pink salon.
She said: ‘I like a lot of pink and I will definitely come here again. I think I will try the make-up next time.’
Nykola Garrigan, 40, from Hornchurch, brought her two children, Cian, 15, and Mahlia, nine, saying: ‘The idea of young girls having pampering has really taken off.’
Miss Devine, a former catalogue lingerie model, explained: ‘I think there’s a real market for it out there. In this day and age we like to give our children everything they want.
'I don’t think it’s right to spray-tan children but who am I to say no? If someone walked in and wanted their daughter sprayed I wouldn’t tell them no.
‘Ear-piercing is something I’m looking into. My daughter had hers done at three months and I had mine done when I was six weeks old. I think you are better off doing them when children are small as they get used to them.’
Local primary school teacher Andy Scott-Evans, a father of two, said: ‘I have grave concerns about what we are calling the sexualisation of children and this is another step towards that.’
The Bailey Report, compiled by Mothers’ Union chief executive Reg Bailey and released on Monday, called for a number of measures to protect children, including controlling access to clothing, adult content on mobile phones and some advertising.
But Miss Devine insisted what she was doing was just ‘a bit of fun’, adding that her inspiration for the salon was her daughters Madison and Bailey’s visit to a pampering experience in Marbella, Spain.
She said: ‘Where better to launch this exciting new project in Brentwood, now a name on the map synonymous with fashion and glamour thanks to The Only Way Is Essex?’
Miss Devine is proud of the fact that the business has been launched in Brentwood where The Only Way is Essex is filmed
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2001148/Trendy-Monkeys-Essex-beauty-salons-make-overs-spray-tans-girls-young-1.html#ixzz1OmRCZbVW