Have you heard about Britney? Not Britney Spears, but Britney Campbell. Well, you might want to sit down.
Two days ago The Sun reported that mum Kerry injects her eight-year-old daughter, Britney, with Botox. Her first injection was a gift for her eighth birthday, in fact! Mom buys the Botox over the Internet and injects Britney herself-- but she tests it first to make sure it's "safe." Why do this? To be a pop superstar, of course.
Not only does Britney get Botox, she also gets a monthly "virgin wax." I confess I had to Google virgin wax. Apparently, I am way out of the loop because in 2008 MSNBC ran a story on this new trend. Supposedly if you wax the colorless hair on a girl's legs and bikini line, it won't grow in once the girl hits puberty and the hair darkens and coarsens. I'm not sure why Britney gets a virgin wax every month though, as aesthetician experts suggest you only need to do it 2-6 times. By the way, my favorite line about virgin waxing is listed on the website of a New York City spa, Wanda's European Skin Care on West 57th: "Save your child a lifetime of waxing... and put the money in the bank for her college education instead!" Just think of how much more pocket change we all would have had in college...
There's a connection to child beauty pageants here, especially because Kerry Campbell says Botox, virgin waxes, and even plumpers/fillers are common practice on the San Francisco child beauty pageant circuit (I'm personally not aware of a big high glitz pageant circuit in the Bay area-- anyone else?). On Toddlers & Tiaras this past season several moms were shown waxing their daughters eyebrows, as I've written about here; we've also seen moms shave their daughters' legs so the little leg hairs don't show up on stage. I can see some pageant moms doing the virgin wax, but nowhere close to all of them, especially those who don't do high glitz. As for Botox I just don't buy it. Some day when they are older I am sure a lot of pageant girls will pursue plastic surgery-- but trying Botox so young and risking disfigurement is simply foolhardy and too risky.
Not surprisingly, this story has some legs and got picked up pretty quickly. Jezebel's coverage concedes that neither the US nor the UK have laws preventing a parent from injecting their children with Botox. I mean, why would there be? We'll see if that changes; in the meantime it's quite possible Child Protective Services may be visiting the Campbell household in San Francisco. Otherwise, as Perez Hilton said, let's hope this is a joke. Perhaps it is because, really, how did The Sun reporter find native Birmingham, UK resident Kerry in San Francisco?
This story made me think of Charice, the Filipino pop star who has appeared on Glee. Last July there was a big brouhaha about her getting Botox to make her look younger and to smooth her eighteen-year-old face for the show. The media even ran pictures of her getting the injections. Clearly Botox is in among teenagers pursuing pop stardom-- but Charice is a decade older than little Britney Campbell.
Keeping female, teen popstars looking young and "pure" is quite a task on many levels, as the always informative and entertaining Peggy Orenstein explains in "The Good Girl, Miranda Cogrove" which will be in the Times Magazine this Sunday. Her discussion of teen idols produced by the Disney and Nick machines is related to a chapter in Cinderella Ate My Daughter; Orenstein expands on that work with a thoughtful profile on "iCarly" star Miranda Cosgrove. One of the most refreshing parts of the piece is hearing about, and from, Miranda's parents (her dad still runs the dry cleaning business he had before Miranda starting raking in seven-figures and her mom is with her pretty much all the time).
Somehow I don't think Britney Campbell will be the next Miranda Cosgrove, do you?