Girls forced into real world too early
A BRIGHT crisp half-term afternoon in Lowestoft.Children should be wrapped up against the cold enjoying the sunshine tearing around the park, building dens in the garden, playing make believe or running along the beach.
A BRIGHT crisp half-term afternoon in Lowestoft.
Children should be wrapped up against the cold enjoying the sunshine tearing around the park, building dens in the garden, playing make believe or running along the beach.
But parks are empty, the beach virtually childfree and, if children are playing in gardens, they're doing it remarkably quietly.
Boys who should be outside kicking a ball around or on their bikes are indoors staring at games consoles beginning their contribution to the town's obesity problems.
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But the girls are out on parade. In their finery, clomping up and down London Road North in ludicrous high heels incongruously on the end of their Bambi legs, young skin caked in blusher, lipstick and eyeshadow like grotesque caricatures in outfits more suited for clubbing than half-term fun.
We're talking about little children. Girls of six, seven and eight dressed up to the nines in the most inappropriate gear, for their age and the weather, spending their school holidays hobbling in ridiculous grown up shoes in and out of shops with their mothers, buying even more cosmetics for their faces already painted to within an inch of their lives.
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What are we doing to our children? Especially our girls.
Girls turn up for the primary school bell in mascara, lipgloss and foundation with straightened hair and push up bras, in Year 3, the soft bones of their little feet scrunched into high heels and on course for an adulthood of bunions.
They're learning to sexualize their appearance before they can even spell it let alone understand what it means.
Once girls clip-clopped around the house in Mum's high heels, strings of pearls and frosted pink lipstick. It was dressing up pretending to be 'a mummy.'
Now it's Katie Price - or Jordan - Cheryl Cole, a Sugarbabe they want to be like. Raunchy, pouty, suggestive and sexy.
It makes me shiver using the word 'sexy' with six year-olds but that's what they try to be as the gyrate in their mini skirts mouthing the words of grown up songs through pumped up lips slathered with sticky gloss.
Half term fun isn't 'playing out' any more. It's a grisly parade 'down town' in Lowestoft's main shopping area.
Far too much too young. Teenage pregnancies waiting to happen. Today's accessory a handbag. Fast forward a few years and it'll be the baby buggy.
We used to mock the American pageant girls for the grotesque spectacle of children in cosmetics. Now it's an everyday look. Tom Cruise's daughter Suri, just three, is photographed in heels and lipstick and Princess Tiammi, Jordan's two-year-old daughter had photos posted on the Internet of her in false eyelashes and full make-up. It's just creepy.
Mothers say they're terrified to let them out of their sight because of the dangers. Then they dress them up like sex objects.
They don't look good. They just look horrible.
Girls should be making the most of their childhood, of carefree fun, magical moments and innocent make believe on swings, slides and seesaws not gazing into mirrors and painting their nails.
But they're forced into the real world far too soon, with the help of their mothers - and once they're there, unlike make believe, they'll never return.
Toni Terry might well want to hold the threads of her marriage together for the sake of the children.
She deserves respect for that. A broken family is often far more unbearable than a broken heart for many women who, at any cost, will fight to keep their family together. Family matters.
But her announcement: 'We're stronger than ever' is absurd and desperate.
And the Terrys' so public blissful reconciliation in the wake of his cheating feels as fake as a WAG's nails and leaves a sour - and suspicious- taste.
A marriage can never be 'strong' when one partner has been exposed as a lying cheat.
Toni's carrying on in her red lacy emblazoned with red lipstick kisses for Valentine's Day as if John Terry hasn't put a foot wrong doesn't say: 'we're working at it'. It says, I'm a doormat, he's in control and I'll put up with anything to keep what I've got.
And what's that? Not respect, that's for sure. Once respect has gone, a relationship is never strong; it's on borrowed time.
The avalanche of Government TV health adverts - 'take one more sip of that beer and you're a gonner' - is turning our children into the mini Gestapo.
Brainwashed by the evils of beer and wine, thanks to the latest anti-drink campaign aimed at the middle-aged middle classes, children are shadowing Mum and Dad around the fridge.
If husband's hand happens to reach for a cold beer or the corkscrew finds its way into my hand for the nicely chilled pinot grigio, children miraculously pop up to tick us off, in stereo, about the health horrors we're risking, as if they're on the Department of Health's payroll.
'High blood pressure, a stroke, mouth cancer, liver disease,' one says.
'It's a glass of wine,' I plead.
'That's what they all say,' says the other, as they hover like hawks ensuring not a drop touches our lips so convinced they are that we'll keel over in front of them if it does.
The campaigns might be turning one generation into avowed tee-totallers before they leave primary school but it's creating an older generation of secret drinkers sneaking around behind their children's backs turning unwinding with a glass of white into a guilty pleasure.
Nigel Page and Justine Laycock were labelled the Luckiest Couple in Britain for their �56million win on the EuroMillions Lottery Draw.
It might feel lucky today but living with it might not feel so fortunate a decade down the line.
Money, as jackpot winners have testified before, can bring misery. Loneliness, isolation, emptiness and feelings of hopelessness.
Struggling through February, waking up to �56 million looks like Nirvana but watching Nigel kissing Justine in celebration, I just felt worry for them. It puts a lot right but it can bring more problems than it solves.
How many friends real friends? A life never having to work again brings days without structure, self worth and motivation. Children of the super rich grow up to believe everything is presented on a plate, with no work ethic or motivation to do anything for themselves.
And, even if much of a fortune is pumped into good causes, it leaves the horrible realisation that however much is put towards helping the world's ills, it's only a drop in the ocean of what is needed because those ills are so depressingly great.
�56 million is nice to dream about but a horror to live with.
The contraceptive jab for men is on its way.
Women are worried thought that they won't be able to trust them to have regular top ups.
No worries. Men have to tell us everything they do 'for us' so rest assured we'd hear every tiny detail of the 'agony' they have endured 'for you.'
And then they'll have to lie down and take it easy for the rest of the day because their pain has made them 'woosy.'
Man jabs will be like man flu - it'll be worse than anything we've ever felt and there is no way we won't hear about their.
Actress Goldie Hawn is said to be in talks with the Tories about bringing fresh thinking to our education system with unorthodox teaching methods.
The words 'unorthodox teaching methods' make me want to run screaming to the hills. How many harebrained 'unorthodox teaching methods' have ever worked?
This approach promises: 'An evidence-based teaching model and curriculum that provides children with emotional and cognitive tools to help them understand and improve their own emotions, moods and behaviours; reduce stress and anxiety; sharpen concentration; build confidence, increase empathy and improve performance in school.'
What tosh and jargon.
But will the children be able to spell and understand all the above words once they've merged from the Hawn's whacky world of schooling?
A vicar's answer to reversing the soaring divorce rate?
Wives should 'be silent' and 'submit' to their husbands, says the Rev Angus MacLeay, whose wife has been conspicuous in her absence in the storm caused by his proclamations. She is presumably locked up at home in her pinnie doing as she is told.
Undoubtedly if women were doormats to their husbands, never uttering a peep of opinion, complaint or dissent, the world would appear a peaceful place. Gaze on the Terrys and weep.
Likewise, if men were silent and submitted to their wives, we'd all trot through life without rumpus. Power brings order and peace, temporarily. But then comes revolution.
Mr MacLeay has managed to find his perfect curate in the Rev Mark Oden who blames divorce firmly at the door of 'modern woman', whoever she might be.
And the C of E wonders why pews are emptying and viewed as increasingly irrelevant and remote?
Lowestoft teenager Sophie Nixon was subjected to a daily two-year campaign of bullying by other girls and lost all her hair.
The blonde 13-year-old was so stressed by the abuse her eyebrows and eyelashes also fell out from stress-related alopecia.
The sadness she lived with is heart breaking - the vile girls even made fun of her hair loss.
How can such nastiness go undetected for so long? What punishment have her abusers been served?
Bullying has become an over-used term watered down to imply a bit of playground tussling and , even though millions of pounds has been poured into tackling the issue, the problem is bigger than ever with perpetrators getting away scot free.
What Sophie endured was terror for which she has paid a terrible price for a young girl.
But she has been brave enough to stand up and talk about life without hair.
Victims are always the courageous ones to they speak out. But what of her sneaky attackers? It would be interesting to hear from their parents and their feelings on their daughters' sustained and calculated wickedness and its horrendous impact on a little girl who deserved none of it.