It figures a mother who made headlines when she taught her six-year-old daughter to pole dance would find another way to make the news: Sarah Burge of the UK gave her girl, Poppy, a voucher for breast implants on her 7th birthday. Burge, who is known as “the Human Barbie” for her slavish devotion to her plasticine looks, said Poppy can cash in her boob job after she turns 16 and her natural boobs have grown in. Do I even need to write about how promising an elementary schooler that she can get a boob job is really f**ked up? No? Cool.
Everything about Sarah Burge and the way she raises her children, based on what we know about her parenting skillz in the UK tabloids, is about boosting her daughter’s physical and sexual charms above all else. Poppy’s 7th birthday party was no different: the little girl and seven friends got manicures, pedicures, “makeovers” and fake tattoos while they drank fake champagne in a pink “pamper bus.” Now, I’m a bit of a girly girl (although I came to that late in life after a childhood as a tomboy). And I don’t necessarily think mani/pedis are wrong for a little girl’s birthday party (although I personally wouldn’t do it, but I know lots of parents would) or that little girls playing with makeup is bad. But it’s really disturbing to me that none of this girly-girl-ness seems presented to Poppy as a choice — rather, it’s just the way things are. The poor kid probably doesn’t know anything different. Burge is limiting her daughter’s life with such a narrow yet all-consuming definition of femininity.
“The Human Barbie” calls herself a plastic surgery addict. But I’d wager she’s a femininity addict — and the person it’s most going to harm is her kid.