Educating Leda: The Feminine Mystique

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Twice in a week now, – it can’t possibly be a coincidence. I am the village idiot! Today, was another day of revelation:

Manicures & pedicures for 3 year olds.

Where have I been all my life? Am I the only woman (and mother) who just today found out that a big segment of a salon’s clientele are mothers with little girls who regularly have their nails done?  And no, I don’t mean that the mothers have their nails done. I am talking about the little girls here.

As I am sitting happily sunk into the pedicure spa, in walks a very attractive tall blond middle aged woman. Behind her,comes what I guess is her daughter (early thirties) holding the most adorable blond little girl, pink dress and striped leggings and a matching pink ribbon on her hair. Deep blue eyes are shyly taking in the spa surroundings. “Come on, honey, pick your color, smile for grandma – it’s her birthday today.”

The little empress climbs up on the pedicure spa seat – her feet can barely touch the water.She has definitely done this before. She knows the routine better than me. I am dumbfounded.

I casually ask my manicurist if they get lots of kids. “Of course,” she says, “but 5 year olds are the ones who come in more often.” Now, I am even more flabbergasted than before – but a new idea is swirling in my head: Why am I so surprised with this? Do I think like an old lady? Do I disapprove? Do I think it’s wrong? Does the little girl look happy? Will she remember this birthday present and the beauty day spent with her mother and grandmother? Naomi Wolf, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Camille Paglia are all watching me. I have always detested labels and waves of feminism – yet, the more I looked – the deep blue eyes of the birthday girl looked troubled to me.

Maybe I am off – perhaps there is simply joy to share this girlish little routine – after all this is the third generation of women in that family. And each family chooses what to teach and pass on to the next generation. Everything’s a point of view.

Happy birthday little woman – just grow up to be yourself some day…

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