The skanky Chuck E. Cheese

The skanky Chuck E. Cheese

I gather that the big deal in children’s birthdays these days is taking the kids to one of these amusements centers where there are a million kids, the food is barely edible, and the amusements are expensive. But the flip side is you don’t have a bunch of kids running around your house, no food to prepare, etc. If that floats your boat, fine. There are worse things than Chuck E. Cheese.

But there’s a whole new level of disturbing coming in competitors to the pizza-slinging rat. How about a birthday club that turns girls into skanks?

Mostly it’s birthday parties at Club Libby Lu. A girl turns 6 and she wants the Tween Idol makeover for herself and her friends, complete with makeup, punky hair and a pink headset like Britney Spears might wear onstage. All the girls get to borrow party costumes. Many choose low-slung pants and sequined spandex tops cropped just under where their breasts would be, if they had any. Sometimes, the girls are so small their pants legs drag under their sneakers.

After the makeovers, the club counselors, as they’re known, lead the girls in a dance, teaching them to “shimmy down” and to “shake it, shake it.” Sometimes they arrange a fashion catwalk. The girls walk down the aisle of the store till they reach the front, where mothers hold cameras. Here, the girls fling one arm theatrically toward the ceiling. The song on the store stereo says: “Wet your lips/And smile to the camera.”

Remember when part of the shock of the JonBenet Ramsey murder was how her parents dolled her up for beauty pageants, even though she was just a little girl? We all nodded knowingly that sexualizing that poor little girl probably had something to do with her death. A decade later and now it’s mainstream.

Lexy comes here a lot. She had her eighth birthday here—25 girls getting “The Super Star” makeover with hair extensions, at a cost of more than $500. They arrived in a stretch limo: $600. “It had a disco ball, huh, Lex?” says her mother. “This year you want a Hummer.”

Lexy chooses blue nail polish for her fingers. One of the club counselors paints her nails and dusts glitter over Lexy’s hands. “You want me to buy you an outfit, Lexy?” her mom says. “Yeah,” says Lexy, choosing blue eye shadow.

Lexy’s mom describes her as “gifted” and a “brainiac.” Lexy says when she grows up, she wants to be a model. “My oldest models,” says her mom.

The cult of the child. In a culture that despises innocence and virginity, we worship our children not in and of themselves but as miniature versions of ourselves. This is why there is the impulse to strip away childhood and turn them into little adults. It is a selfishness and self-centeredness in the parent.

As Mark Shea says, Show me a culture that despises virginity and I’ll show you a culture that despises children. Going to hell in a handbasket.

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  • Viewing children as miniature adults has occured at different times in our history. It was not unheard of among well-to-do families in colonial times. This is obviously a new twist.

    Not to mention twisted. Britney Spears has been a model for little girls for several years now. I’ve heard complaints from third-grade public school teachers about how the girls dress for class. Makes you wonder what the parents could possibly be thinking.

    Oh yeah, I know: “It’s just a phase. They’ll grow out of it.”

    Into what?

  • I’ve just read the Washington Post article. The store is at a popular mall in the Virginia suburbs. I’ve been by that place before. It is every bit as disgusting as it sounds.

  • A few years ago I embroidered some skirts for a group of cheerleaders aged 5-9.  The mother, who’s oldest was a friend of my daughter’s, had her 7 year old show me a cheer that the girls were going to do during a parade.  The little girl was grinding her hips like Madonna.  The mother thought is was soooooooo cute.  I could but stare. 

    I asked if she thought it would be cute for the girl to do that in another 5 or 6 years.  She said I just a “fuddy-duddy” and stomped off.

  • “Let me guess; you’re a relativist and/or an academic, right?”

    I’m neither, and I thought Renee’s post was great. Quite honestly, I think guys are more liable to impregnate women they are not married to if their dads call women, even the sexually promiscuous ones or overly-permissive mothers, “bimbos.” I’m sure I’d agree with you that your neighbor’s judgment is poor, but using a word like “bimbo” strikes me as not entirely compatible with the goal of forming children in the faith.

    Bimbos, sluts, whores, oh, my. There are people who have posted here that correctly are disgusted by the concept of this store, but haven’t resorted to using really nasty and pejorative words to describe certain women. I don’t really think any woman is born wanting to give herself away to guys who don’t care about her, it seems to be a learned behavior, either through sexual abuse, a dysfunctional family, or – perhaps – a sick culture like our own. Isn’t that at least part of why this store disgusts us so much – for what it’s *teaching* young girls?

    My vote for “mother with extreme judgment issues” award goes to a woman I met at a dinner party who put condoms in her sons’ Christmas stockings when they were a senior and a junior in high school.

    And LOL at Dennis Mahon’s comment!

  • “He should have read the above post about name calling!”

    I wouldn’t presume even jokingly to say what Christ should or should not have done, but I’m happy He didn’t simply dismiss Mary Magdalene and the woman caught in adultery as whores, as you apparently would have done.

  • I tried to trackback to this, but Blogger STILL won’t support that. <sigh> anyhoo, you got me thinkin’ over at my blog yesterday, Dom . . .

    (Prostitots . . . oy . . . why can’t kids look like kids???)