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Archive for January 9th, 2011

Tantrum

What’s going on with Hamleys, which has traditionally been the home of the Hornby train set, the paint-your-own-dollshouse and enough traditional wooden toys to satisfy even humourless hags like me? For me, a rare visit to view the finest toys in the world (Dundrum, not Regent Street) just before Christmas wasn’t quite the smash and grab fest I’d been dreading, but there were horrors nevertheless.

At the back of a zone so pink I actually recoiled from it was tantrum. Here, small girls can visit the pamper bar (pampering is so important for the under-sevens, I find) and have their nails painted or drawn on, their hair styled (extensions/straightened/curled/put up/glittered), their lips glossed and their bodies glittered.

From tantrum, girls “always leave looking amazing and are the envy of their friends”. So obviously it would be a marvellous New Year’s treat if, say, you have a child who’s normally awful-looking and struggles to impress their peer group. tantrum peddles a few unappetising accessories, too, like sunglasses and tiaras and bags and various other bits of WAGtastic crap. Sometimes it is such a relief to be thirty years older than the girls who have to fight their way through these limiting, reductive messages.

There is nothing wrong with pink. There is nothing wrong with children mucking about with make-up. And with the success of campaigns like Mumsnet’s Let Girls be Girls, I’d actually thought we were making progress on giving children the breathing space to have childhoods.

But seriously – tantrum? Give me strength.

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