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Latest Internet Craze Encourages Sexualization of Young Girls

Experts are concerned about the latest trend among young girls - watching internet videos in which girls make themselves up to look like real life Barbie dolls with perfect hair, skin and makeup.

The Daily Mail is reporting that some of the models, such as Dakota Rose, has become an international sensation just by staring doe-eyed into a camera with her Barbie doll looks while giving fashion and beauty tutorials. 

Rose, who is known as Kota Koti to her fans and appears to be between the ages of 16 and 18, remains silent in most videos while subtitles give viewers step-by-step instructions on how to apply makeup, style hair or dress fashionably. She is particularly popular in Asia because her look seems to be inspired by the Japanese anime culture whose characters feature big eyes and long straight hair.

Dr Emma Gray, clinical director at The British CBT & Counselling Service told the Mail that putting too much emphasis on physical appearance from an early age can have "disastrous consequences" on a young girl because it encourages anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

"At any age placing too much value on physical appearance can be potentially detrimental to a person’s self esteem and sense of self worth," she said. "Equally concerning is why these images have been created and for what purpose. Distorting or enhancing pictures of children so that they appear older and more sexual surely crosses the line between how we should treat the children in our society and how we should not."

Gray's concern is well-warranted. According to the Mail, a recent poll in Taiwan of 13,000 students found a correlation between the frequency of online social networking and the level of concern with appearance and self-image. Some of the students admitted to surfing the internet before the age of seven, with some starting as young as three.

Sadly, Dakota has spawned plenty of copy-cats whose videos are also going viral on the Net. Venus Palermo, who goes by the online name of Venus Angelic, is a 15 year-old girl who is already famous for her online lessons on how to make oneself up to look like a living doll. She has 78 videos on her YouTube page which give instruction on everything from makeup to nail art to dancing.

Venus' mother sees nothing wrong with what her daughter is doing. "She actually thinks it's cute to wear cute and frilly clothes," her mother said.

The child has no intention of stopping. "I don't think that I will ever stop," she said. "I think I will grow in my style and just keep doing what I love.'

The danger of this trend can be seen most clearly in the comment made by 19 year-old Naoko Kamijyo to the New York Times: "I’m no great beauty, but I love to be made up. I want to change myself, to be unrecognizable. Who wants to go through life just being themselves?"

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