UPDATE: Due to the dangerous nature of some comments that make-up for young kids “is one of the reasons pedophiles exist,” we also want to point out the serious problems with victim-blaming women and girls for their assault or abuse.
Last week I wrote that my daughter wears make-up for special events or family get togethers. Today, that feels like a much more serious confession than it did even a week ago. Today, Good Morning America aired a segment about my daughter and I, specifically asking if she’s too young to be playing with big girl beauty products.
First of all, I have to say that I’ve been incredibly honored and excited to be involved with GMA. The amazing correspondent who flew to Indiana, Paula Faris, is already besties with my daughter. That tea party scene in the clip wasn’t just b-roll, Brenna actually had a tea party with Paula just because the two got along so well. All in all, I feel fortunate to have sparked some conversation about appearance and confidence for young girls.
I have to admit that there was one line in the segment that made me cringe and it’s one that I want to talk more about. During their conversation, Paula asked my daughter why she liked wearing makeup. My naturally adorable little girl replied, “Because it makes me pretty.”
No matter what else is said in that segment, it kind of comes down to that statement. Of course, I wish that they would’ve asked, “Are you pretty without your makeup?” I think Brenna would’ve said yes. But Robin Roberts correctly pointed out that this was a key piece of the conversation, this idea that a young child thinks makeup helps her be more beautiful.
As adults, we know that’s not true. At least, not for children. I am well aware that Brenna is a gorgeous little girl, whether she gets into my blush or not. When it comes to grown women wearing make-up, well the jury is still out on that. Women will debate that issue for the rest of their lives but its not the conversation that I want to have today.
I think its important to point out that I don’t want my child to wear makeup because I want to present her as a beautiful little doll to the world. This wasn’t a practice that I encouraged or directed. And as Paula pointed out, I don’t let my daughter put on layers of foundation and mascara. This is not a Toddlers & Tiaras-level issue. It’s more like light blush and lipgloss. My daughter saw her mom putting on makeup and simply wanted to mimic my actions. She wanted to pretend she was a grown-up and play with with grown-up things. And yes, she wanted to be pretty, like her mommy.