• Tue, Dec 11 2012

Santa Won’t Be Bringing My Daughter A Slutty Baby™ Makeup Kit

With the holiday approaching I have been collecting items for my kid’s Christmas stockings, and I was at a major big box retailer the other day (Not the one where people get drunk and get photographed buying cases of paper towels while wearing sequined tube tops, the one the rest of us go to which is technically just as “bad” at the other one but on occasion they do collaborations with Marc Jacobs) looking for cute, fun little things to put in their stockings. And I found many, many Slutty Baby™ makeup kits (which isn’t actually a brand, but we should just go ahead and market it now) art directed with the usual suspects, Cinderella and her crew, or the Monster High dolls, that contained makeup for little girls.

I don’t let my 8-year-old daughter wear makeup. I don’t even let her play with makeup. On rare occasions, I will let her borrow one of my lip glosses to try out but I always make her wash it off within five seconds. I plan on not contributing to her makeup wearing reality until she is at least 13, and then I will take her to a nice, shiny, Clinique counter and buy her some lipgloss and maybe a pale peach blusher. I’m fully aware that she will be hiding in the school bathroom with her little friends before class, drawing on eyeliner and using lipsticks with names like “Whore” before then, but I don’t plan on contributing to her face-painting until she is older. I know a lot of moms think it is no biggie, and that maybe I’m a bit strict when it comes to this, but I think my daughter is beautiful just the way she is, plus, I’m trying to raise her in a certain way.*

As a grownass woman I love makeup. I think makeup is fun. I like to experiment with it, I like trying out new brands. But I’m totally creeped out by makeup marketed to the ten and under set, even if just under the guise of “Happy fun make believe dress up time.” And it isn’t just older girls this is being marketed to, it’s also babies. This link can show you all sorts of lady toys sold for lady infants so they can pretend to put on lady makeup contained in their ages 6 to 36-month-old lady purses. Because lady babies need to be sexy, ya’ll! I get that dress up is a normal part of childhood playtime. I understand that little girls want to mimic their mommies and if they see their moms applying makeup they also want to try it too.

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  • Louisa

    I think that if we want to create strong women we need to worry less about letting them wear make up and more about tha cavalier use of words like “slutty”. I was actually surprised because usually Mommyish has a strong opinion about that word. I don’t consider myself a feminist and would probably let my kid have kiddie make up (so that they don’t play with mine) but I never say or think words like slut or whore because they are extremely offensive and detrimental to women ( a lot more than letting them have lipstick). With our kids what we say us just as important as what we do.
    Also what’s with the Walmart judgement?

    • Peppercorn

      From Merriam-Webster…

      fem·i·nism noun ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm
      Definition of FEMINISM
      1
      : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
      2
      : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
      — fem·i·nist noun or adjective
      — fem·i·nis·tic adjective

    • Peppercorn

      Not to say I don’t agree with you about the flagrant use of a word as offensive as “slutty”. I just thought you may want to know what the actual definition of feminism is, if you didn’t already. Feminism isn’t as radical as people sometimes think it is.

  • Venessa

    I noticed the same thing when I went looking for some fun hair accessories for someone who loves wearing clips and scrunchies etc. There were very few gift sets with just plain old glittery headbands and bows. There were so many of those ‘dress up’ kits with neon hair extensions and temporary hair color – all marketed for girls under 10! Since it was someone else’s kid, I stayed far away from such things. If I had a daughter, I might go as far as hair extensions, but hair color and make up I would have to think twice about (when they are really young).
    But I do agree with Louisa – using ‘slutty’ was probably not appropriate. When you do that (and especially if your daughter reads these articles), you are encouraging slut shaming of women just because of the way they dress/present themselves with make up. No matter the age of the girl or woman, appearances should not be used to shame them.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      this morning Koa and I went back and forth. “Koa, do our readers know me well enough that I can use the word “slutty” ironically without them getting mad?” “Eve, yes, totally, people will be able to tell you are using the word in a mocking manner. People know us well enough to know our stance on slut shaming.” “Koa, OK, I will use the word slutty” “Eve, as long as you use it with att-teeeee-tuuuuude no one will be able to think you are using it seriously or in a derogatory fashion”

    • Peppercorn

      I get this, but I also think that using derogatory terms in ways that are meant to be ironic/not serious can sometimes have the effect of desensitizing people to the word and its offensiveness.

    • EKS

      your usual readers do, but how about if we’d like to share the link with others? or if people find the link thought web searches, etc? i think the word slutty could have been skipped and the same worthwhile article written. there’s enough use of that word already.

      anyway, nothing wrong with holding off on makeup :) she’ll have PLENTY of DECADES left to wear it…

    • Venessa

      I guess it would be ok when you are among friends, or even on a FB post where you can assume that everyone knows you. Like EKS pointed out..what about new readers?
      Now, if the intention was to garner attention (and traffic) by being ironic and having attitude, I guess job well done :) It just smacks too much of people who cuss way too much when their sentiments can be expressed without cussing.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I’m a cusser :(
      BUT, I don’t use the word slutty around children or women who don’t know me while speaking aloud, ever. I don’t even call those brownies by the correct name!

    • Katia

      I don’t know what you’re talking about but I’m craving brownies now

  • CrazyFor Kate

    What. the. hell.

  • Daisy

    When my sisters and I were little, we had one “makeup kit.” It had Sailor Moon’s face on the front, and inside were just four ridiculous shades of “lipstick”: hot pink, dark magenta, bright orange, and white-pink. Of course we smeared them on our cheeks and eyes too. But it bore so little resemblance to actual “makeup,” and we were very clearly not allowed to wear it anytime except for indoor dressup. It was more like fingerpainting than makeup. I think something like that is ok.

  • tntkeo

    your friend gave you some bad advice…

  • Emma

    Much of children’s play is modeling after what they others do, and make up is no exception. It may be doing more harm than good to create such a large issue about make up. Some shiny children’s lip gloss doesn’t necessarily “alter physical characteristics” of a child’s face – it just makes her lips shiny. I see the princess themed make up as “play” make up – it’s not bright red lipstick, it’s just for play.

    I get the use of the term “slutty” as being ironic. I was much more turned off by the classism than the “feminism”. Most American families will have to settle for children’s play make up rather than their own Clinique blush and frequent J. Crew jewelry purchases. That’s just the way that it is, and it doesn’t mean that those parents are trying to sexualize their children or teach their daughters that you need makeup to be accepted.

  • Renee J

    My daughter got some from her grandparents when she was four or five. I hated it, but not because I didn’t want her to wear it (inside). She got it in the carpet and her bed. At least the lipstick and blush washed off. She still has fingernail polish on her white dresser that I couldn’t remove.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh man, I can so see it staining like crazy “enjoy this gift that will ruin your carpeting!” it’s like play doh, the gift you buy parents you hate :(

  • lea

    Just another perspective for you to think about.

    I had a little makeup kit when I was about 6 or 7. It had blush and mascara and a range of outrageously bright lipsticks. I used to wear it for dress ups and games. That was it.

    Despite this early exposure I never actually wore make up “for real” until my high school ball. Even now I only wear it on weekends, if I go out somewhere nice. I don’t wear a scrap of it on most days. I work in a lab, and my test tubes and lab mice couldn’t give a toss what I look like ;)

    The biggest influence on your child’s make up wearing will be what you do, not whether you get her a kiddy make up kit. You are modelling for her what will be her idea of a normal way to wear make up. (BTW, I wish I knew how to do make up better and could be bothered wearing it more, so please don’t feel like I am judging any of you make up wearers!).

    I agree with you, that focusing on outward appearances is fraught with danger. But this has SO much less with something like playing with make up and SO much MORE to do with what you say to her and model for her in other ways.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      agreed , thank you for commenting

  • CW

    I am not at all worried about Disney Princess dress-up makeup kits encouraging slutty behavior in my daughters. I am worried about harm caused by the liberal notion that people who are promiscuous should not feel ashamed of their behavior.

    • lea

      And I’m worried about judgemental people thinking what any person choses to do in the privacy of his or her own bedroom as a consenting adult is any of their business.

  • daly_beauty

    I let my daughters play with make up when they were little. And I bought them little kid make up kits if they asked for them when they were little. We called it “dress-up” and “play”. Oh, and I also let their pediatrician pierce their ears when they were toddlers. But one thing we don’t do a lot of is call other girls or women sluts or slutty based on whether or not they wear make up.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Pfffft, like YOUR opinion matters sheesh, you ooze glamour and I think your babies were born with glitter and stardust in their hair. Just kidding, I see your point and we all mother differently, and you should know I was using “slutty” in joking way, you know better <3 thank you for commenting, it means a lot to me. xo

    • daly_beauty

      I “should know better”? It would appear your “joking” wasn’t that clear. FYI – condescending comments to your readers isn’t helpful.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I wasn’t being condescending, I assumed for twitter conversations with you that you knew how I felt for the word slut.

  • lucygoosey74

    I’d rather my child played (and PLAYED is the key word here) with kiddie makeup than toy guns and weapons. I loved my play makeup when I was little, I never thought I needed it or wasn’t pretty without it..it was just for fun. I’ve never seen my mother wear makeup ever, and she always emphasized that it was just for fun, not something that any female HAS to wear.
    And yes, the expensive brand name dropping was rather irritating. J crew jewelry for a little girl who would probably love the glittery plastic stuff they sell at Claire’s? Her first lipgloss has to be Clinique? How very tasteful.