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.
I know that is you are raising a strong, confident girl with a good sense of self and empathy that no amount of sparkle glitter eyeshadow can detract from that, but I also feel like putting so much emphasis on a child’s outward appearance tends to put the focus on something that is pretty meaningless in the great scheme of things. When we grow up, as long as we are bathed, brush our teeth, and wear clean clothing that is pretty much all we should be required to do as humans. There are many women and mothers in the world who never wear makeup, and that doesn’t make them any less valid than the moms who do. I feel the same way about moms who get their three-year-old son’s hair highlighted, but since so much of these products are aimed towards little girls that is my focus here. I have yet to see a GI Joe Little Boys Makeup Set.
I know little girls like sparkly, shiny, typically “feminine” things. Even though my daughter’s ears aren’t pierced yet, I buy her J. Crew jewelry quite frequently and ribbons and baubles for her hair. Things that can easily be removed, things that don’t alter the physical characteristics of her face, even if it’s just the temporary affects of a lipstick. She will have her entire life to wear makeup if she wants to, so until then I ended up with some Hello Kitty strawberry-scented bubble bath, and left the princess themed makeup kit on the shelf.
(photo: Toys R Us)