Make-Up On My 4-Year-Old Doesn’t ‘Invite’ Pedophiles

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I can admit that I was prepared for a little internet blowback from appearing on Good Morning America to talk about allowing my daughter to wear make-up. I understood that agreeing to the interview meant opening myself up to other people’s opinions and observations. As a blogger, I welcome critiques every day.

But I have to admit that there is a vein of comments surrounding the issue of young children and make-up that I find particularly disturbing. I’m okay with people saying I’m wrong. I’m fine with someone saying that I need to re-think this decision. Those people are entitled to their opinions. I’m not okay with commenters saying, “This is one reason why pedophiles exist.”

No. That’s wrong. Pedophiles exist because disturbed people sexually abuse children. Pedophiles exist because they have a mental disease, pedophilia. These criminals make a choice to do something horrible, and there’s nothing that any child or parent does that causes these tragedies.

These comments, the ones that have been warning me of creating another JonBenet Ramsey situation, are victim-blaming the most innocent. They are suggesting that young children are hurt because of their own actions, and that’s simply untrue.

One individual warned me, “You’ve called attention to your child for every child hungry monster out there. Your children aren’t your dolls, their your offspring so parent properly (shocking concept, no?) and put away the makeup! If you don’t want your child to be mistaken for a pageant contestant, put away the makeup!” Another said, “”IT is child abuse, remember Jonbenet Ramie’s [sic],and what happened to that little girl,with all of the sick pedophiles running lose,why would any mother in her right mind do that to a child,SICK!!!”

The takeaway here is that somehow it’s the parent’s fault that a young little girl was abducted. While I do not personally agree with the pageant world or Toddlers & Tiaras, I think it is awful to suggest that these mothers are inviting pedophiles to harm their children. No one invites harassment or abuse and it doesn’t matter how much make-up a person or child has on.

This type of victim-blaming is disgusting. And even if you’re blaming the parents, not the children, you’re still putting the emphasis on the wrong party. Children are not molested because they are wearing make-up or acting older or dressing too mature. Children are molested because they are in the presence of a child molester. It is the exact same principle behind rape apologists. Women are not raped because they are drinking alcohol or wearing a short skirt or flirting too much. Women are raped because they are in the presence of a rapist.

Every time we take that blame away from the person committing the crime, we tell them that it isn’t their fault.

People who say, “Then they wonder why these sick a** pedophiles r out there n the world,” suggest that another person is at fault for an individual’s choices. And they’re wrong.

I have to admit, I believe that this thread of dangerous victim-blaming is a much more important conversation to have than the original argument about children and make-up. That’s a personal choice for parents to make regarding their own families. Whether or not my daughter has on eye shadow will not harm anyone else. Blaming victims of abuse for their own assault by suggesting that make-up on children creates pedophiles, that’s a problem that hurts every child and our culture as a whole.

(Photo: The Inquisitr)


  1. Eileen

    May 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    It really makes no sense. Pedophiles want to have sex with kids because they want to have sex with kids. I know a lot of women who don’t have trouble having sex, even if they’re not wearing makeup, because straight adult men want to have sex with straight adult women. The trappings of the child’s outfit aren’t the arousing thing for pedophiles, the child-ness of the child is.

    And that’s even aside from your very correct argument against victim-blaming.

  2. Fabel

    May 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Yes, this. Not only does it shift blame onto the victim, it basically implies that makeup tricks pervs into viewing little girls as women. That’s not how pedophilia works.

  3. kasha

    May 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I have to say that the backlash from this confession is surprising. When I put on makeup, my two year old is in my face wanting to put on make up. I apply a little and tell her to go show her grandmother. a little means, eye shadow, lip gloss, and if there is any foundation on my sponge. as long as she doesn’t look like a clown I let her walk out of the house.

    as for the reason that this is why pedophiles exist is so full of hot air it isn’t even worth the logic that it will take to look shameful at the idiots blame a person whom has no reflection on the sick twisted ideal. What I mean is this, saying that a child wearing makeup is the reason why we have pedophiles is like saying the reason why the holocust happens was because we had jews. neither reflect on the reason why the other happened.

    I think make up allows children to see that they can change them selves. yes they are pretty, and yes they are smart. but just because every one tells you that for the rest of your life doesn’t mean that the indivdual will think it all the time or believe it half the time. by allowing people, children, a female play with make up you show them that they are beautiful and that it is fun to show off different features that you find more appling.

    does that make sense. I applaud you, at least you admitted to what so many moms have been doing, playing dress up.

    p.s at least this way your kid will hopfully not paint half their face with red lip stick…..true story, I still have red patches in my hair 18 years later.

  4. Katie

    May 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    The logic of the paedophile argument is just… odd.

    “By making your child look older the paedophiles will be more interested” Well, no… because paedophiles are not attracted to those who ‘look older’. So ermm… WHAT?

  5. Zoe

    May 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    It’s all based in fear. Mothers who scream about “the pedophiles!” in the same generalised vein as those who scream about “the terrorists!” are convinced that by keeping their children make-up free, they are keeping their children safe from pedophiles. The likelihood of a pedophile harming their child is reduced because their child is not wearing make-up. It’s absurd para-logic, but it comforts them.

    I was born in the early 80s and I grew up in an age of “acceptable risk”. We had a known sex offender in our neighbourhood and I was still permitted to play outside alone at the age of 6. My mother identified the man to me and told me to stay away from him. She trusted me to do so, and I did. Yes, there was risk, but my mother believed giving me my freedom was still vital to my development.

    Nowadays there is no acceptable risk… if any risk is involved at all, it is UNacceptable. And the children are slowly being suffocated because of it.

    • kims

      May 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      my daughter is 6. and coincidentally, i got a letter from the prosecutor’s office the other day, notifying me that a sex offender just moved into the neighborhood, gave me a picture, & included his address, his vehicle, & the crimes he was convicted of.

      he’s not even close enough to our home to be in what i consider my ‘neighborhood.’ i never let my daughter out alone before, & am even less likely to loosen the strings now. i have no intention of telling her about this person, & to ‘stay away from him;’ i don’t feel she’s ready to hear about people like that yet, & i can’t just say to stay away from him without telling her why. she’s a very smart, perceptive little girl. i did review our talk about strangers & innappropriate touching, & what to do if a stranger approaches her, or if another child or an adult she knows tries to touch her or tries to get her to touch that person innappropriately.

      i guess what i’m trying to say is that i think you were VERY lucky, if there was a sex offender in that close vicinity to you, your mom let you out alone, & nothing happenned to you. there are so many children who try to ‘stay away from’ these offenders, but if someone wants something bad enough, they find a way to get it. adults can very easily overpower a child.

      my daughter knows i trust her, & we talk very openly about a lot of things. but she also knows that i don’t trust people we don’t know, because they could hurt her. not just because they are mean or not nice, but because someone probably hurt that person, & they do what they know. she knows that thats why i watch her through the window when she runs out to get the mail, or even when she walks the three steps from our apt door to the one next to us to play with her friend. if i’m being overprotective or paranoid, so be it. i’d rather be overprotective than risk something happenning to her & blaming myself every day for the rest of my life, because I wasn’t paying attention, because i didn’t want to sit outside while she played, because at the age of 6 i wanted her to feel that i trusted her, so it was ok for her to be out galavanting on her own.

      bottom line, if that person your mom said to stay away from really was a sex offender, you are VERY lucky nothing happenned to you. you were 6. he was an adult. its not too hard to outsmart a 6 yr old. i’m betting he was just creepy. we have a few creepy neighbors, but they had never caused any problems in the 10 yrs my friend lived in this complex before we moved in. ‘creepy’ doesn’t automatically translate to ‘pedophile’ or ‘child molester.’

    • Zoe

      May 14, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      @kims, yes, this man was a registered offender. My parents attended a local Neighbourhood Watch session about him. There were heaps of kids in my suburb and we all knew about him. He was in his 50s. Our parents didn’t tell us where he lived because they were worried that, being kids, we would dare each other to knock on his door and run away, or throw things. We would have, too 😉

      I was playing in the unfenced yard unsupervised when I was 4, as long as I didn’t leave the property. I knew all my neighbours, as well as lots of people who lived on my way to school when I started going, and my parents told me where to go and what to do if I was ever approached by a stranger and I felt uncomfortable.

      I guess if you don’t have that support network it’s a lot more intimidating. All through primary school holidays I would be out the door at sunup and back home for lunch or tea, and my parents had no idea where I was. There were no mobiles. Sometimes I’d be late home from school because I’d stop in for a cup of Milo with the old couple who lived on my way home, or I’d visit friends, or I’d go to the park. They never worried as long as I was home for tea. If my mother needed to get hold of me on weekends, she’d check the park or call around my friends’ houses to see if she could find me. If she couldn’t, it was no big deal, as I’d wander home eventually. It was a great childhood and I was never scared of anyone or anything.

      I guess one other factor that would make it harder now is that where I grew up, there were heaps of young kids running around the streets out of school hours. You don’t see that now. A child on their own would stand out more.

  6. Claire Beart

    May 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

    To me this just seems like “I am naive and I will scream it out”

    1. Paedophiles do not go seeking out children wearing makeup
    2. Most children victimised by paedophiles are close to their attacker in some way (relative, tutor, sports coach, whilst some are random attacks, most are not)
    3. A child playing dress up is not painting a giant target on themselves

    I am appauled by those stating otherwise. Way to set back human rights, just some more victim blaming. Everyone who made comments about paedophiles should be utterly ashamed of themselves and go out there and get themselves educated.

    • Hannah

      May 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Amen to that Claire.

      victim shaming is the reason we have so many unprosecuted sex offenders….

  7. marie

    May 2, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I have 2 daughters 7 and 8 and i will not let them wear makeup at all. Pedophiles are who they are sick people but u make your daughter more vulnerable to them with the way she looks and acts u are the mother u do what u want but its 2012 not 1975 more kids are coming up dead and there are more Morgan nick alerts now than there ever has been she is only little once let her be little and enjoy her child hood while she can and the only reason why I am saying this is my daughter is 8 she was raped by her uncle twice while in her dads care her dad has lost all rights to her because he allowed it to happen the first time she was 2 the second time it she was 3 yes they are inprison

    • Eileen

      May 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

      So…your daughter was assaulted by an adult close to her, despite the fact that she doesn’t wear any makeup at all.

      See Claire’s comment below.

    • Cee

      May 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

      There is no rise in pedophilia. There is now a rise in reports because now it is something that society is allowed to talk about and condemn, not stifle. Pedophilia has been around since the beginning of time, I mean look at the Greeks. Old scholars often took young tween male lovers and everyone acted like it was okay. Many priests molested children that never said anything for decades up until just a few years ago. Sooo adults stepping forward saying that they were molested and raped as children…GASP would mean that pedophiles exited “back in the day.” Unless its technological, people need to stop acting like these behaviors are something that just sprouted because of something victims are doing wrong today.Look at pictures of children that were abducted in the past, look at some of the kids that have been abducted raped and murdered, there are hardly any that are wearing make up or have any other common factor other than the fact that they were children.

      Now, I am sorry this happened to your child, as someone that works with children I see this happen every now and then. But, you saying this is even worse. You are victim blaming someone because of a parenting choice, which means, you probably see harm in something you or your daughter did, which is not the case. Your daughter’s rapist was already a pedophile before your daughter was born, nothing she did made this happen.

    • Ces

      May 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Actually violent crime rates are at an all time low and 90% (or more) of child molestation cases happen, like in your situation, by a close family member trusted with the child. I doubt you blame your daughter for what happened to her, I believe you blame the pedophile and her father that allowed it to happen. Nothing your daughter did, nothing she wore, and nothing she said attracted to him to her. He was attracted to her because he has a disease. That is the point. THE PROBLEM IS WITH THE PERPETRATORS not THE VICTIM. If you want to protect your children you do it by being observant of who you trust and making sure you talk to your children about defending themselves and telling you when a situation happens. You don’t protect them by denying the right to play with make-up. That is like saying a Saint Christopher medal stops you from wrecking your car. You try to drive safely to protect yourself, and not rely on some superstitious and ridiculous talisman.

  8. Shana Rowan

    May 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

    For the most part, good post. But this:

    “Children are molested because they are in the presence of a child molester”

    Not quite. Children are (almost always) molested when they spend a great deal of alone time with someone who is skilled at isolating them from their family, making them feel special and forming a very close relationship with them. To say some children are not at greater risk than others because of certain circumstances is simply not accurate – and it has nothing to do with “victim blaming”. Children who come from broken or stressful home situations, have absent parents, and/or are ostracized by peers are at greater risk than well-adjusted children.

    Obviously, it can happen to anyone. But please realize there’s a fine line between “blaming the victim” and refusing to acknowledge factors that determine possible risk and could prevent abuse.

    • Common Sense

      May 4, 2012 at 2:25 am

      I totally agree, and that’s the point I tried to make. People can’t be in denial. Some of these “pageant kids” may lack direction and are being used as meal tickets by unfit parents. Child stars sometimes have the same problem.

  9. Lin

    May 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    To me, it just makes no sence putting make up on a young child. God gave each child natural beauty. That’s why children are so loved. Not because makeup makes them better because makeup can’t improve on the real thing.

  10. wanda

    May 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    This woman is in denial not fit if you ask me… seriously????

  11. That Isn't How Pedophilia Works

    May 2, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Gag me to the commenters attacking Lindsay Cross, get over yourselves. That is NOT how pedophilia works. Pedophiles are attracted to children because they are children. Putting a bit of blush or mascara on a child does NOT invite pedophiles.

    As a child who was raised by conservative people and was never allowed to wear makeup or nail polish, I was STILL a victim of a pedophile. Throwing that word out there everytime you want to make a point about how terrible you think someone’s parenting is only works to lessen the impact that word has. I wasn’t molested because of something I did, or something my mother or father did. I was molested because a trusted family member was a pedophile.

    To the holier-than-thou parents out there who think you are somehow protecting your daughters from pedophiles by keeping them pristine looking without makeup, etc, that is false confidence. The sad fact is that the majority of people who molest children are family members of friends of the family. Refusing to let your child put on a little lip gloss is about as effective as making them wear a burlap sack everywhere.

    I am a paranoid, over-protective mother to my kids because of the horrors of my own childhood, but refusing to let my oldest daughter wear a bit of nail polish or lip gloss is NOT how I envision protecting her. But why should something like common sense get in the away from an army of self-righteous women who want to feel like they are somehow better than Lindsay cross?

    • Anonymous

      May 4, 2012 at 2:22 am

      Really sorry to hear that. I don’t think people are blaming the way kids dress when they criticize these pageants, though. Yes, that’s part of it. But pedos don’t necessarily have a preference for looks as you stated. They just want contact with kids, and beauty pageants provide that. There are apparently a lot of sleaze bags around child stars too (less so today).

  12. cosmo

    May 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    A lot of pedophiles have sex with kids because a pedophile had sex with them when they were a kid. It’s easy to hate the pedophile, but we should also be hating the cyclical system that allowed this to occur and fester.

    Good parenting prevents pedophilia.

    • Sarah-Jane

      May 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      “Good parenting prevents pedophilia”?
      While I agree that not being molested as a child helps you not turn into a pedophile, not only are there dozens of other ways your brain chemistry can be wired that way, blaming parents for pedophiles is as ridiculous as blaming the children being molested.
      Sure, molesting your own children is bad parenting. But good parenting doesn’t stop a fully grown adult from overpowering a child. Nor does good parenting mean you won’t turn out to be a total nutcase – it’s just a better chance you won’t.

  13. Katia

    May 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    My 2 yr old girl is also interested when I apply makeup but she easily agrees to wait till

  14. Sarah-Jane

    May 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Most of these commenters have NO F–ING IDEA how pedophilia works. The majority of pedophiles PREFER

    • Sarah-Jane

      May 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Of course. Post malfunction.
      Anyway. Most pedophiles prefer children without makeup. With that ‘childlike innocence.” THAT’S WHY THEY’RE PEDOPHILES.
      It’s not like they’re out looking for mini-adults. They are looking for children.
      Sure, some may like them to look older, but make up on a child does not invite pedophiles.

      It may make her think she needs make up to be pretty, though. Whole other issue.

  15. May

    May 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Might I just point out that JonBenét Ramsay wasn’t even sexually abused. The people/person who killed her were probably not pedophiles.

    • Anonymous

      May 4, 2012 at 2:20 am

      Actually she could have been molested, they didn’t rule it out.

  16. Jaycee

    May 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Little girls shouldn’t be wearing makeup. They should be playing sports, reading books, painting, learning to play instruments… things that make them better human beings. They have their whole lives to become self-conscious about their appearance, to experiment with makeup and to value the superficial over things that actually matter. Putting your little girls in heels, makeup, and skimpy clothing sexualizes them and reinforces the stereotype that they can’t be attractive naturally. It’s inappropriate. That being said, it’s a little ridiculous to claim that putting makeup on your child will make her pedobait.

    • Katie

      May 3, 2012 at 4:41 am

      But Lindsay’s daughter is not wearing skimpy clothing and heels, so why bother even bringing that out?

      And the term ‘pedobait’ is disgusting. Please do not use that term, it is offensive. People are not bait for predators than you very much.

    • Sam

      May 3, 2012 at 6:28 am

      Who are you to say what they should or shouldn’t be doing? If they’re interested in costumes and makeup, how is that not something they should be allowed to do? Being good at designing clothing or expressing artistic interests through makeup and whatnot are not merely superficial things–they’re exciting interests for people to pursue. If a kid is forced into playing an instrument or playing a sport rather than doing something he or she is actually interested in, that is far, far more superficial and purposeless than letting them put on makeup if they feel like it.

  17. wildflower

    May 3, 2012 at 5:16 am

    I agree that the pedophile argument isnt good enough, or tasteful, or correct. But there is something sickening about parents who sexualizing the bodies of their daughters with makeup (and sometimes ‘grownup’ clothes and heels) who are only little girls. Let them be children and stop using them as as a vessel for your twisted ego.. But thats just my opinion.

  18. Samantha Escobar

    May 3, 2012 at 6:25 am

    When I was a little kid, my mom used to put makeup on me. Sometimes, I’d dress up as a cat, sometimes as a mouse, sometimes in bright pink lipstick with bright pink cheeks. It was fun and still one of the best memories I have with my mother.

    I’m 22 now, and I’m a professional makeup artist. My mother wasn’t trying to make me into an adult or have me look “too mature” for my age; she was letting me express my creativity in the ways I wanted to. I’ve always loved costumes and makeup; basically, if my mom had ignored what made me happy when I was a kid, I might not be happy with the career I presently have today!

    It’s incredibly disturbing to say that pedophiles exist because of how little girls dress–if this were true, then does that mean we’re operating under the assumption that every kid who has ever been molested was, in the most basic of terms, “asking for it”? Of course not; it is the fault of the perpetrator and the perpetrator alone. Telling kids they shouldn’t be allowed to wear face paint or makeup because pedophiles will attack them teaches them two things:
    1) It’s your responsibility to prevent yourself from being raped. It’s not up to the rapist to prevent it from occurring. (Seriously, this is like saying that only forest fires can prevent forest fires.)
    2) Your choices should depend on how other people might perceive you, which–at the very least–will decrease their confidence and potentially make them overly fearful.

    Anyways, I just wanted to share my support. Makeup is awesome and fun and is just another way of expressing yourself; the connotations placed upon that are up to viewer and it never ceases to amaze me how many viewers assume that their opinions are universal truths.

  19. kims

    May 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    i agree with the writer 100%. my nieces, ages 5 & 7, LOVE to play dress up & wear make-up & pretend to go to fancy parties, & pretend to be princesses. my 6 yr old daughter is not into any of that at all. she is into books & sports. i gave my nieces make-up kits for easter, & my daughter a basketball. when i see my nieces playing dress-up & putting on make-up, i don’t think, omg, they’re going to get themselves attacked, or, what could my brother be thinking??? i think, oh, they’re girly-girls, & my daughter’s a tomboy through & through, & all 3 have the emotions of a pms-ing teenager.

    the only thing i don’t agree with in regards to my nieces, is that my ex-SIL bought them high-heeled boots. they both fall when they try to wear them. i’m not quite sure why this bothers me.

  20. Common Sense

    May 4, 2012 at 2:13 am

    The term “victim blaming” CAN’T be applied to everything. Are we blaming this girl or her parents for what happened to them 100%? No, not at all. We’re just saying that they are basically being put in a pedophile ring – beauty pageants? Psh. If the shoe fits, wear it. People are in denial to say that the things these girls are made to do and how they look are not a flytrap for pedophiles. It’s GOOD that we don’t have dirty minds and we are simply entertained by these “little dolls,” but there are definitely pedos in the organization who gain enjoyment from it. Pedophiles can “get their fix by simply hugging kids” etc according to the DSM and like to act like kids are “grown ups.” It’s a taboo subject but it can’t be ignored. Not all kids are going to scream and shout when a stranger does something to them. Look at Corey Feldman. The moment I see these girls “grinding” in dances, wearing “big girl” clothes and makeup like underwear & fake boobs, etc it becomes TOO MUCH. The girls don’t get it but the adults feel appalled. My stomach is seriously turning writing about it, but if it stirs the gut then it’s wrong, IMO. By the way, Jon Benet wasn’t murdered by her parents, but she might have attracted a predator by being in the spotlight. It’s all just very suspicious to organize these “beauty pageants” – not always, but some are definitely…off. You don’t need a sick mind to get that, just be less naive than a child.

    • Claire Beart

      May 4, 2012 at 4:33 am

      Were not talking about little girls grinding while dancing, underwear, fake boobs or beauty pageants.

      We are talking about a tube of lipgloss.

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