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Feb 16 2012

Makeup for Kids? Yuck.

By at 1:01 pm

eye shadowEleven-year-old boys watching porn and now 7-year-old girls wearing makeup.

The voyeur and the objectified, getting ever younger.

The New York Times recently had an article about make-up for the “tweens” and their younger sisters.

What’s next? Wigs for newborns? Bet they’ll only be marketed to baby girls.

The article talked about “the tween beauty sophisticate” to whom anti-aging (sic) products were being pitched. (What? They don’t want 7-year-olds to look like they’re 8? And yet they want them to wear makeup?!) Most cosmetic users start at age 10, it reported. A favorite item, “created” by the 15-year-old daughter of that master of good taste Madonna, is a package of four eye shadows and a black liner called “Smoky and Sexy.” (Yeah–how many of you moms and dads want your kids to look “sexy”?) A new Disney character-themed beauty line will be introduced by Target and Willa Cosmetics, “aimed at the 7 to 14 set,” was created by a mom “looking for beauty options for her 8-year-old daughter.” (Italics, mine.)

“Some girls are hitting puberty at 9 or 10-years-old. They’re popping up with pimples. It makes them self-conscious. And that’s why we have a concealer that covers up acne,” says one marketing wizard. Whatever happened to Clearisil? And exactly where are those pimples? On the eyelids? The lips?

So now we have my generation of aging baby boomers convinced that there is shame in wrinkles and sags. Your generation of moms is being convinced that only a svelte, model’s body (even immediately post-partum) guarantees a hot sex life, ensuring marital bliss. And your daughters, and my granddaughters, are being indoctrinated that their sweet, fresh, clean faces are imperfect and need makeup.

Where does this denigration, dare I say “contempt,” for the natural female form, face, and figure end? And why are people buying into it? Most terribly–why are women the leaders in creating, branding, and marketing these products? Why are girls and women just not good enough from cradle to grave?

I admit I am horrified and so, so sad. When we are fighting such an insidious enemy as imperfection, how can we win? How can we help our daughters and granddaughters feel beautiful from the inside out? Why, oh why, would any sane person put makeup on a young child? What message are we giving these (very) young “little women?” How can they grow up to accept imperfection as an inherent part of the human condition?

And why do boys get off scot-free? They get to watch while the girls learn to preen.

(Let’s not get started on the TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras.” That is an obscene show and the mothers are pimps as far as I’m concerned.)

And let’s not fool ourselves. This “beauty” effort is to please the male of the species and to make lots of money for the geniuses who come up with these ideas. These campaigns have to convince girls, ever younger and younger, that they are just not pretty enough or sexy enough (even when they have no concept of “sexy”) and they need to look better for the boys.

(And, by the way, anyone who gets a Brazilian wax is not doing it for herself. It’s for the man in her life. A little sick, I’ve always thought. And self-hating. Is that Brazilian-waxing mom more likely to buy make-up for her toddler?)

I got to see my three granddaughters this week. To me, they are perfect in every way. And it’s my job to make them feel like that for as long as I live. Even when they have a pimple, even when they are not “the prettiest girl in the class,” even when their heart will inevitably be broken by a boy.

And when it’s time–when it’s really time– for a little blush or lip gloss, I will tell them that no one, absolutely no one, has ever really looked good in blue eye shadow.


Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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