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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
click the volcano for the due explanation
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Exaggeration is the spice of life

Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Touchy Topic Tuesday"- Little Girls And Makeup

**Welcome to "Touchy Topic Tuesday" where each week I will post a controversial topic, and my opinion on it, and then leave the discussion open to all my readers. I am starting out small and mild with "Little Girls And Makeup"- however, if things go well and a CIVIL conversation ensues, i will be adding things that are even more controversial in weeks to come. The key here is to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and there is no need to try to make someone change theirs. Any disrespectful, anonymous, or snarky comments will not be posted. Thanks!**

PS: Don't forget to grab my button (Left sidebar) and visit me every day. YOu are welcom to join me for a touchy topic day- post your touchy topic, and come on over to MY touchy topic tuesday to see what's up. Then make sure you leave a comment, and you can add your blog link to the mck linky provided below! Lots of discussion on Tuesdays, and lots of blog traffic.

I remember wearing a purple tutu with gold trim over a purple silk leotard. My fishnet tights were black, and I had a gold sequin tiara. I was seated on the bathroom counter, my eyes staring at the ceiling while my mother lined my eyes in pitch black, and painted my long, three year old lashes with mascara. The most dazzling thing yet, though, was the thick red lipstick she smeared across my pouty little mouth.

I tap danced at an amusement park that day, but it was the makeup that was on my mind.

And the day i started wearing it on a regular basis was...well, I don't remember. makeup is just kind of second nature for me now.

But it isn't for my girls. Every morning, while I put on my base, eyeshadow, my mascara, and occasionally some lipstick (it's usually an earthy tone as my skin is olive, my hair is dark and my eyes look green against browns- though I do break out the Mac Reds for sizzle every once in awhile. I just can't say no to vintage.) - my girls watch with wonder in their big, beautiful eyes. Even Scarlet, with her adorably high pitched little voice, asks "Mommy, I have some eye shadow today?"

And, of course, I say "Of course!"

I have to admit that I just LOVE to smear on some pretty pink or light purple color over my girls eye lids. Sometimes, I put on some light lipstick, and they both always have their own chap sticks in their pockets.

On a regular basis, my daughters wear perfume (Tinkerbell) and my even my son wears cologne (Bod). Many times, the girls will ask me to brush glitter over their new eyeshadow. And, again, I do that too.

Nail polish: A MUST! Lilly asks me just about every other day. I have to paint her fingers and her toes. And they have to match.

I have actually been confronted on a few occasions for my allowing my daughters to wear my makeup. One such incident was while I was walking Lilly, then 3, into a high school gym for her first dance recital. Lilly was pretty excited, and ran to hug her little dancer friend, but her mother looked at me with a poorly hidden expression of shock on her face.

"Wow, Lilly...and you're, even....eye liner too. Is that red lipstick?"

At that point, she took her daughter's hand and walked briskly away without any more words. And I think I stopped and stared after her for quite a long moment before Lilly dragged me along. First of all, it had never occurred to me that makeup was a bad thing for a little girl. I always do it FOR her, and it's always pretty, subtle pinks, just a touch of color on her lips or cheeks. Okay- there is always glitter. A LOT of glitter. But how many adults do you know who wear glitter? Glitter is MADE for little girls! There is never any mascara, never anything bawdy. But it most assuredly didn't make sense to me that a child wearing makeup when she was going to be on STAGE should be looked down upon at all. I mean, I have spent my life performing, be it in dance or theatre...and people on stage should wear makeup! (Okay- in this woman's defense, stage makeup IS a little over the top, as was Lilly's that day. It wasn't anything I would let her wear to school or to the store...well, maybe to the store if it were one of those days we were having aggregious ammounts of fun with makeup and got carried away- but never school or church. The point of stage makeup is to make your eyes and mouth stand out. And it did. I have videos to prove it.)

Essentially, the most common argument I ever hear is that makeup makes little girls look slutty. Well, can you answer me this: Do my little girls look slutty? I mean, they're 4 and 2. Anyone who would think they look slutty has a serious problem and should probably be registered somewhere. Makeup doesn't make people look slutty. Cleavage touting blouses, shorts that crawl up your butt crack and thigh high boots make you look slutty. Going commando in a miniskirt makes you look slutty.

Okay. Okay. I'm exaggerating. Because when I was 14, I knew quite a few girls who looked pretty out-there...but I didn't think they looked slutty or older, I thought they looked a lot like girls who just didn't know how to wear makeup. It should be subtle right? It should enhance a woman's beauty, not paint her as though she were a Picasso. Ladies, do you remember that movie My Girl? There is a line in there that goes somewhat like this: "A girl can never wear too much blue eyeshadow." --And that, my friends, is one of the reasons people were so hideous in the '70's.

I intend to continue to indulge my girls' fascination with makeups. And I intend to be involved every step of the way. When they know how to wear it beautifully, I won't worry about it when they are teens.

So, what are YOUR thoughts on little girls and makeup? How old do YOU feel is 'old enough' and how young do you feel is 'too young'?

Remember, friends, play nice.


Buckeroomama said...

My mom only ever wears make-up when performing, so I grew up not really being into make-up. Even now, the most I wear would be base + light blush + light eye shadow + lipstick --and that's on days when I have meetings. :)

I don't mind seeing little girls with make-up now and then, though. Kinda cute sometimes. :)

Swati said...

I have you featured in my blogroll now as part of the Back Link group at MBC :-)!

Elizabeth said...

MAKE UP!!!!!!!!!! for one and ALL!!!! My girls (nieces) get it every time I visit! LOVE IT!

Jamie said...

I really don't think there should be any rules on who should and shouldn't wear make-up. Just like I'd get mad if anyone told me I MUST wear make-up as an adult woman, I'd get mad if someone said a little girl that wanted to wear it (with her parent's permission) shouldn't be allowed to.

Make-up on little girls always feels like an extension of dress up to me. I agree, anyone who thinks it sexualizes them should not be around any little girls, with or without make-up.

I think your Touchy Topic Tuesday posts will be my favorite. :)

christeenyZ said...

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup until I was a teenager, and I learned my makeup skills from my grandmother, who never left the house without "putting her face on". I know I over did it. Now, I hardly ever wear it, and when I do, it's pretty subtle. My girls are 4 and 3(next week) and they don't wear it yet. I did let them wear it on halloween (they went as rock stars). But, I don't see a problem with it, as long as it's subtle (stage makeup, on the other hand, has to be more than subtle..thats the point of it). I think it's up the parents, whether to let their girls wear it, and up to them to teach them how to use it.
great post. keep it up.

johana said...

I think it's just a bit rough to suggest that anyone who thinks that little girls should not wear make-up should "be registered" somewhere. I mean- here's my opinion but if you disagree, you're probably a pedophile sorta lacks some civility...

I allow my daughter to wear make-up occasionally. I don't buy her make-up and I don't make it routine. If she's watching me put on make-up, I'll sometimes put some lipstick on her but then again, I don't wear make-up routinely. I generally tell her that she's beautiful enough without it.

Personally, I believe it's primarily a self-esteem thing. I've known plenty of kids who couldn't understand that they're beautiful without a face-full of make-up and can't recognise their natural beauty. When it's approached in that way, make-up is about having a mask rather than accentuating what's naturally there. I think we can all find plenty of examples of this amongst adults.

I do think there are issues with sexualizing children. And no. It's not because I find children sexy but because make-up is used in a way which accentuates the sexual allure of women. Why do women make themselves up to have pouty lips and big eyes and flushed cheeks? All are naturally occurring signs of arousal. No, most women do not consciously think of make-up this way because it's a societal norm (as our ideas of attractiveness link strongly with our sexuality and the primal need to find a mate and reproduce) but I do find it just a little odd to be mimicking the very adult signals of sexual readiness and availability in a child.

As a former drama student, I love me a bit of stage make-up. :) I see the idea of stage make-up as entirely different than everyday make-up. It's needed on a stage (even for boys) because otherwise under the strong lighting and with the audience at a distance, the performers face would otherwise be washed out and hard to see. Even with dress-ups and Halloween costumes, make-up becomes part of the costume rather than the usual application.

As I said, I do put make-up on my daughter from time to time and this isn't a burning issue for me. I would certainly not look down on another parent who chose to put make-up on their child or act in the way the mother did at your daughters dance recital but I did want to present a differing point of view.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Joana- I didn't say that anyone who disagrees with me should be registered, I said that anyone who thinks my 4 and 2 year old look SLUTTY should be registered somewhere, because as a mother, I think it's impossible for children this age to look slutty. Please feel free to re-read my post to gain a better understanding of what I implied.

I think you have a valid argument with the self esteem issue. Fortunately, I am 100% sure that my daughters' self esteems don't rely on their makeup. I tell them they're beautiful all the time, and I also emphasise that they are smart, and kind, and that they are good girls too. I don't feel that makeup is the cause of the rise of female self esteem problems. If they feel that makeup is the only way to be beautiful, then there are other underlying problems there.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

I should add, also, that I don't even wear makeup EVERY day- and when I don't wear makeup, they don't, because they don't ask unless they see me doing it. (We moms don't do anything in private. LOL) It's not a MUST for me to wear makeup everywhere- even in public. Hopefully, this helps keep that self esteem NEED for makeup at bay.

Hey, THANK YOU EVERYONE for your comments so far!

Annette Piper said...

I often go without makeup for days here on the farm however I do use mascara and maybe some kohl when I go to town. I rarely wear lippie and 'the works' is reserved for special evening occasions.

However in summer my toenails are always painted!

Consequence: my girls have only worn makeup for concert appearances (but this doesn't pertain to glitter - that's just mandatory when you're a little girl!). They do have some kids makeup sets and a couple of times a year they might indulge. However they LOVE to have their toenails painted, but I try to stick with lighter colours. Fingernails are only allowed to be painted during holidays as they're not allowed it at school.

gadget said...

i dont have girls so i might be out of touch a little (lol). but i remember taking my mom's make up and putting it on when i was around my oldest age of 5. i had raccoon eyes but i thought i looked good.

now, when i do my make up, which is rare anymore but when i do my boys put make up on too. my youngest more than my oldest. they get the eye shadow out & the blush. i let them, i see no problem in it. i also have glitter spray (got it for halloween) and i had to hide it bc my youngest thought he needed to wear it all the time. i wipe it off (if it is too much aka my youngest) before we go anywhere. it is fun and i see nothing wrong with it, either sex!

as i said, i dont have girls so i am a little out of my league but i see no problem with it. it is for fun.

btw i wore make up to every one of my dance shows. all the girls that i danced with did. it is part of the fun of dance, getting to be someone else!

Elizabeth said...

So my vote once again is MAKE UP!!!!!!!!!! Hooray for the the feminine art of it, the girl bonding experience and the creative outlet of it. Of course mothers have to object to it, criticize it and be apposed to too much of it... but Glitter for one and All! blush and lip gloss for all ages! I am so glad that I am an Auntie and can DRENCH my 3 yr old nieces in it, buy too much of it for my 8yr old and dream of the day when my 18 month old will ask for more that lip gloss!

ps I really just came by to tell you to send my your address via facebook cuz I wanna send you something;)

johana said...

I am not a volcano - I'm sorry if I offended you. I wasn't meaning to direct that comment (or for it to sound so darned snarky) solely at you but also at "I agree, anyone who thinks it sexualizes them should not be around any little girls, with or without make-up.". There is a distinct difference in recognizing that there is a valid argument against make-up on little girls due to wanting to avoid sexualisation of children and actually seeing children in a sexual light yourself.

I wasn't trying to make it personal to your situation. Hence my use of the words "personally" and "I believe" rather than speaking in absolutes. And also, as I said, it's not a hot topic for me so I don't really care that much one way or another. :) Subtleties are often missed on the internet.

It's awesome that you work to bolster your kids self-esteem as well. I do the same with my daughter. I tell her she's beautiful on the outside but it's the inside that's really most important. It's something that's becoming a real issue because even at the tender age of seven she comes home from school telling me that such-and-such weighs x amount and so-and-so is able to lift up this girl but not that girl. There's not a scrap of fat on her but she's made of muscle and much heavier than she looks (like me) so occasionally I catch her pinching at non-existent love handles and the like. :( The joys of having a little girl...

It's a relief to me that none of the girls she's friends with wear make-up because, for my daughter, that would be just one extra point to compare and worry about. Like I said, I like doing the occasional bit of lipstick with her but we never put too much emphasis on it or do it routinely at all because, for Indy, it'd be a problem.

It's probably also worth noting that I did a lot more of the make-up thing with Inds when she was smaller. It was never an issue for her then but as appearance becomes more of a hot topic for her, I find myself more and more emphasizing the importance of loving yourself exactly as you are without embellishment.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Beth, come to Utah. I miss you, and I don't even know you. LOL.

Johana-Never fear- I wasn't offended, just making sure that my comment wasn't misinterpreted. I think a lot of disagreements stem from misinterpretation.And I hope I didn't offend you with my answer either.

I do remember those days in school when I started getting self concious. For me, it was my hair. I had no bangs, and my mom wouldn't let me cut them. She wanted my hair long and all one length. LOL. The '80's rocked (not.) It's always going to be something, you know? And I hope with all my heart that I'll be able to shield my kids from the worst of it.

BTW, Indy? THat's a really cute name- my son always calls himself Indy (As in Indiana Jones...) but I never thought of it for a girl, and it's really pretty.

esianoyam3 said...

I totally hear you on the hair! I had the opposite problem, though - my mom gave me the big poofy bangs, and I hated them (the boys used to say it looked like dynamite had exploded on top of my head). Once my mom finally let me grow out my bangs, it was YEARS before I decided to try them again.

I can kind of see both sides of this one. I think makeup (especially for dress up purposes) is fine to a certain extent, but I feel like there should be limits to when, where, and how much.

When she was about 18 months old, my EDD started taking brushes from me when I was doing my makeup in the morning in order to mimic what I was doing (her accuracy in where to apply her "makeup" was sort of uncanny). When she became more verbal, she would ask me to put makeup on her while I was getting ready - I'd usually just brush my powder brush all over her face, but didn't actually put any makeup on her.

She wore "real" makeup for the first time last year for her dance recital. It was fun, but it was sort of sad to see her looking so grown up. Personally, I think a lot of the fun of a dance recital is the costume, which in my mind, includes makeup. Stage makeup is totally different than every day makeup - I wouldn't be okay with her wearing that type of makeup in public, but it's necessary in order to be seen on stage.

We do nail polish on occasion, but her dad doesn't like the smell of wet nail polish, so neither of us wear nail polish all the time. I'm not opposed to it, although I don't usually let her wear my black nail polish. :) I don't mind it for certain themed photo shoots, but for "every day" nail polish, I prefer she wear something softer and more girly.

Since she's in school now, she's starting to experience the beginning of self esteem issues. It's amazing how young girls are when they start to feel like their weight and/or appearance is an issue (she's not a big girl by any means). I'm really trying to teach her that she's beautiful and that it has nothing to do with clothing, hair, makeup, etc. So for me, personally, I've tried to avoid letting her feel like makeup is a necessity. She has her own chapstick and lipgloss, but at this point in time, I tell her that she's beautiful and doesn't need makeup. Besides, I already feel like she's growing up too fast. I want to let her be and look like a little girl for as long as possible.

As far as the dress up thing goes, she's never really asked for makeup as part of playing dress up. She flits around the house in her frilly skirts, capes, tiaras etc, and that's enough to make her feel like a princess. If she *asked* for makeup while playing dress up, I'd probably oblige on occasion, but it's never been something she's requested, and I'm not going to suggest it to her.

The only time I find makeup on little girls to be truly unsettling is when I see those little beauty pageant girls on tv. Between the makeup, the spray tans, the big (usually fake) hair, and the scanty clothing, it's just disturbing to me. I've also been to a few festivals where dance studios perform, and the overdone makeup along with the way-too-grown-up clothing and suggestive dance moves bother me.

But glitter and lipgloss for playing dress up at home? I don't have a problem with moms letting their girls play with makeup. Like I said, if my daughter begged for it while playing dress up, I'd probably oblige. However, since it hasn't really crossed her mind to request anything other than lipgloss, I'm not going to force it on her.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Shallyse- I agree about the pageants. I think they're pretty disturbing too.

johana said...

Sorry for the essays, btw.. :blush: I need to learn to write less. :D

And thanks so much for the compliment on the name. She's actually called Indiana (like Indiana Jones but not because of Indiana Jones... ;) ) and doesn't like getting called 'Indy'. At all. :D I've told her that I named her so I can call her whatever I want so she tolerates it from me... :D

Shallyse- Isn't it just awful how young all of that starts. Indy's 7 and has just finished her second year of school and it's been pretty full on for the last 6 months or so. I mean, this is a kid who was chronically (although not seriously) ill for most of last year, went through surgery and started looking like a bag of bones compared to her usual robust self worrying about her *weight*?!?! Incredibly sad...

When she started school at just 5 though, she wouldn't go without her big pink aviator sunnies because the grade six girls thought she was cool in them. :facepalm: Luckily (I guess) she's pretty immune to peer pressure in other ways so tends away from bullying which her peers seem to be pros at already.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Thanks everyone: I think Touchy Topic Tuesday was very successful! Can't wait for another topic next week!!!


I think makeup is ok for little girls, I use to put it on my girls When I was in 6th grade two of my classmates wore makeup to school everyday and yes it was blue eyeshadow, liner and I decided i was going to also. The first day I went to school with makeup on the teacher took me into the hall and explained that makeup was not allowed. So I asked her why could lisa and susie have makeup and not me...she never answered but called my no makeup for me while the other girls were still allowed. Im telling you my makeup was not thick or heavy or blue!..found your blog thru MBC

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

It is just like playing dress up! I used to paint my little girl's nails and she just loved it!

Now she is 10 and sometimes puts on the tiniest amount of pink eyeshadow on on the weekends. She loves it.

I am following you too!

Shmonae said...

I love this post, especially because of my home full of girls! I nominated you for an award at Love your blog!

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Awww, THANKS Janae- I read yours every day as well- and I'm working on setting up an award system. I have SO many blogs I would LOVE to recognize!!!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

What an awesome post and a great topic. I wish I had some little girls so I could put makeup on them. But I have little boys. So put makeup on them instead. It's their idea, really. They are five and two. We don't go out with it (not much anyway) and it's usually just blush and lip gloss. But my 5 year old esp. just loves lip gloss. He wants his own to carry in his pocket, but my husband says no. So I give him his own berry flavored chapstick instead. You're only young once, right?

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