Should kids be allowed to wear make up?

Should we let our three-year-old girl wear make-up? | Mail Online.jpg

I was reading that wealth of unbiased reporting known as the Daily Mail Newspaper (I read it when I need to be incensed – like before returning an item to a shop, and also for the comments. Daily Mail readers really love to comment) when I spotted an debate between two parents over whether their young daughter, aged 3 should be allowed to wear make up.

Introduction:

Carl Johnston, 44, is a TV producer who lives with his wife Rachel Halliwell, 40, a writer, in Cheshire and their daughters Bronte, 13, Merrily, ten, and Bridie, who will be three in June.

Ok, I am not even going to comment on the names.

So the dad, Carl comes home and his youngest is showing him a lip gloss she got. Says Dad:

It turns out the lip gloss was a gift that came free with Bridie’s weekly magazine – a comic covered in pictures of innocent TV characters including Peppa Pig and Angelina Ballerina.

Rachel thought knowing this might make me feel better. In fact, it made me feel a whole lot worse.

I’ve fought a losing battle in recent years to keep my older daughters little girls for as long as possible.

Watching the innocence evaporate has been heartbreaking for me. When I was their age, I was building dens with my mates and riding my bike.

Bronte and Merrily are obsessed with mobile phones, make-up, shopping and boys. I find myself mourning the days when they believed in Santa and the tooth fairy…

The other day I returned from work to find her with pink fingernails, courtesy of her sisters. I told them to wipe it off. Bridie cried and called me mean.

‘You don’t need that rubbish, baby,’ I told her. ‘I not your baby, Daddy,’ she sobbed. ‘I a big girl.’

And so I winced from yet another blow to my heart.

Mum Says:

Children emulate their parents, and a girl’s earliest role model is her mother.

So, if mummy has a special bag full of face paints, then, of course, her daughter is going to want one, too.

Our older girls sit on our bed rifling through my make-up and chatting as I put on my face before a night out. (This is partly a ruse, I know, to see if I’ve anything worth pilfering, but it’s also a lovely ritual cherished by me and several other mothers I know.)

When they were toddlers, they were as fascinated with the contents of my make-up bag as their little sister is now. Just as I was with my mother’s cosmetics 30-odd years ago…

Of course, I’m appalled when I see a seven-year-old carrying a Playboy pencil case into school, and dismayed by the little girls, no older than five, who play in our park in sequin crop tops and horribly short skirts.

But I don’t believe there’s any harm in little girls liking makeup. That is something that will only change when we big girls go off the stuff, too.

My thoughts? It’s a difficult subject and its a fine line between what is ‘cute’ and what is ‘trashy’ for a little girl.

On one hand I think it’s quite normal for a little girl to be fascinated and play with her mother’s make up bag (I know I was) but it was a clandestine affair; I would play with the loudest red lipstick then wash it off before she had the chance to find out – maybe because I realised a little girl shouldn’t be wearing make up?

But should a girl of 3 have her own make up collection? Debatable perhaps.

When me and Megs make her make over videos, I made it as clear as possible in the descriptions that she was just playing with make up, in the way that one may with paints. As soon as she was done, we’d wash it off – she isn’t allowed out with any kind of make up at all (nor would she want to leave the house with it on anyway.)

But some people still thought she was applying make up for real, probably just before she put on some baby high heels and trotted off the a street corner to drink White Lightning*

And then there were people who seemed to think she was being locked up in a room and forced to make up videos instead of “playing outside like a little girl”. Duh! Megs has a better social life than me, and has already moved on from Make Up videos to collecting ants and learning to kick butt.

Anyway, my point is, something that is quite innocent can be easily misconstrued.

*Very cheap cider – it’s a northern British thing…

Carl Johnston, 44, is a TV producer who lives with his wife Rachel Halliwell, 40, a writer, in Cheshire and their daughters Bronte, 13, Merrily, ten, and Bridie, who will be three in June.

Ok, I am not even going to comment on the names.

So the dad, Carl comes home and his youngest is showing him a lip gloss she got. Says Dad:

It turns out the lip gloss was a gift that came free with Bridie’s weekly magazine – a comic covered in pictures of innocent TV characters including Peppa Pig and Angelina Ballerina.

Rachel thought knowing this might make me feel better. In fact, it made me feel a whole lot worse.

I’ve fought a losing battle in recent years to keep my older daughters little girls for as long as possible.

Watching the innocence evaporate has been heartbreaking for me. When I was their age, I was building dens with my mates and riding my bike.

Bronte and Merrily are obsessed with mobile phones, make-up, shopping and boys. I find myself mourning the days when they believed in Santa and the tooth fairy…

The other day I returned from work to find her with pink fingernails, courtesy of her sisters. I told them to wipe it off. Bridie cried and called me mean.

‘You don’t need that rubbish, baby,’ I told her. ‘I not your baby, Daddy,’ she sobbed. ‘I a big girl.’

And so I winced from yet another blow to my heart.

Mum Says:

Children emulate their parents, and a girl’s earliest role model is her mother.

So, if mummy has a special bag full of face paints, then, of course, her daughter is going to want one, too.

Our older girls sit on our bed rifling through my make-up and chatting as I put on my face before a night out. (This is partly a ruse, I know, to see if I’ve anything worth pilfering, but it’s also a lovely ritual cherished by me and several other mothers I know.)

When they were toddlers, they were as fascinated with the contents of my make-up bag as their little sister is now. Just as I was with my mother’s cosmetics 30-odd years ago…

Of course, I’m appalled when I see a seven-year-old carrying a Playboy pencil case into school, and dismayed by the little girls, no older than five, who play in our park in sequin crop tops and horribly short skirts.

But I don’t believe there’s any harm in little girls liking makeup. That is something that will only change when we big girls go off the stuff, too.

My thoughts? It’s a difficult subject and its a fine line between what is ‘cute’ and what is ‘trashy’ for a little girl.

On one hand I think it’s quite normal for a little girl to be fascinated and play with her mother’s make up bag (I know I was) but it was a clandestine affair; I would play with the loudest red lipstick then wash it off before she had the chance to find out – maybe because I realised a little girl shouldn’t be wearing make up?

But should a girl of 3 have her own make up collection? Debatable perhaps.

When me and Megs make her make over videos, I made it as clear as possible in the descriptions that she was just playing with make up, in the way that one may with paints. As soon as she was done, we’d wash it off – she isn’t allowed out with any kind of make up at all (nor would she want to leave the house with it on anyway.)

But some people still thought she was applying make up for real, probably just before she put on some baby high heels and trotted off the a street corner to drink White Lightning*

And then there were people who seemed to think she was being locked up in a room and forced to make up videos instead of “playing outside like a little girl”. Duh! Megs has a better social life than me, and has already moved on from Make Up videos to collecting ants and learning to kick butt.

Anyway, my point is, something that is quite innocent can be easily misconstrued.

*Very cheap cider – it’s a northern British thing…

Carl Johnston, 44, is a TV producer who lives with his wife Rachel Halliwell, 40, a writer, in Cheshire and their daughters Bronte, 13, Merrily, ten, and Bridie, who will be three in June.

Ok, I am not even going to comment on the names.

So the dad, Carl comes home and his youngest is showing him a lip gloss she got. Says Dad:

It turns out the lip gloss was a gift that came free with Bridie’s weekly magazine – a comic covered in pictures of innocent TV characters including Peppa Pig and Angelina Ballerina.

Rachel thought knowing this might make me feel better. In fact, it made me feel a whole lot worse.

I’ve fought a losing battle in recent years to keep my older daughters little girls for as long as possible.

Watching the innocence evaporate has been heartbreaking for me. When I was their age, I was building dens with my mates and riding my bike.

Bronte and Merrily are obsessed with mobile phones, make-up, shopping and boys. I find myself mourning the days when they believed in Santa and the tooth fairy…

The other day I returned from work to find her with pink fingernails, courtesy of her sisters. I told them to wipe it off. Bridie cried and called me mean.

‘You don’t need that rubbish, baby,’ I told her. ‘I not your baby, Daddy,’ she sobbed. ‘I a big girl.’

And so I winced from yet another blow to my heart.

Mum Says:

Children emulate their parents, and a girl’s earliest role model is her mother.

So, if mummy has a special bag full of face paints, then, of course, her daughter is going to want one, too.

Our older girls sit on our bed rifling through my make-up and chatting as I put on my face before a night out. (This is partly a ruse, I know, to see if I’ve anything worth pilfering, but it’s also a lovely ritual cherished by me and several other mothers I know.)

When they were toddlers, they were as fascinated with the contents of my make-up bag as their little sister is now. Just as I was with my mother’s cosmetics 30-odd years ago…

Of course, I’m appalled when I see a seven-year-old carrying a Playboy pencil case into school, and dismayed by the little girls, no older than five, who play in our park in sequin crop tops and horribly short skirts.

But I don’t believe there’s any harm in little girls liking makeup. That is something that will only change when we big girls go off the stuff, too.

My thoughts? It’s a difficult subject and its a fine line between what is ‘cute’ and what is ‘trashy’ for a little girl.

On one hand I think it’s quite normal for a little girl to be fascinated and play with her mother’s make up bag (I know I was) but it was a clandestine affair; I would play with the loudest red lipstick then wash it off before she had the chance to find out – maybe because I realised a little girl shouldn’t be wearing make up?

But should a girl of 3 have her own make up collection? Debatable perhaps.

When me and Megs make her make over videos, I made it as clear as possible in the descriptions that she was just playing with make up, in the way that one may with paints. As soon as she was done, we’d wash it off – she isn’t allowed out with any kind of make up at all (nor would she want to leave the house with it on anyway.)

But some people still thought she was applying make up for real, probably just before she put on some baby high heels and trotted off the a street corner to drink White Lightning*

And then there were people who seemed to think she was being locked up in a room and forced to make up videos instead of “playing outside like a little girl”. Duh! Megs has a better social life than me, and has already moved on from Make Up videos to collecting ants and learning to kick butt.

Anyway, my point is, something that is quite innocent can be easily misconstrued.

*Very cheap cider – it’s a northern British thing…

So basically I have no clear answer to this. I do think that young girls should not be sexualized or be exposed too much too young – there are so many factors and it’s up to the parent to decide what is suitable.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. I played with makeup when I was little, and see nothing wrong with it. I even had my own collection! Granted, they were all free Avon samples, or colors that didn’t work for my mom, and so became my playthings. I knew the rules; don’t wear it outside the house, clean up after you’re done, stop painting your brothers. When I wasn’t playing with my makeup, I was climbing trees, skipping rope, dancing to music, playing with my toy cars… I see no more problem with it than I do with little kids getting face paint to play army soldiers, or having Nerf toys around. It’s the parents that make a big deal out of things like this; a child has no idea on whether something is “right” or “wrong” according to their parents until their parents react.

    • Hi Kaoru

      That’s true – the child in the report seemed quite innocent about it all untill the dad told her to wash it off….I think most kids have a balance of things it’s not a big deal. Make up seems to be a play thing for a lot of kids anyway, not a way of tempting boys!

  2. Interesting debate… I myself agree with you. I wouldn’t have my kids use makeup or wear “sexy” clothing… and then with discretion. though right now I’m seeing more parents here in my area having their kids wear stuff like that.

    • Hi Abby

      I do find the sexy kids clothing far more disturbing than a bit of tinted lip balm! I was walking through selfridges and there’s all this TACKY HORRID kids Juicy Couture clothing, and shoes with heels on them (for a child!!!!). Crop tops….training bras that are padded….thongs for kids…wrong, but I blame the parents dumb enough to buy them!

  3. I once covered my entire face with all the colours from a palette I had. I of course thought it was magical and that I looked like some kind of butterfly but our neighbour, no kidding, jumped and screamed when I went to play in the garden. Good one :)

  4. thongs for kids… gawsh what is wrong with fashion designers??!! And parents?

    A bit of tinted lip balm is ok… used to love lip glosses when I was young =D but the worst thing is a 6 year old wearing sparkly eyeshadow.

    • Hey Abby

      Yes I have definately seen thongs for girls (well young teens from the age of about 11 – not really quite a teen). I hated seeing young dancers! They are ALWAYS caked in stage make up, red lipstick, blue eyeshadow. I know its there for a reason but it still gives me the chills.

  5. mandypandy says:

    “Bridie”? I remember there was a character called Bridie McMahon on “Knowing Me Knowing You”, but I had no idea people actually still named their kids that! I’m far more worried about parents giving their children odd names than the odd bit of makeup.

    • Hi Mandy

      The names are…incredible. Or as Megan says, Inaredicle. Boyf was in the post office the other day and some mama was calling her sons…Xavier and Horatio. In what we call over here, a Broad Northern Accent. It was one of those, inaredicle moments.

  6. Christie says:

    In Scotland a Bridie is a kind of pie you get from the bakers. Hahah!

  7. Amber-lyte says:

    ok, that’s just weird. I say a child should stay in a child’s place. Most people think it’s for their children to go out to school and wear a little makeup. The real question is “where are you going!” This is school not a club! People think their children feel self consisous of theirselves if they don’t dress, look, and act like other people they hang around. Most children don’t know how to be an individual, they just follow the crowd and think it’s ok, but in reality it’s not. Parents please teach your children better and stop worrying about how to stay young!

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