My, how times have changed! I am only 27 but I am shocked by how many very young girls are wearing makeup now, when I was five, six, even ten years old I had no interest in makeup. Even now I’m not a big fan. I wear it to go out with the girls for a big night or on a nice date with my husband; I wore it at my wedding and I wear it to job interviews but beyond that it’s just not my thing. Even then the only full coat of makeup on that list was my wedding; the rest of the time it’s a tinted moisturiser, blush and some mascara.
I feel though that I am perhaps the exception to the rule. With the influx on social media lately of ‘no makeup selfies’ to promote cancer awareness, I wonder to myself whether every other woman is wearing makeup all the time and I’ve just gotten behind.
Now we see celebrities allowing, even encouraging, their very young daughters to wear it. I’m sure most people have seen photos of Suri Cruise strutting the streets with her mum, wearing high heels, makeup and sporting her own makeup case at only four years old. Surely this is too young to be promoting the notion that makeup is a necessity?
Then you have the social media revolution, the sexualisation of our youth at a younger and younger age through music, TV and clothing and birthday parties where makeovers are the activity of choice. How can we possibly stand a chance of getting our daughters to see themselves for how beautiful they are, as they are, when everybody is telling them to cover it up?
The biggest question I ask myself as a parent and a woman is does allowing or encouraging our daughters to wear makeup at a young age contribute to the already enormous problem of the unhealthy desire to be perfect, flawless and to look like a celebrity? Are we contributing to destruction in the self esteem and healthy body image of young girls at a tender age when they are so impressionable and where does it all end? First its makeup, then before we know it they want barely-there clothes that are completely inappropriate for them, high heeled shoes that are awful for their posture and feet and a mobile phone to chat with their friends because everyone in their fourth grade class has one.
We cant wind back the clock to a simpler time when high heels, short shorts and makeup were for partying in our late teens and early twenties, we are sadly well past that, so how do we protect our daughters from a world strongly encouraging them to act like teenagers before their tenth birthday and how much damage are these external influences doing to their fragile, young minds?
Shouldn’t we instead be playing outside getting dirty, chasing butterflies, making mud pies and sandcastles, going to the park and telling stories of far off lands and big adventures? Shouldn’t we be teaching our daughters that their self worth is based on the sort of person they are, their kindness, compassion, attitude and actions? Don’t we want our children to know that if people judge them for the way they look or how much makeup they wear or don’t wear that they are not worth their time and that they deserve better and that, this ‘better’ is out there waiting for them, they just have to be strong enough to keep searching for it?
I believe we should save the makeup for the teenage years. I believe it should be a want on occasion, not an everyday need and something to enhance what we already have, not a cover up of what we have in order to make us more socially acceptable.
How old were you when you started wearing makeup?