SmackDown: Would You Let Your Tween Wear Makeup?
Forget the Face Paint and Let Kids Be Kids
by Amy Hatch
When I was in sixth grade, I was pretty tight with two other girls.
These girls were more sophisticated than I was at the time, and I remember very distinctly the day that one of them came to school sporting purple eye shadow. She whipped out the compact it came in, and flashed it to me and our other pal under her desk during reading class.
Two weeks later found me sobbing my eyes out, my head in my mother's lap, as I wailed out my anger and frustration about not being allowed to wear makeup yet. I was only 12 years old, and it was forbidden.
The two girls in question left me in the dust of baby-blue and purple sparkling powder, and I never quite forgot the betrayal.
So when I saw that Walmart is marketing a cosmetics line targeted to girls ages 8-12, I shuddered with horror -- because I can tell you right now, no 8-year-old of mine is ever going to be swiping shadow over her lids in reading class.
It seems counterintuitive to say that after my sad tale. But the ending of the story is that the two girls I wanted so badly to fit in with ran with a fast crowd all through middle school, junior high and high school.
Looking back, their antics were pretty tame, but their crowd wasn't right for me -- and my mother knew that, because she knew me.
A little lip gloss here and there isn't going to lead to a life of pole dancing. But our society has girls on an accelerated path toward adulthood. Don't believe me? Two words: Lindsay Lohan.
Or how about Miley Cyrus, just voted the worst celebrity influence in a poll conducted by ParentDish sister site, JSYK. Cyrus went from wholesome giggles as the star of "Hannah Montana" to taking bong hits.
My kid isn't a child star, but she does live in a world where children are hyper-sexualized. If you don't believe me, take a stroll through the mall one of these days and check out the skinny jeans in size 2T. Or the thongs for 12-year-olds.
And now, the makeup.
Kids should be allowed to be kids. Girls have a lifetime ahead of them of trying to meet an unnatural standard of beauty. They are bombarded with images that tell them that they aren't good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough.
Do we really want our 8-year-olds spending their time primping in front of a mirror with mascara and rouge?
What will they be doing when they're actual teenagers? Oh, wait, I know -- they'll be getting plastic surgery.
This is the absolute wrong message to send to our girls. My mother knew it way back in 1984, and I know it today.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.