Kids · parenting · whine and cheese

Me vs. the Makeup

K went to a “princess party” yesterday. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, here’s the gist of it: The children arrive at the party place (let’s call it “princess paradise”) and are offered their choice of princess dresses. Then they get a “princess makeover” which includes eyeshadow, glitter, blush, lip gloss, and nail polish. They each get to make a tiara out of tinsel, pipe cleaners and beads, and then they put on a “fashion show” before sitting down for cake and tea. Just for the record, the kids at yesterday’s party were all between 3 and 5 years old.

This whole party was a bit much for me, although all the girls loved it. I hate that it’s been deemed acceptable to introduce girls to the concept of a makeover at the age of 3. Can the girls not just have fun playing dress-up with princess gowns, tiaras, wands, and capes? Is that not special and exciting enough? Apparently not. I don’t even want to get into how it makes me feel to hear my daughter say, “But I need to wear makeup to make me look pretty! Princesses are pretty ’cause they wear makeup. I need makeup!” It’s heartbreaking, especially when K has clear skin and the delicate features of a porcelain doll.

But it’s just a party, and I make all kinds of exceptions for parties (drinking pop, eating way too much junk, putting on makeup). The real insult came when K proudly showed off her loot bag. It contained a set of sparkly eyeshadows and a four-pack of shiny lip gloss. No, not the chapstick-style cherry-flavoured glosses, but actual makeup-type gloss. For a four-year-old.

Mr. December and I are united in our dislike of makeup in general, and our disapproval of makeup for children in particular. On the way home K was holding the eyeshadow and dropped it. When she got out of the car she was distraught and insisted on finding it – in the dark – that second. I gallantly offered to look, and – I’m not even ashamed to admit it – pocketed the thing when I found it, then apologized to K that it seemed to be lost forever. If only she had dropped the lip gloss, too.

The real struggle happened when I had the audacity to point out that K needed to wash off her makeup before bed. There was screaming and kicking, followed by howls of “but makeup is my FAAAAAYVORITE!” as I used a baby wipe to clean her face. She then turned around and asked Mr. December where her lip gloss was. His reply, “it’s being put away for now, because you’re way too young for makeup,” provoked another tantrum. We turned off the light and left the room after informing her that we’d be glad to come back and tuck her in when she had calmed down. It worked.

Miraculously we’ve heard nothing about makeup today. But yesterday’s scene was upsetting, because although I’ll admit to being a bit old-fashioned, I had no idea that I was that out-of-step with the times. In my little bubble, makeup generally is something worn by grown women to make themselves attractive to men. As in, sexually attractive. As in, my daughter has no business trying to sexually attract anyone for at least ten or eleven years.

So… makeup is banned and I’m the meanest mother ever… but if she’s the princess that makes me the Queen. As such, I have restored peace and balance to the kingdom.


One thought on “Me vs. the Makeup

  1. I’m with you on the anti-make-up front and I am wary and worried about the whole Princess Party scene. My love bug is only a year old and I dread the day when she will turn all pink, sparkly and obsessed with how she looks. Why can’t princesses be about slaying the dragon or feeding the poor? Too lofty? How about building a castle out of Lego or at least skip the make-up and just enjoy the tea and cupcakes. I completely agree that make-up is to enhance your sexuality and is inappropriate for children, especially 4-year-olds! Good for you for standing up for your daughter’s right to be a child, not a short adult, even if said child is not thrilled with your decisions. I’ll step off my podium now, but if you get into the make-up argument again, you can do what I plan to do, which is print off a bunch of studies on the toxicity of the ingredients in make-up and insist that if your (teenaged) daughter wants to wear make-up, she has to invest (and find) natural, mineral-based, non-toxic make-up.

    In the meantime, if K is still insisting, maybe you can get make-up for a doll (an adult doll) and make the point that that doll is old enough to wear make-up and she can then have fun putting it on the doll instead of herself? Hee hee, go even further and have a make-up removing routine for the doll because wearing make-up to bed will cause her to have more wrinkles when she grows up.

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