Children and Make-Up

I find it very interesting that this made the news.

“Reaction to Cross’s article ranged from Internet commenters who say that she is allowing her daughter to fall prey to society’s notions of beauty at far too young an age, to a psychiatrist who maintains that this can lead to an unhealthy desire for flawlessness.”

I guess the difference lies in whether the child is actually WEARING make-up or just PLAYING with make-up. Two completely different things.

Read the article and tell me what you think!



  1. Interesting subject. I think it is the cosmetics industry is one of many that teaches people, and in this case mostly women, to be dissatisfied with their appearance, so they will buy more stuff. In general, I don’t have a problem with children, boys and girls both, playing dress up, including wearing makeup, as long as the ingredients are safe. But for little girls to wear make up so they can look like mommy, that I have a problem with. I guess I think mommy should not be wearing makeup either.

  2. Okay, just re-read the article. It states that “Cross says that when she brings her daughter out, most people don’t notice that Brenna is wearing make-up, as she does not wear red lipstick, eyeliner mascara, or foundation.” I think it’s one thing for a child to put on a little make-up at home because she sees her mother doing it. It’s a different thing for the child to be going out in public with make-up on. Also, there are certain activities that you don’t let your child mimic even if the child wants to mimic them. A mother’s job is to draw a line between childhood and adulthood by setting boundaries. Just because a child wants to do a certain activity doesn’t mean it should be allowed. This parent could tell her child “Only mommyy leaves the house with make-up on.”

    At the same time, Sheryl, I agree with you. If you want to send a message to your child that beauty is more than skin deep then perhaps mom can do away with the make-up herself. We don’t need to get too serious about this issue but she is buying into the whole perfectionistic view of women that is portrayed in the media (films, magazines, on-line, etc.) Airbrushed woman, woman’s whose beauty comes from her make-up team, etc. Why not let natural beauty shine through and be the message that children receive.

  3. Thanks Christina, for inviting our thoughts on this. For me it begs the question, why do women wear makeup? What’s really behind it? It may seem odd to question it because it feels so familiar. “What’s wrong with makeup?” But I think we often make these choices out of a pull to want to feel better about ourselves which comes from hurt. Because without the hurt I believe we’d naturally be very happy with ourselves including our looks. We are left vulnerable here to being manipulated around our feelings. The society defines and reinforces our value by how much and how well we please and serve other people, especially males. So no wonder it feels good to feel pretty. We are set up for this. Little girls feel these things and see the women around them follow suit and model the behavior. Don’t get me wrong, once in awhile I wear makeup. When I do I try to notice what I’m really wanting. Usually if not always it’s something I couldn’t get enough of when I was young. I know there are other pressures for women to wear makeup for example in the professional world. But I think they are not unrelated to the role that’s been assigned to us in our society. What if we, as women could just decide to be happy with who we are, take back our confidence in our inherent value and beauty and walk around together knowing that we are pretty among other excellent things. Including powerful, because we are trusting and using our own minds to define ourselves. How would little girls play then, and what would they be fascinated with? My guess is, bigger things! Liz

  4. I don’t wear make up. I tried when I was about 38, at my husband’s request. But it just didn’t feel right. My mom to this day can’t leave the house without “putting her face on”. And that, to me, is kind of sad.

    This conversation reminds me of this book, not about makeup, but the related topic of body image: I have heard good things about it, though I have not yet purchased it myself.

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