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Is Your Tween Ready for Makeup? Wal-Mart Says Yes

Tween girl

The creators of Wal-Mart's new makeup line aimed at tween girls must not have tween girls at home

I happily bought my daughter a tutu before she turned two. It was fun to watch her walk around oblivious to the fact that she looked like she was wearing a spray of cotton candy around her little pot belly, especially if she had on jeans underneath.

She’s now two-and-a-half and less than a month ago discovered Cinderella and Snow White. I had purposefully kept princesses from her before then because I figured she’d find out about them eventually. Still, I caved when I decided there’s really not enough damage that can be done at this point and besides, she’s eating them up with pure, innocent delight.

I got a pedicure a few weeks ago, and as she inspected my toes, I asked if she wanted me to paint her nails.

“No,” she said flatly. I didn’t press it, and frankly, I was relieved she showed no interest. It’s just too soon, I realized afterward.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure what the right age is for things like ballerinas, princesses or beauty queens, but I don’t think it’s 8, particularly if it means anything more elaborate than a plain old tutu or other similar dress-up clothes.

Wal-Mart seems to have other ideas, however. They just announced that they are introducing a line of cosmetics specifically for 8- to 12-year-olds. Apparently, since the tween makeup market makes $24 million annually, they want a piece of the underage pie.

The whole idea makes me a little sick to my stomach. A second or third grader with makeup marketed directly to her? (After all, who’s to say this is just for play and that it won’t be used as an everyday accessory?)

Yes, yes and yes again, of course it’s up to parents to help their daughters decide what’s appropriate and not based on their kids’ age and maturity level, among other factors. But we all know that once a seed is planted, it’s awfully hard to unring the bell.

“We are raising another generation of girls who kind of measure their self-worth based on what’s on the outside,” Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of the book “Third Base Ain’t What it Used to Be” said on “Good Morning America.

The new tween makeup line from Walmart, called Geo-Girl, includes lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, a cleanser and an exfoliate (yes, really). Wal-Mart said it will only be marketing the line to parents.

Um, sure. Just like PG-13 movies like “Spider-Man” are regularly advertised during cartoons for 5-year-olds and on cereal brands eaten by toddlers?

I think it’s a bad idea and one I can tell you I won’t be supporting now or in the future. While playing pretend or dress-up is one thing, taking it a step further by letting little girls mark up their bodies and actually, really and truly try to start looking like grown women is another story.

Do you, or would you let your tween wear makeup?

Image: Creative Commons

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