Would you let your 8-year-old daughter wear a face full of makeup like this? Me neither …
U.K. businesswoman and sometime model Katie Price recently sparked outrage when she shared photos on Instagram of her 8-year-old daughter, Princess, wearing heavy stage makeup. But instead of taking the criticism to heart, Price fired back with a defiant Instagram video of Princess, which saw the little girl defending her choices. It was captioned “Princess fires back #family”, and indeed the child did, declaring:
“By the way, I want to do my makeup, not my mum. I do. And anyway, it’s none of your beeswax! So oosh!”
Just to add further fuel to the fire, Price then added the most provocative shot of her daughter yet …
… in which Princess sports a lipsticked pout with heavily made-up doe eyes, captioned, “Here she goes again.”
While one commenter remarked that little girls always play with makeup — “it’s no big deal, she’s just a normal girl” — other reactions weren’t so positive. One @sasasusu26 responded, “I once wore lipstick to school when I was 9 and I was being sent home and got a punishment from my mom … Now as a grown woman I would do it the exact same way … I think this is very sick in a very sick world. Sad, just sad.”
For me, it isn’t so much the makeup as it is the provocative pose that Princess takes — with her head tilted and her hair pulled over one side. It reminds me of sexualized adult poses in fashion magazines, and I would be deeply uncomfortable to have my own daughter photographed in this way. I realize eventually I’m going to have to cross this bridge when my daughter wants to wear makeup, and I am determined to be incredibly strict on the subject!
Maybe I am being over-protective, but I feel children only have a very short time to actually be kids, before hormones and teenage angst take over — so I want her to have as many years being a little tomboy as she possibly can.
While I think trying on your mom’s lipstick at home is completely natural — I did so myself when I was a child — I would never photograph that image or allow my child to wear makeup for longer than a little try-on. At present, my daughter is 5 and is only interested in lip salves, but I am sure as she grows she will become more curious.
I know that when she gets into her teens, I’ll have to guide her and perhaps lay down some ground rules. I can only go by my own experience: by 15 I wore the odd bit of eyeliner and mascara and some lip gloss, but I see photos of friends’ kids at the same age and to say I am horrified is an understatement.
For a start, these 16-year-olds look about 25 — caked in foundation, with heavily penciled-on eyebrows and great streaks of contoured blusher; they all look like Kardashian clones. For me, that is the saddest thing about it: the fact there is almost an identikit look which now passes for “beauty.” I see their endless streams of selfies on Facebook, lips pouted, eyes wide, and cheeks sucked in. Each one with the same hair, thick brows, heavy smokey eyes, and glossed lips. What has happened to all the quirkiness of beauty? The freckles and the shiny skin, the rosy cheeks and the untouched lips?
What equally disturbs me is how each photo is assessed by all the girls’ friends with comments of “you are a babe” and “you’re stunning” underneath, as if a girl’s worth is based solely on her looks. I am absolutely determined that my own daughter will never view herself in this way — I’d rather ban her from having a phone than see her parade herself on Instagram like some puppet for people to ogle and approve. I plan on teaching her that beauty is truly skin deep and having a brain and respect for herself and others will get her much further in life than looking like a starlet.
We live in an age where social media has made everyone far more narcissistic — endlessly preening and posing for an array of selfies. And though I’m not naïve enough to truly believe that looks do not play a part in how we all perceive one another, I want to ensure that my children (my son as well as my daughter) do not think that looks are the be-all end-all of one’s worth.
The first step in my attempt to stop my daughter from wanting to dress provocatively and wear a ton of makeup is to try and steer her away from any kind of media — TV or otherwise — that over-sexualizes women. My next step is to make sure that when she is a teenager, she wears makeup that emphasizes her features and flatters, rather than creating a human Barbie clone. Finally, I’m hoping by the time she enters her teens, the selfie will be a relic of the past and a celebrity- and looks-focused world will have turned on itself, and we’ll value the humanity in people again, not their lip size.