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25th Sep 2023

Parents weigh in on letting children and preteens wear makeup

Jody Coffey

Wanting to wear makeup as a young child is something many of us go through.

During that impressionable time between childhood and adolescence, we just want to mimic our parents or adults around us, and that includes cosmetics.

When one mum decided to apply makeup to her seven-year-old daughter, her husband was less than impressed and requested it be washed off immediately.

Explaining that they were heading out to dinner and her daughter asked for makeup to look like her mums, she did her brows, eyeliner, and lip gloss and said her little girl ‘loved it’.

However, the girl’s father said they wouldn’t be going anywhere until their daughter’s face was washed, and while their seven-year-old was sad, she was ‘mature’ about it. This sparked a conversation around whether young children should be introduced to makeup and how to go about it positively.

After their evening out, the mum said she quizzed her husband as to why he felt so strongly about their daughter wearing makeup.

Taking to Reddit, she wrote:

“We talked about it tonight after I got the kids ready for bed. He asked me why I thought that was appropriate. I said that she’s a little girl and I felt it was normal for her to want to feel fancy and match her mom.

“He said that I do her hair and dress her nicely and that’s enough. He told me the same makeup looks different on a 7 year old and a 29 year old. He asked if I understood the sick minds men have. He told me he doesn’t care what we do in the house but I have to “use my head” when we are going out.”

The mum admitted she felt ‘terrible’ that she put her daughter in that position and apologised to both her husband and child, but many users on the platform weighed in on the potential complications of wearing makeup as well as the normalcy of young girls wanting to emulate their mothers.

One user says she allows her nine-year-old daughter to wear makeup, but only at home.

“I allow my daughter to wear make up for home play. We treat it like face paint and she has fun being creative. We do not use it to make her feel pretty or to improve her appearance.

“She is not allowed to wear it out apart from glossy lip balm. It’s not because I am worried about the sexual predator angle, it’s because I don’t want her think she is prettier with it and for her to know that her natural beauty is far better than cosmetics. At an impressionable age where her appearance is starting to matter to her. I don’t want her thinking that she needs makeup to feel good about herself.”

Another user said they reluctantly let their child wear makeup, but also only at home.

“I think it’s a terrible thing to let pre-teens think their natural skin and appearance is not good enough. There is time for that kind of worry later. Kids should be kids.”

While another person disagreed with the husband’s position on the matter.

“I literally do not get this. He hurt your child over paranoia. Makeup doesn’t lead to child predation; hurtful, isolating, and vulnerable conditions lead to child predation. She was safe with y’all in a public place.”

Others worried that the husband’s reasoning may have a negative impact in the long run.

“This is such a dangerous narrative and precedent to set. He’s effectively saying that your daughter and/or you have the ability to control the predation of men, which is basically another form of victim-blaming.

“He is already setting up the belief that dressing up a certain way, or wearing certain makeup, etc. is inviting unwanted attention, and therefore, you or your daughter are at fault for ‘asking for it’. Newsflash: Predators are predators irrespective of clothing or makeup choices.”

What are your throughs on the topic? Is it more of a risk to allow a young child to wear a little makeup or to deny them out of personal fears for their safety?