Would you allow your six-year-old daughter to wear makeup?
“Hey! I love your hair.” she said timidly.
As I looked up from my novel, I saw a girl all dolled up; painted lips, heavy eye shadow and short, ombre hair.
“Hey, thank you, beautiful!” I smiled back.
She told me she was there for her eighth grade farewell party. She left me startled as she scurried away to join a bunch of equally over-dressed young girls.
An eighth grader!
I had confused her for a university student; all that makeup at such a tender age when all one needs is a flawless smile over that porcelain skin.
Who is to blame for devaluing a girl’s fragile innocence so soon in life? Is it one’s pursuit of perfection or the victimisation of little minds in the name of marketing?
The concept of glamourising from an early age is multi-factorial. The modern marketing strategy is objectifying the kids. Companies like Walmart are introducing a line of 70 makeup products for girls between the ages of six and 12, which is definitely too much too soon for pre-teenagers.
Similarly, the Bratz dolls, meant for girls between seven and 10, is another striking example of irresponsible marketing and production; all to generate huge profits.
The cost of this objectification, experts say, is the deprivation of the sense of accomplishment, intellect and morality. Audrey Braschich, the author of All Made Up, stated,
“As a society, we know more about women who look good than we know about women who do good.”
Likewise, doctors have expressed their concerns over parents enabling a generation of girls that measure their self-worth based on what is on the outside. This over materialisation is leading to problems like “Precocious Puberty” which is an endocrine disorder stimulated by the early release of hormones in brain, a condition that heads girls into early maturation and PMS-like symptoms, paving the way for other mental health crisis such as an unrealistic desire for a thinner ideal body and a declining self-esteem.
It’s heart wrenching to see all this innocence fading away. It’s totally acceptable if they want to add a little sparkle by painting their nails or applying lip-gloss but if the makeover is making them look more like a sexualised teen, they’re definitely crossing the line.
We should be concerned about this grave issue. Parents need to bridge the communication gap so they are able to have a heart to heart conversation with their daughters, reminding them that they are beautiful just the way they are, and their looks should not be the cause of any concern.
I am not opposed to the idea of beautifying, but these teenagers need to realise that less is more! The gravity of the situation increases because with each passing day, these children are growing up with a mind-set that their natural looks aren’t socially acceptable.
Our little girls need to be presented in the public eye as an epitome of femininity and womanhood rather than victims of premature sexualisation.
A little girl’s first mentor is her mother, and if dear mommy owns a minaudière of tints, the little princess will soon have it on her wish list too. We cannot eradicate their affinity for makeovers all together but the situation will only get better if and when older women serve as role models – switching to relatively natural ways of beautifying themselves.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.