Would you allow your six-year-old daughter to wear makeup?

Published: May 27, 2016

And within just three short years, the now-pre-K kid will be routinely cracking open her piggy bank not for the Zhu Zhu Pet du jour, but for cosmetics mad money. Photo: www.therobinreport.com/

“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.

Bratz Dolls Photo: Pinterest

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.

Moizza Sami

Moizza Sami

The author is a doctor in the making, an amateur Photographer, a freelance couturier and a freelance writer. She aspires to be a passionate philanthropist one day.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vinsin

    From an Islamic point of view, girls can start using makeup as soon as they are born or married, so why not. If six can be an age good enough to get married then doing make up should not be an issue.Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    From where did you hear such enlightened statement.
    In India , the baby is in the womb when the mother is raped ,so you are much more “progressive”.Recommend

  • UzairH

    Well written Moizza. Sadly objectification is all too rife in many cultures. We can ignore adults objectifying themselves as a matter of choice, but when parents and media force it on their young kids it is reprehensible.

    @disqus_J8i5Q2U2YP:disqus: I highly suggest that we not use the culture of an iron-age society to establish our modern-day cultural practices.Recommend

  • Mirza Aasauf Baig

    6 is not age to get married. On which Planet do you live?Recommend

  • Mirza Aasauf Baig

    Chemicals are harmful for Children’s skin.Recommend

  • Syeda Uzmaa Farhan

    Very well written, this has been my objection ever since i came to states and i saw 9 and 10 years old getting their hair dyed and what not, i remember my mom would not let me leave for school if i had by mistake sprayed a splash of perfume of itar, this is real fitna, may Allah guide usRecommend

  • Rohitt Sharma

    As in India, Pakistan must also start training its children early on. It is a high foreign exchange earner in tourism. It has big business potential for Pakistan too.There may be some Islamic opposition at the first but it is becoming secular so modernization will eventually take care of the backward religious sentiment.Recommend

  • Rohitt Sharma

    I agree. It is good business. Children will earn foreign exchange too as it has done for Indian tourism.Recommend

  • Leila Rage

    “Our little girls need to be presented in the public eye as an epitome of femininity and womanhood rather than victims of premature sexualisation.”
    This statement is self-contradictory. Presenting LITTLE GIRLS as the epitome of womanhood? You do know that LITTLE GIRLS are not yet women?Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/hyderabad-as-i-know-and-feel.html Supriya Arcot

    Be warned – Anything restrained will only increase the contraband market. Today ( NO) Thanx to the fertile media , exposure is tremendous . If we try to regulate it , they will do it on the sly. Paralelly , The market is also inundated with bio/child friendly /organic cosmetics .As long as we make sure of decrees ( like Quality/ their studies not getting affected … ) why not .. let them pursue this .. Going with the flow is any day advisable than lamenting over bygone days .Recommend

  • Nasir mir

    Beautifully portrayed!! Showbiz ,irresponsible marketing and media has spoiled the developmental phase of children ,fancying their role models with glittering makeovers rather than their background and ideology and it’s a phenomenon which they inherit from their parents unfortunately .Recommend

  • Humaira Mehboob

    I hope she let you use deodorant. I never understand people who are so adamant on leading a fundamentally religious Muslim lives moving to Europe and America. What is wrong with living in your own country?Recommend