Geo Girl: Walmart’s new makeup for girls age 8 to 12
Before you gasp, and say “how dare they!” consider that this “tween” makeup line hauls in $24M annually with top sellers being lip gloss, eye shadow, and mascara.
So where do we go with this one?
Here is where I stand, as a mother of a 11 year old daughter;
Society is no doubt sexualizing children, and it’s pathetic. Of course it is a concern that kids these days are exposed to media messages telling them to be pretty or die. However, I am a big believer in parental influence. And common sense.
First, let’s talk about the ole’ “like mother like daughter” syndrome.
If I was getting all jazzed up in the morning, slapping on red lipstick, skimpy clothing and stiletto’s to head out to work, I am thinking my daughter may start following in my footsteps, no? Sure, she has outside influence, but its been proven time and time and time again – MOMS are the number one influence of their daughters self esteem, body image and confidence.
They watch our every move moms.
Moving on to common sense; if you tell a kid they can’t do something, they are going to do everything in their power to do it. I speak from experience as I recall sneaking eye shadow on before school in the morning (I am guessing around 12 or so). In my case, I don’t even remember my mom saying no, I just remember I didn’t want her to know about it. So part of this desire our young ones have to try makeup is just curiosity, and experimentation isn’t it?
I also think we need to separate out the various cosmetics because they are different, at least in my head;
Lip gloss – fine
Body spray – sure
Nail polish – go for it
Blush – ahh, no
Eye shadow – nope
Mascara – hell no!
Lipstick – ditto.
Is this hypocritical? Could be.
Here is where I am coming from; I have always believed there is a certain “fun” part of being a girl, our desire to just smell good, paint on colors, show off our personal style…so I am really careful these days not to squash this natural internal instinct. On the flip side, I see daily how girls teeter to the other extreme and end up as 15 year olds leaning on cutting and disordered eating to deal with their internal feelings about themselves and their bodies.
Studies show that girls are susceptible to body image issues and developing low self-esteem, as well as being confronted with issues about dating and sex at younger and younger ages. The NYU Child Study Center(NYUCSC) reports that girls’ self esteem peaks when they are about 9 years old and then declines steeply. 20 to 40 percent of girls begin dieting at age 10. As early as age 10, girls are faced with “teen” issues such as dating and sex, and 73 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds dress like teens and talk like teens.
Why does self-esteem drop? The NYUCSC says that starting in these pre-teen years girls become hyper-aware of their bodies and equate them to their perceived worth to others. Their self-esteem is tied to physical attributes and appearance, and girls feel like they can’t measure up to society’s standards.
This talk brings me back to why I was afraid to have a girl. How sad that is when I think back to it now, but its true. Damn, its hard growing up isn’t it? How do we not take all of our baggage to plop it on our daughters our of fear they will go through the same crap we did?
Especially when…if we are honest with ourselves…. many of us are still smack dab in the thick of it.