The Problem with Girls and Make-Up

My daughter turned eight last week, and don't I know it... I was suddenly hit with the frightening reality that she is actually growing up!



Noticing changes already

She's always had quite a mature head on her shoulders but, just recently, she seems to be striding ahead in every way.

Unfortunately, as well as actually wanting to choose her own clothes in the morning, this also means she has become very interested in my make-up bag.

Reaping what you sow

It's all my fault, of course. Prior to her arrival, my house was predominantly male orientated; even the cat was a boy.

Sweaty gym kit, muddy boots and underpant-strewn bedroom floors were the norm so, naturally, I was thrilled when a little girl came along and was excited at the prospect of lots of girly pink things adorning the home.

A domestic idyll

I had a misty-eyed vision of one of those 1970's orange and yellow colour-washed TV adverts; the sort where a cute little girl is smeared in badly applied lipstick and blue eye shadow while mum smiles down, happily putting strings of beads round the child's neck and laughing as the little girl clomps off in oversized stilettos.

I readily embraced all of the above, and this was all very well until my now 'mature-for-her-years' little girl asked if she could wear make-up to her birthday party and proceeded to get extremely stroppy when the answer was 'no'!

What had I done?

A monstrous vision of an American beauty pageant full of make-up smeared six year olds in puffy prom dresses sprang to mind.

I found myself a bit stumped as I tried to explain why make up was inappropriate for an 8 year old to wear outside the house.

The conversation went a bit like this:

Her: "Why is it inappropriate?"
Me: "Because make-up is traditionally worn to make yourself look pretty when you want to attract a husband."
Her: "So why do you wear it when you've already got one?"
Me: "Because I think it makes me look nice."
Her: "I want to look nice"
Me: "You already look nice."
Her: "So do you."
Me: "Thank you, but I think it makes me look better."
Her: "I want to look better."
Me:"You don't need to look better, you're young and pretty already."
Her: "So are you."
Me: "Thank you. But I have wrinkles to cover up."
Her: "Make-up doesn't cover your wrinkles."
Me: "Thank you. I know."

And so it went on

I did eventually win the argument, but there was a slight compromise. Since it was a Frozen themed party, she did wangle a hint of sparkly blue eye shadow and a smidge of strawberry scented lip balm.

I think I got off lightly. God help me when she turns 9!

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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