Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Be a Child while you can be a Child...

Quite recently I was talking to a friend of mine who teaches elementary school. Apparently there are children sent to school with make up on a regular basis. I understand maybe a little lip gloss or nail polish on picture day. Those flash bulbs can wash out the cutest, darling girl. I just hate to think the precedent it may set with some children. That if you leave without make up, you aren't pretty, or at least as pretty as you are with make up. I realize that sometimes girls will learn this inadvertently from their mothers who always wear make up when they leave the house. I was always fascinated by my mom putting on make up, when she wore it. My mother was blessed with a mother who was an Avon lady, that didn't use her own cosmetics. My grandmother does however use Avon's skin care products. Take note, she doesn't look like she's 75 (That's my estimation of her age, I used to know for sure.). My mother doesn't wear make up pretty much at all now. Her job doesn't require dressing up, so she thinks that it's unnecessary to go with her everyday wear.

I'm not saying that mothers who wear make up everyday are terrible mothers. That's completely untrue. Make up is used to bring out the natural beauty in most women. It's up to the mother to make sure her daughters know they are still beautiful without cosmetic help. You wear your make up, but the make up does not wear you. I like the way I look with make up, but I'm still pretty happy with the way I look without it (except on some sleep-deprived days). I hope to share that philosophy with my daughter(s), if I ever have any. If not, I hope I help some of my high school girls realize that they can be pretty without covering up their faces with powder, rouge, etc.

I don't blame TV for everything. TV is entertainment. If people weren't entertained by the crazy stuff on TV, they'd stop showing it. However, many teenagers are played by women five or more years older than their characters. They wear make up appropriate for the 21 year old women they are, not for the fifteen year old girls they are portraying. These beautiful, seemingly sophisticated women can make girls think that's what they are expected to look like. Obviously this is not the TV industries fault, child labor laws make it practical to hire older actresses to play teenager parts that require long hours. It is the parent's job to ensure their child knows what is reality and what is just TV.

The reality is, we need to encourage our children to be children while they are children. I don't mean sheltering them, and buying them "My Little Pony" coloring books until they are 18 (My sister would like one, and she's turning 27 soon.). What I do mean, is that we need to give them age appropriate boundaries, and be consistent with all of our kids (I do realize that right now I'm talking hypothetical children, and I'm not a parent, so what do I know?). That means if your oldest didn't get to wear make up until one day a week in seventh grade, then your youngest (no matter how much younger they are) needs the same rule.

As a younger child, this may seem against my kind. I had the privilege of having a sister who never really wanted any privileges. She actually asked our parents to change her bedtime back to 8PM, when mine was still 8PM. Neither of us needed curfews. I did have to have a limit on the number of days I could wear heels when I was in middle school. I've always been short, and had an affinity for them. I understood that it was good to make sure my ankles grew properly though, so I obeyed. My sister almost never wore make up. I think the only times I've seen her in make up were for the 8th grade dance, Grease, Once on this Island, and Prom. I wore some make up, but usually it was just lip gloss and nail polish. I didn't wear serious make up at any regular pace until college, and usually it was for church.

Make up is fun. It's an accessory, like jewelry. It's supposed to add to what you've already got going for you. Women are beautiful without make up, and they are beautiful with it. Sometimes there is no amount of make up that can cover up what's most important, the inside. That's a cliche for sure, but it's a truth. On my craziest, most temperamental day, I'm pretty sure my students don't care if I'm wearing make up or not. At my happiest, when I'm laughing, and talking with a good friend, I feel beautiful, I feel good with and without make up. That is how it should be.

No comments:

Post a Comment