For once it’s not a Kardashian being raked over the coals.
Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, made a stir this week when he posted an Instagram photo of a young girl wearing full makeup — red lipstick, winged eyeliner, the whole shebang. The king of contouring captioned the photo, which was a shot from Sapling magazine, with “my future daughter #soCute”:
The Instagram community erupted into outrage over such an elementary school girl wearing such sophisticated makeup. Comments like “Too young. Babies shouldn’t look like women,” and “This is sending out the wrong message to little girls” prompted Dedivanovic to add “(this is not my makeup)” to the caption.
If I were to pass a little girl on the street styled this way, I’d be inclined to agree with the negative commenters. Fully made-up children in public give me a skeevy “Toddlers & Tiaras” vibe, and finally helps me understand why my mom wouldn’t let me run around town in mascara when I was 10 (at the time, I figured it was because she was just the world’s biggest life-ruiner).
That being said, this photo was taken for a magazine. Just like little girls who perform in dance recitals or in plays, this model got to play dress-up for a day on a very special occasion. We all tried on our mom’s makeup now and then as kids, and this little girl was essentially doing the same thing on a larger scale. That has very different connotations than encouraging seven-year-olds to wear lipstick to school. It’s also worth considering that this post is coming from, well, a makeup artist – of course he’d pay special attention to the girl’s makeup.
Kids should get to be kids for as long as they can, especially in this world that expects them to grow up so quickly – and that means as much time playing in their backyard sans makeup as they can get. Any picture of a child in makeup is a bit off-putting, but the outrage here is sorely misdirected. In the words of one of the photo’s commenters, “Ever watch toddlers and tiaras?!?! Go yell at them too if you’re gonna make a huge deal about it!”
Actually, I’d like to do exactly that. If we want to ease the pressure on young girls to be sexy, there are many more important places to start. Advertisers, kiddie pageants, and parents who pass down their poor body image to their children have far more impact than an Instagram post with a professional child model.
What do you think? Is it ever okay for little girls to wear makeup?