Thursday, March 31, 2011

Make-up Just for Them

Ugh, I know--it's nothing but down the rabbit hole for me these days, but Willow, who was the most AWESOME big sister/stage manager/perfect daughter during every single part of Sydney's fashion show experience, declared that she was jealous of exactly two things having to do with the event:

1) The mom of Sydney's little runway walk buddy gave Sydney treats (in particular, a piece of yellow gum and an M&M cookie, and did not give treats to Willow
2) glitter make-up

As for the treats, I explained to Willow that little children who want to be given something that their sister is being given should leave their books when treats are being handed out and stand next to said sister, smiling expectantly. And also, she didn't even play with that kid! If you don't play with a kid, you don't just automatically get some of that kid's treats. It's a fact, and everyone knows it.

As for the glitter make-up,'s a valid point. I could tell when Syd was having her make-up done that Willow wanted some, too, and oooh, it was sparkly. And that's why I spent $50 of the grocery budget (I fixed beans, rice, and baked corn tortillas for dinner THREE TIMES this week! And another day I fixed oatmeal!) on glittery make-up at the drug store, and gave it to the girlies, telling them that, with supervision, they were welcome to play make-up artist anytime they wanted.

Willow, of course, was granted first place in the make-up chair:
Sydney, channeling the make-up artist at the Hair Arts Academy, said to Willow, "Make a kissy-kissy face!"
I bought glitter lip gloss, glitter fingernail art brushes, blush, eye shadow--
--glitter eye shadow, and then just some extra glitter to throw on top of everything.

Part of the fun, for me, was watching each girl eagerly, trustingly, and happily put herself into the hands of her sister for her makeover:
You can't tell from the photograph, but Sydney is looking straight into Willow's eyes here, just as adoringly as she used to do when she was a baby:
Willow's make-up ended up looking pretty sedate, actually, but she, herself, has always had a flair for the dramatic, and Syd ended up ready for the stage lights once again:
You can see the glitter this time, can't you?

Make-up is something that, for me, makes me really uncomfortable. It takes me straight back to junior high, when on the first day of seventh grade I noticed (because some bitch teased me about it) that all the other girls had apparently spent the summer between sixth and seventh grades buying clothes from the mall and learning how to feather their hair and put on too much make-up. I'd spent my summer dealing with my mother's suicide attempt and being taken to visit her at the psychiatric hospital, thank you very much. I never felt in step with my peer group again, and I never put on make-up, and I never feathered my hair (although my Aunt Pam did once, and then she took a photograph, and it's still one of my favorite photographs from my childhood, because damn it, I look so NORMAL on the outside!).

Needless to say, that's not what I want for my own children's childhood. So far, hair and make-up have no gender stereotyped connotations for them--they don't watch Disney princess movies, or commercial TV, and they don't go to public school. The only time that they've seen hair and make-up being done is for the fashion runway, and it was wild, and imaginative, and playful, and, dare I say, immensely empowering.

Funnily enough, that's exactly how I would describe my kids, too, my kids who play with make-up.


Kimberly said...

I have a train case full of make-up. Easily upwards of a $1000 worth. I'm not bragging, but it's MY thing. It is the only creative outlet that I have that I do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I wear yellow and oranges together to make something that reminds me of flames (I FINALLY found a TRUE shade of red with blue undertones that I need to buy). I blend greens into pinks (sounds crazy but it works). I used to worry about what people thought of me, but I just don't care anymore. To me that's where my 'empowerment' comes. I would KILL to be a make-up artist.

And I think it's great that you let them experiment. I had to sneak make-up at school, which is why I think I do so much crazy stuff now. My mom hated make-up, and I hated how strict she was about it. Just like video prevent me from having them as a kid, I'm going to just have every damn game system I can buy. Same thing with make-up!

cake said...

in this post, i am most amazed by your own vulnerability, about your childhood. wow.

and, i think when a child approaches make up, without the influence of disney, and peer pressure, it can be just another creative medium.

Homeschool family said...

Hi, I love this post, thanks for being so open about your past. I have been through similar things myself, which kind of puts the world in a different perspective. I do wear make-up though but only because I look scary without it (even my kid says so) and it makes me feel better about myself! My daughter loves experimenting with make-up and I encourage her to express who she is. Two weeks ago she was going through her half and half phase and walked around with only one half of her face made up and odd shoes on! xx

Big mamma frog said...

I was with my 7 year old dd in a shop last week. We passed a basket of items and she pointed at them.
'What's that mummy?'
'It's make-up'.
Puzzled look.
Shrug from me. 'It's the stuff that mummy doesn't bother to wear.'

After two boys I've obviously missed the whole mother-daughter, 'bonding over beauty' thing lol!