Yesterday at school, one of my little girls ran up to me at recess to tell me in an exasperated manner that her mother won’t let her wear high heels. She had a friend with her, who exclaimed, “Can you BELIEVE it???” I think they were telling me this in hopes that I would talk to her mother, and convince her to let her wear them. They also informed me that her mother won’t let her wear makeup. Now, we are talking about 6 year olds! I remember playing in my mother’s lipstick, and wearing her heels, and playing dress up with some of her old dresses in the toy box. Little girls love pretending, and love imitating their mommies. That’s natural (please no one start a gender identity argument with me….this is not about that). I think I surprised (and disappointed) these girls by telling them that I agreed with her mother!
I have real issues with encouraging our children (especially girls) to grow up too soon. The innocence of childhood lasts for such a short time. Why do we want to rush them through it? Make up? High heels? To me, this feels like we are sexualizing our little girls, and teaching them that the only way to be cool or lovable is to have them dress like Barbies for attention. Am I being too critical? Maybe. Yet, I have a student who comes to school in 1″ heels at least two or three times per week. She can barely walk in them, she slips on the tile floors, and she can’t participate in PE or recess the way she should. These shoes would be fine for a special occasion or church, but not at school. I have students who wear makeup. Why? Their skin is so perfect and pretty at that age. Their bodies are like little babies. Why do we want them to look grownup? It’s creepy.
I didn’t allow my daughters to wear makeup until they were in middle school, and even then, it was very basic. They’re pretty girls…..why would they need much makeup? They’re also pretty enough without it to get attention from boys! Fortunately, I feel like I have been able to help them see that their inner beauty, and the way they conduct themselves, is much more important than any outward beauty (or the mask of a ton of makeup). They’re REAL. They’re genuine. They’re originals. They’re nice.
My oldest daughter got her belly button pierced when she was 18, and sent me a text to tell me because she was afraid of my reaction. I guess I’m scary! Ten years later, she has let it close up, and realizes it was just one of those youthful phases that really doesn’t fit her personality. I’m glad it was something that could be easily remedied! Everywhere we look, there is pressure on our girls to grow up too fast, and to be looked at in inappropriate ways! Makeup, heels, piercings, inappropriate clothing…..there’s even a television show that glamorizes teen pregnancy. There will be plenty of time for all of this, as childhood goes so fast…..it really does slip away. Why are mothers doing this to their daughters? Let the girls make their own bad decisions when they’re old enough (like I did)! Don’t make the bad decisions for them! Grow up, moms!
Give your daughter the confidence to be herself without wanting to hide behind an artificial mask. Teach her that brains, ambition, sincerity, and genuine care and love for others will carry her much farther than wanting to look like every other sex object in the world. Teach her humor. Teach her compassion. Teach her humility. Teach her to value her own self worth, gifts, and talent WITHOUT needing to pretend to be something else.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look pretty. We all enjoy it, and it’s fun to get dressed up. There’s nothing wrong with makeup and having your hair done. There’s nothing wrong with heels. But there’s also a time and place for it. Once the innocence of childhood is gone, it will NEVER come back! Value your daughter’s innocence and natural beauty. Protect it. Let her know that she’s just fine without it.
And last of all, here’s a shout out to those moms who say no! Good for you!