The Fairest of Them All

Lorelei is all about making videos lately.  She has her own YouTube channel, with a weekly posting schedule, and she has custody of my iPhone more than I do.  Today she was telling me that she no longer enjoys watching the videos made by one of her subscribers, because they all involve makeup, whether she is putting it on her American Girl dolls or herself.
“You know what I really don’t like, Mommy?” Lorelei asked me. “Before she puts on her makeup, she says ‘Ugly!’  And she isn’t ugly.”
My heart sank.  The little girl she was talking about is ten years old, just like Lorelei.  She shouldn’t be wearing makeup AT ALL, in my opinion, let alone thinking that she is ugly without it.
When I was a little girl, my Catholic school did not allow us to wear makeup (a policy they should have maintained, if you ask me).  I did not start wearing makeup until the middle of my first year of high school, and most of the other girls didn’t wear much either.
By the time I graduated from high school, though, I wore makeup daily–eyeliner, shadow, mascara, blush, lipstick, powder.  I didn’t go out without “fixing my face.”
I think it was after I started having kids that one day I realized that I thought of my naked face as ugly.  And I didn’t like that.  I knew it was wrong to think that my real face, the one that God gave me, was too unsightly for the outside world to view unless I “fixed” it first.
So you know what I did?
I stopped wearing makeup.  I stopped wearing makeup until I could look at my naked face and see “normal” instead of “ugly” when I looked at my reflection.
These days, I wear makeup for church (if I’m not running late) or for special occasions.  When I put it on I feel dressed up and fancy and pretty, but I don’t feel ugly when I don’t.
I told Lorelei all of this, but she still seemed a little anxious when she showed me a picture of the little girl in question–a BEFORE picture. “See, Mommy?  Isn’t she pretty?”
Of course I said she was, and it was true.  A ten-year-old face cannot be improved by makeup.
If you ask Lorelei (as I often do), “Who’s the prettiest girl in the world?” she’ll promptly respond, “ME!” and she might even add, “In the UNIVERSE!”  What’s wonderful is that she believes it.  When she gets on the scale it’s in the hopes that she will have GAINED weight because she’s proud of how big she is growing and she will tell that number to anyone who asks her.  She might even volunteer it.
I don’t want the world to take that confidence away from her.  But I know it will.
The Prettiest Girl in the Universe

28 thoughts on “The Fairest of Them All

  1. I went to Catholic school too and we weren’t allowed to wear make up. I see so many young girls wearing make up. It’s sad little girls can’t just be little girls. I have a 10 yr. old and so far she hasn’t asked yet.

  2. I so agree with what you’re saying here. As someone who has struggled with her body image so often, and been told things like “if you would just do ABC you could fix ___ (insert problem that’s not really a problem here)”. I stopped wearing make up because My fiance told me he prefers me without it, and that says a lot, who is saying that we NEED these things? People who clearly don’t value the person UNDERNEATH all that nonsense.
    Good for you for encouraging that healthy mentality in your daughter, you’re giving her the strength now to weather people’s unkindness later on. I hope that by the time she’s older the world will be more hospitable and accepting…unfortunately while I hope that it gets better I feel that the reality will vastly fall short of my desires.
    God Bless!

    1. Thanks, Therese. I got the message early on that I wasn’t good enough because of my weight. I’ve never been able to shed the pounds OR the bad feelings, and I don’t want her to grow up feeling that way!

  3. saramp1

    The people who don’t matter are the ones inundating us with these messages that we need make up or to lose weight. I have an 11 and 9 yr old. They are both amazing and confident girls. Trying to keep it that way!

  4. It says a lot about you and her dad that your daughter felt uncomfortable by the video in the first place. That’s a #proudmommy moment in my book! I hate that girls are preoccupied with their looks at such a young age. School is such a fashion show these days. The week that school starts back the nail salons are packed with girls as young as 5 getting their nails done to start SCHOOL!!!!???!!!

  5. My kids went to Catholic school and never really wanted to wear makeup until well into high school. I don’t like to see young girls trying to be older, you only have so much time to be a kid! I’m glad your daughter is being a girl!

  6. Allison (funfamily.vacations)

    Wow – 10 and wearing makeup? I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until well into highschool. Wonderful that your daughter has a strong sense of self! Good job parents!!

  7. Kaitie Creator of Fuchisa Freezer

    it sounds like your daughter has a good role model, and is growing up as a child at her age… good for her!

  8. swatkins827

    What a beautiful little girl! I was not allowed to wear a lot of makeup at all until I was much older, practically my senior year in high school. My teen is in her Junior year this coming year and puts on way too much makeup that now she believes she needs it all of the time. I was against too much makeup and being a step-mother it gets a little touchy when I have certain rules that are not consistent with her mother’s rules. You are a great role model and are on the right path to raising a wonderful girl. 🙂

  9. Yes, it’s sad when young girls feel the need to wear makeup, but I love how you’re being a role model and not wearing much makeup. My mom did the same (because she really just couldn’t stand the feel of makeup) and barely wore any makeup most of her life. I am now the same way…

  10. I am starting to get comments like these from my girls. My oldest wants to be white (colored) with blonde hair so bad—My kids are mixed and she is the darkest in the family. I tell her all the time she is beautiful, special, and unique and that Heavenly Father made her the way she is and Loves her in her own skin. I wear makeup 1-2 days a week and although I think I look “improved” with makeup, I try to not let it define me and I try really hard to watch what I say around my kids in regards to the way I look. I do not support makeup at a young age and I did not really, if ever, wear a full face of makeup.

    1. Oh, I hate to hear that about your sweet little girl. 🙁 I would imagine bi-racial children face some unique challenges. I can’t deny that I feel improved with makeup too! But little girls are so naturally beautiful. For that matter, when I look back at myself even as a teenager I can’t believe how hard I was on myself about my looks. I want our little girls to feel beautiful the way God made them as long as possible.

  11. This is such a great article! When I was a kid my parents didn’t let me wear makeup until I turned 16. I used to sneak it on when I got on the school bus, and then wipe it off before I got home. Then when I was finally allowed to wear it, I went WAY overboard…probably typical of new wearers. I think most of our donors have seen me without makeup pretty regularly: whether it’s early on gameday when I’m busy setting up or taking a break before getting ready; at the bowl game when I’m just wandering around the hotel; or even out running errands in Stillwater. At first I was really hesitant to do it, but now I don’t care! And on Sundays, I RARELY put on makeup.

  12. This really resonated with me. I, too, wore make-up in high school and college until my fiance’ told me he liked me better without it. It was a shock to the system doing without at first. My parents really struggled with me not wearing it (they just wanted me to “take care of myself”) and I get it. But my make-up routine is so much more simplified now – mascara and eye liner if I’m lucky. I allow my 13YO to wear eyeliner, foundation, and lip gloss. She often chooses not to. My 11YO cannot wait until she can wear it all and sometimes sneaks it. I have beautiful girls and don’t want them thinking they have to paint themselves to be prettier. It’s all over the schools along with all the immodest clothing. (Sigh.) That’s why righteous homes are so important!
    Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I’m glad I found yours through it!

  13. I love that our schools in Australia all wear uniforms. Each school designs their own range of uniforms. So within each individual school there is no fashion competition. One less pressure and more to put into study. Somehow self-worth and looks need to be separated.
    Thanks for this heartfelt post Leslie, Friday’s Blog Booster Party #19 thanks you.
    Kathleen

  14. I have a 14 year old and sadly, the battle for truth just gets harder. I have taught my daughter to talk to me openly about things she is struggling with, knowing that we all struggle with our physical appearance in some way. I have also taught her to bring those issues to Christ. Because He did make her beautiful.

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  16. I’m glad Lorelei understands how naturally beautiful she is. I actually didn’t wear makeup daily until after I turned 50 years old. I wear it for work because my face is more broken out now that it ever was as a teenager. I still don’t wear it on weekends and I don’t think I’m ugly without it, I’m just trying to lessen some of my blemishes when in the professional arena.

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