These days it’s not that more girls are into makeup, it’s that the girls who are getting into makeup are getting younger. Most girls start wearing make up between the ages of 9 and 10. Girls this age (typically referred to as ‘tweens’) are especially susceptible to marketing gimmicks. This is the main reason why so many cosmetic companies have started to skew their advertising campaigns towards younger girls.
There used to be a time when drug stores and shopping centers would shoo teenagers and tweens away for fear that they would just cause problems. Things have changed a lot in the last few years and now those same store fronts are opening their doors and welcoming in these impressionable young girls along with their purses full of mom and dad’s money.
So what changed? A lot of it has to do with young girls wanting to appear older than they actually are. In most cases the makeup that they’re buying helps them achieve this goal. There is also the teen idol factor. A lot of tweenage girls emulate their teen idols by copying the look of their glossed over and overly made-up idols. A lot of celebrities are even coming out with their own lines of make up, fragrances and skin care products – also trying to tap into that generous 10 – 24 year old market.
Some people might not see this as being a problem. A lot of parents out there just see it as girls being girls. The problem I see with this addiction to make up is that it contributes to projecting an unrealistic image of women and sexuality onto girls who are already at an impressionable age. There are so many unrealistic images of women all over television and movies that it’s tough to know what is real and what is fake anymore. By forcing products onto young women, the unattainable image of beauty seems within reach.
There are certain cosmetic companies that refuse to buy into the whole ‘perfect’ image of beauty and femininity. It’s a good step and if more girls are shown images of real women, then some of the pressure to reach perfection will be removed. Dove’s ‘campaign for true beauty’ takes everyday, regular looking women and shows them in a positive light, embracing their bodies and being beautiful. If girls are shown more of these images then maybe the demand for false beauty will go down.
To me, true beauty is not only accepting how you look, but embracing it as well.