Feminist Fridays: Little Girls and Lipstick

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I’m a firm believer that women should do what empowers them and not take any notice of anyone else. For some this means putting on their make up or perhaps a lipstick to go out, to make them feel confident. Hell, I know I’ve put on a splash of lipstick to make me feel more confident than I really am. While I’m not a frequent make up wearer, I understand that others do and respect their choice. Banning make up isn’t going to sole gender inequality in the world. This week, however, I did have a serious think about children and make up.

When I was a little girl I thought my Mum’s red lipstick was the most classy thing ever ( which is probably where my love for a good red lip comes from), but she only did this when we were going out somewhere special. Day to day, while my Mum used make up it wasn’t made out to be a big thing, she could go out without it if she wanted too, and often did. Now she has two daughters, one who has minimal interest in make up (me) and another who can shame some make up artists if she tried (my sister). I thought back to our childhoods and the way make up was presented to us, it was just another thing. Did we want our nails painted like our Mums? Of course we did but that’s all it was, Mum never showed us a desperation or a need for make up.

Now, when I look for presents for my Goddaughter, due to the fact she’ll be a big sister soon, I find myself increasingly frustrated about what is put on the shelves and the child models themselves. Someone on my Facebook shared an image of a toy that was marketed as 5+ but, alarmingly, the little girls on the front appeared to have red lips. There are piles upon piles of ‘toys’ that have nail varnishes, lipgloss etc with Disney Princesses on. I fully understand little girls wanting to be like their Mums and Sisters but at the same time I’m worried that at the age of 3 or 4 little girls are introduced to an idea that playing, for them, is to do with their appearance.

We all know that growing up is not easy, so why are the toy companies cashing in on making little girls grow up even quicker? I know it’s about business, I know it’s about profit but there’s something I find deeply uncomfortable about it. You don’t want a 4 year old thinking that all they can do is play with dolls and lipgloss. I’m a big believer in letting children be children, because they are for such a short time. Women are told to worry about their bodies from all kinds of media for their entire lives, but putting lipstick on a child that’s going to go on a toy box? It’s too far. We need to take back the toy aisles. We need to tell girls it’s ok to want to play with other things, that they can build whatever they like about lego and we need the kids on the boxes to look like happy and healthy kids, not a dressed up version.

Sometimes, when I write these, I just feel an overwhelming sadness. I struggled so much to fit in even at secondary school because the only make up I was interested was eyeliner, and a lot of it. I struggled when girls would be making up dance routines or playing ‘Mums and Dads’, because I was leading an army in the woods with the boys. I’m not saying that I didn’t LOVE body glitter the age of 10 or put on my Mum’s make up like other girls, of course I did at home. The thing is for almost al of my life I’ve felt like make up was just a thing, not the be all and end all. I don’t care if I go on without it, but I worry about what little girls are seeing now. Look at everyone on Youtube doing make up tutorials, the images used on boxes and the pop stars they watch. There’s never a hair out of place and images are photoshopped for perfection. It may only be a little bit of make up on a model but I for one want to give kids as much time to be kids as possible, before they have to deal with growing up.

Kids and Christmas

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Lexi with one of her presents 

Today one of my FAVOURITE parts of Christmas celebrations happened. Every year me, my sister Summer, my oldest friend Lucy and little Lexi meet up to see each other and exchange presents. Summer plays with Lexi and Lucy and I get to catch up while they run around. Every time I see Lexi she’s shot up even more and she’s the funniest and cutest little kid ever (at one point picking out an Auntie card and handing it to me, so freaking cute).

I’ve written about how amazing it is to be a Godmother/Auntie many times. I’ve documented Lexi’s life through pictures on my phone and I will be doing that for many years to come. She loved the presents she got from everyone (the Belle soft doll in the picture is from the US, my Mum got it when she went earlier in the year) and this is the best reaction to presents. Kids being excited is one of the most awesome parts…I also get excited on a kid level….whoops.

As you all know I don’t have any human children of my own. BUT I do have hamster babies which I may have, sort of, spoilt when I went to the pet section of Wilkinson today. I have heard though from everyone I know with sprogs that when you have them christmas gets even more amazing because seeing their faces makes the day magical. I have to say just by seeing how Lexi reacted today I can understand how people say that, it was adorable.

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My fur babies 

Even though I’m 21 now and my sister is 14 we still get stockings and sent to our rooms early on Christmas eve so the house can be decorated for the day. We still wake up at stupid o clock in the morning, but now we take selfies while we wait, oh and we still get filmed opening all of our presents. Spending time with my sister, seeing Lexi and Lucy and just being home has got me so excited for Christmas now! I’m going to enjoy however long I have of being young, childless and acting like a big, excitable kid!

My Little Monkeys – Family Trip to Longleat

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I spent today in the beautiful floods of an August’s day at Longleat Safari Park! It’s not often that I spend time with my little cousins all at the same time actually doing something together so we all got loaded up into two cars at 8am (I know, out of the house at that hour, it felt very alien) and headed down.

Of course seeing as we’d pre paid and planned the day it hammered down constantly, that said though it was a really great day. We say so many animals Giraffes that the kids could feed, Zebras, Deer (which got very friendly with us to the point of wanting to get in the car), Lions, Tigers and Wolves. The initial idea was to take my super awesome big camera and take a load of shots, but because of the rain the only ones I have aren’t that good and I haven’t managed to pinch my sisters for this blog!

I had to use a wheelchair again because it was just too much but it didn’t put a downer on the day. All the kids were fighting over who would push me, I had little Lola sitting on my lap for cuddles for the entire day. The torrential downpour did soak me through and make me so, so cold though, damn the British weather. I did do something a little differently though, after taking Lola through the Butterfly enclosure (her little face was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen) we came to a part where you could hold/ pet animals. Namely a Snake and a Tarantula. Yep. I don’t like snakes, I’ve held one before but I just don’t like the way they move, for some reason I wanted to hold the spider though, she was called Georgie the Chilian Rose Tarantula. Believe it or not she was actually pretty cute and super soft. Not something I ever thought I’d say.

Going at the age of 20 might be a little different from the last time I went, which was well over 10 years ago. I really enjoyed myself despite the rain and all. It might not seem super exciting but I don’t spend a lot of time with the little ones now that I’ve moved and they’re turning into such awesome little people 🙂