It’s a good way to start a day when you can take joy in comments, where you get to see people standing up against bigotry, fear and hate. Cover Girl recently featured their first male model, James Charles.
When 17-year-old James Charles was named the first male ambassador for CoverGirl this month, the company’s message was simple: “All of our CoverGirls are role models and boundary-breakers, fearlessly expressing themselves, standing up for what they believe and redefining what it means to be beautiful,” the makeup brand said in a press release. “James Charles is no exception.”
Mr. Charles is gorgeous, and no doubt has quite the career in front of him. There always has to be someone though, who just has to have a near heart attack about it all. In this case, a mother of a six year old, who wrote a long, hand-wringing screed on the awful at Homeschool Base. Outside of a bible thumper or two, the comments were filled with people who made one excellent point after another, many of them pointing out that answering the question of “why doesn’t daddy wear make-up?” being the easiest ever: “because he doesn’t want to.” Generally speaking, most children don’t have trouble happily accepting such things, and then they won’t be concerned about who wears cosmetics, because some people like to, and some people don’t. Of course, that wasn’t the problem troubled mom was worried about. It’s danced all around, but of course, the main worry is “oh god, what if my 6 year old son wants to try make-up?” To which, my answer would be “let him.” On with the screed!
Mommy, why doesn’t daddy wear makeup?
This is the question my 6-year-old asked me on Friday afternoon. We were watching Countdown to Christmas on ABC, and a commercial came up in between watching Toy Story.
A commercial for mascara.
The first image is of a boy in a backwards hat with ink and black makeup. He narrates the commercial, but doesn’t reappear until the end. In the last few scenes, he is arching his back and holding his thighs next to six or so other girls. His appears to be the most feminine of all the poses. The tagline read, “Equal is beautiful.” The final image was branded with #LashEquality.
Um, the six or so other girls? Well, we know your mindset already.
My son watched this commercial while I wasn’t paying any attention. Because it was just a CoverGirl commercial, I didn’t think I would need to cover the screen. I was pre-occupied, speaking with David (my husband).
Cover the screen? Cover the fucking screen? How about just hitting the mute button? Or if you are that paranoid, use Netflix, or only stream pre-approved blandness. FFS. I don’t have sprogs, but once upon a time, I was one, and from what I recall, the more fuss you make over something, the more your sprog will be interested in that something. Exotic and forbidden fruit, ya know.
Both of us were caught off guard, we didn’t know how to answer. I don’t know why, but the most logical thing we could think of at that moment was to say, “No, that’s a girl.”
The commercial comes on a second time. It is undeniable, it’s a guy.
Now we knew we had to talk about it.
“Daddy doesn’t wear makeup because makeup is for girls.”
Well why is that boy wearing makeup?
Caught off guard. If you’re this thrown by a very simple question, with a very simple answer, boy do you ever have interesting times coming up. The trite and stupid answer you came up with is utterly wrong. You can go back in history, centuries upon centuries back, and find that men were no strangers to cosmetic use, or hair dyes, or pretty clothes, wigs, high heels, or all the rest of things we humans come up with to decorate ourselves. All different cultures, too. It wasn’t that long ago that standard wear for British and American men included tights, heels, powdered wigs, decorative walking sticks, and use of cosmetics. We won’t get into some of the more personal, uh, accessories.
And now we are faced with a moral dilemma. Do I lie to my son? Or do I tell my 6-year-old my full opinion? I thought about lying and saying, “That’s how his eyes really look.” Or, do I tell the truth and have a deeper discussion with him? Maybe, “That’s the way his mommy and daddy chose to raise him. But, that’s not the way we are choosing to raise you.”
Does a parent end it there? Or continue to say, “That is sinful and wrong. He shouldn’t be doing that, and his parents are wrong.”
Sigh. This is not a moral dilemma. Some people like to wear cosmetics, some don’t. That’s it, leave it there. Or, since you are homeschooling, you could do some extra credit history work, and look into the history of dress, costumes, jewelry, and cosmetics. Oh, wait, that might put ideas into your son’s head. Can’t have that, no. Well, send him off to read the bible, and forbid him to ever look at long, lush eyelashes again! I’m sure that will work.
This is truly what modern parenting has become – having to make a split decision in a single moment, and have both parents on board.
I have news for you, mom, that’s what parenting has always been. You aren’t anything special. You could always try honesty: “I’m not sure how to answer right now, give me a little while to think about it, and we’ll talk later on today.” Or perhaps you could all move into a closet.
Since he is 6, and he is going to see more images like this (it appears), we decided to go the ‘fuller route.’ “That is how his parents chose to raise him…”
My fear is that this will just lead to more questions. Now, we have to monitor more heavily what he is watching. Can we continue to let him watch everything? Or should we put a filter on absolutely every bit of media he is watching?
Crispy Christ onna stick, lady, just how much do you want to emotionally and socially cripple your child? Of course there will be questions, that’s what sprogs do, ask questions. Anyone who has ever been around a child knows that one. They ask about everything, because they need to learn so they can navigate in the world. You’re making such a massive deal about this, you’re pretty much guaranteeing problems. No, actually, you are creating problems where there are none. You’re sounding like one of those creepy people who lock their children up in a basement. Or attic.
At only 6 years old, this is too early. All we wanted to do was watch an animated movie with him. I feel it is clear that every time we sit down with him and watch TV we will need to be prepared for bigger questions. It is a shame that we can’t take our eyes off our son for a single second. Thank God we homeschool.
6 year old children aren’t idiots, and they aren’t infants. You could try and give your child a bit of credit for being intelligent, perceptive, and curious. If you weren’t treating this in major meltdown mode, your child would give an okay and a shrug, and move on. As for you homeschooling, I feel sorry for your son. He won’t be learning much. As for not being able to take your eyes off your son for a single second? Yeah, ya know, suffocation isn’t a good method of child rearing. Also, maybe you should just shut your television off.
I need to find new makeup now. I can’t support this.
I’d recommend learning to live without. You won’t like what you find, I’m afraid. As far as I know, there isn’t a line of Bible Bigot Cosmetics.* Also, I seem to recall that bible of yours not being overly keen on painted women. They were all considered to be whores and harlots, yes? Yes, best just give it up. *If someone has the capital…
I am caught in a slippery slope, now hesitant to let him go over to friend’s house. Our world is headed in a direction where my 6-year-old son is having to grow up so much faster than I want him to.
Where have you been for the last couple of decades? In your parents’ closet, I suppose. Seeing a young man wearing mascara isn’t going to force your son into premature adulthood. Religion, poisons and stunts.
David and I must now determine how we are going to handle these big issues when we are not together. If David and I haven’t discussed something and he is alone with Mark, what will he say? Do we need to talk and then lay it all out, right now? Or do we wait for Mark and the other kids to start discovering these issues?
Well, nice to know spontaneity and actual thought have absolutely no place at all in your parenting. That poor kid.
It is incredible how a 30 second clip created such turmoil in my house.
The only thing that created turmoil in your house is you, mom. You are the one who gave such power to a 30 second clip. You should be in turmoil about just how much you are scarring your own child.
Via Homeschool Base. Go ahead and read the comments, they will make you happy. Most of them, anyway.