Would you hesitate to buy makeup for your preteen daughter? What about your pre-preteen?
If you answered "yes" to either of those questions (the latter in particular), you'll likely sympathize with the women behind UK organization Pinkstinks. The Guardian reports that Pinkstinks founders Abi and Emma Moore are intent on stopping the marketing of makeup to very young girls.
On its website, Pinkstinks explains the rationale behind its new project:
Pinkstinks is committed to campaigning for a childhood free from pressure to conform, fit in and improve physical appearance. These pressures stem from corporate desire to create new markets whilst helping prepare young girls for lifelong commitment to the beauty industry; an industry which thrives on culivating self-doubt and body hatred.
The Pinkstinks website also enumerates the group's three specific demands: first, an end to the sale of makeup for girls under 8; second, an end to the giveaway of free makeup products with kids' items like comic books; and third, a resolution on the part of parents to "stop accepting and buying these products" for their kids.
Abi Moore spoke to the The Guardian about the proliferation of beauty-based toys for girls, lamenting that "[a]lthough there are still lots of home toys, girls' toys are now very much about being in front of a mirror: beauty parlours and leisure, makeup, brushing your hair, having a hairdryer aged two."
While Pinkstinks requests that makeup products be marketed to girls 8 and older, it's worth noting that tween-targeted makeup has also courted controversy in the past (the line of tween cosmetics launched last year by Walmart is a case in point).
In 2010, the New York Times reported on a NPD Group study about tween cosmetic use:
From 2007 to 2009, the percentage of girls ages 8 to 12 who regularly use mascara and eyeliner nearly doubled -- to 18 percent from 10 percent for mascara, and to 15 percent from 9 percent for eyeliner. The percentage of them using lipstick also rose, to 15 percent from 10 percent.
The marketing of makeup to young girls also plays into a larger -- often heated -- debate about the appropriateness of gender-specific toys and apparel for children. Earlier this year, a catalogue published by Swedish toy company Leklust made headlines for its purposeful contravention of traditional gender roles (it showed a girl riding a toy tractor and a young boy pushing a pram).