While much of the world has been delighting over the debut of CoverGirl’s first-ever cover boy, 17-year-old James Charles, one Christian blogger mom has called out the makeup-wearing teen — and the So Lashy! mascara commercial he stars in — for creating “turmoil” in her home.
“Mommy, why doesn’t daddy wear makeup?” is what Nicole Dean’s 6-year-old son asked when he caught a glimpse of Charles on TV recently. The question created a dilemma for Dean, who homeschools her son and who wrote about the situation for the subscriber-only Homeschool Conservative. On Sunday, the blog site Homeschool Base reprinted her opinion piece.
“We were watching Countdown to Christmas on ABC, and a commercial came up in between watching Toy Story,” she writes. “My son watched this commercial while I wasn’t paying any attention. Because it was just a Cover Girl commercial, I didn’t think I would need to cover the screen.”
Boy, was she wrong, apparently. After her son saw Charles and asked his question, Dean panicked and did the only thing she could think of in the moment: She lied.
“No, that’s a girl,” she admits to telling him. But then the commercial (which also features Katy Perry and Sofia Vergara) came on again later, she writes, and “It is undeniable, it’s a guy. Now we knew we had to talk about it.”
Here’s what Dean came up with the second time around: “Daddy doesn’t wear makeup because makeup is for girls.” To which her son smartly replied, “Well, why is that boy wearing makeup?”
And thus began the “moral dilemma” for Dean, who wondered, “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.’”
She chose the “that’s how his mommy and daddy chose to raise him” route — an interesting one, considering that any boy’s desire to buck norms and be brave enough to wear makeup in this world clearly has to come from within. But now Dean is scared: “My fear is that this will just lead to more questions.” And resentful: “All we wanted to do was watch an animated movie with him.” She adds, “It is incredible how a 30-second clip created such turmoil in my house.”
Charles, who recently appeared on the Ellen show and this week is celebrating the fact that he’s reached 1 million followers on Instagram has had plenty to say about why his visibility is in fact important — especially to little boys like Dean’s 6-year-old, who could potentially find comfort or inspiration there.
“I really hope that as the first male CoverGirl that I am able to inspire others and give other people confidence to try out makeup! Hey, if a random 17-year-old guy can do it, you DEFINITELY can too!” the Bethlehem, N.Y., high school senior told BuzzFeed. “Breaking gender norms just comes instantly as soon as a boy is comfortable and confident enough to put on makeup. I think it’s so important to love who you are and be comfortable in your own skin.”
On Instagram, Charles noted, “I started my Instagram one year ago to inspire others and as an artistic outlet to challenge myself creatively. I truly hope that this shows that anyone and everyone can wear makeup and can do anything if you work hard.”
And regarding his parents, Charles, who came out as gay at the age of 12, told Yahoo Beauty in May, “It was definitely a rough experience at first, just because there was a lack of understanding, and it was something new for them. Now that I’ve been working hard and have had some success, they’ve realized I truly care about this and are doing everything they can to help me!”
But it was surprisingly Dean’s own readers who offered her the best advice about what to tell her son.
A commenter named Heather suggested: “It’s literally one of the simplest things to explain. Q. Why is he wearing makeup? A. Because he likes to wear makeup.”
Added Lorijo, “When my 12-year-old son asked me, I said …because some boys like to wear makeup … and some don’t. He said … OK … and then went on his way to do his own thing. Don’t make this to be more than it is. There is SO much more to be worried about in this world.”
Then, after a commenter with the screen name Born Again MomOf5 noted, “Consumerism in America SUCKS. Companies will do ANYTHING in advertisements in order for their product to get eyeballs,” Andrew Littler issued a retort. “You mean, like advertise to real people that really exist?” to which the mom asked, “What are you talking about?” That inspired another reader to add, “Guys who wear makeup. We exist.”
Finally, it was a reader with the screen name Ghic who got right to the heart of the matter. “Be a parent and say, ‘Some people like wearing makeup, some people don’t. I like wearing it, but Daddy doesn’t,’” the reader suggested to Dean. “What are you afraid of? If your son is straight, makeup won’t change his sexuality.”