Reality star Farrah Abraham, who has come under fire for “sexualizing” her daughter, shared in an Aug. 9 interview with the Allegedly podcast’s Theo Von and Matthew Cole Weiss that she had fought for the right of her 7-year-old daughter, Sophia, to wear makeup at school.
The Teen Mom OG star didn’t seem to appreciate being given a hard time about it by the school principal, according to US magazine. “You know, when your kids are 5 or 6, they already start playing with makeup,” Abraham said in the podcast. “And I mean, I was the only mother in freakin’ elementary school getting called in to deal with makeup on [my] daughter.”
Abraham defended her decision, including calling out the principal herself for wearing makeup. “So I said to them — and I proved my point because then the principal switched schools — I go, ‘Well, then, you should take off your makeup,’” Abraham said. “If you don’t want little girls coming to school with makeup, then don’t wear makeup. And then ever since I’ve seen that principal, she hasn’t had makeup on her face.”
While the argument is a weak one, not to mention a slippery slope — clearly, kids shouldn’t be allowed to do something simply because an adult is also doing it — many children do want to try on their mother’s makeup. “It’s normal for young girls to want to play with makeup,” Jamie M. Howard, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City, tells Yahoo Beauty.
But Howard draws a distinction between experimenting with a parent’s makeup at home, and a young child wearing a full face of makeup in public. “One is a fun activity that is about pretending — e.g. pretending to be a teenager or a grownup — which young kids do all the time,” she says. “The other could lead to sexualizing a child when she is still young.”
However, that doesn’t mean all makeup should be banned. “This is where common sense comes in,” Howard says. “If a young girl wears a clear lipgloss or light-colored ChapStick to school, it’s really no big deal. It’s a problem when a young girl wears so much makeup that she no longer looks her age. Sexualizing young girls can lead to all sorts of problems that are preventable.”
So what is a good age to allow kids to wear makeup outside the house, beyond tinted lip balm? “I like the idea of waiting until middle school — sixth or seventh grade — to start making makeup a part of a girl’s routine,” suggests Howard. “And they should start very light! Again, very important for them to look their age.”