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Make-up on little kids

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  • Make-up on little kids

    This isn't meant to start controversy, I'm just curious. I've noticed a few posts here (and a lot elsewhere) of pageant kids, or simulating the pageant look on children. This basically involves making them look like they have make-up on (or enhancing make-up they actually have on).

    Since the purpose of make-up is to send cues of desireability, fertility and sexual receptiveness, isn't it just a little bit inappropriate to make up or retouch an 8 year old to send these cues?

    I'm sure there will be some "that's not the purpose of make-up" points made, but that's been the purpose of cosmetics since before Cleopatra's time.
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  • #2
    I agree Doug. We don't have these "pageant" things in the UK, & when i first started doing retouching, i was to say the least, horrified when i saw some of these on other websites. I can't see the logic of the parents who want to see their little children portrayed in this manner. With the sordid things that go on in this world today, especially on the internet, i would have thought that adults would be more cautious as to how their kids are seen in what they think maybe innocent photographs. They would probably say, "well my kid looks beautiful & i want others to see how beautiful they are", but i'm sure that the use of make-up, or the retouching used to achieve this look, degrades the child & robs them of thier true innocence.


    • #3
      I've felt the same reaction. Of course, I'm 60, and I didn't start using make-up until I was in high school (9th grade) . Nowadays, some little girls are bugging their mom for makeup when they're barely out of primary grades -- I didn't even notice what makeup my mother used when I was that age


      • #4
        I must say I agree. Personally, it kind of creeps me out with this whole "tarting up" of kids to make them look like their in a "beauty pageant." I'm sorry if this is a bit blunt, but it frankly makes them look like they should be working the red light district in [insert seedy area here].

        I can see smoothing out skin tones on babies, kids, preteens, etc, that have blotchy skin, acne, scars, but I don't understand the desire to make these children up like that. But then again, I don't "get" the whole pageant thing to begin with regardless of what the person's age (or gender) is.


        • #5
          It's all done in the name of science man...little Sally's face might melt from the stuff so that we don't risk a precious supermodel.

          I actually feel pretty sorry for any kid that has to endure make-up being slathered on their face when they would probably rather be outside with their friends riding a bike or playing a game. Early plastic surgery will be the next big thing...


          • #6
            Had a family in for a portrait a few years ago. Was having a problem with the daughter, she was in a sleeveles dress and her bra strap kept falling down. The mom was a little upset, but like she said, what can you do with a 3'd grader?



            • #7
              I don"t care for it either. It makes them look like dolls.
              A woman I used to work with has a neighbor with two small daughters in grade school. She regularly takes them to tanning salons, and bleaches their hair. It's really a shame.


              • #8
                Well I have to agree with everything said here.
                Everytime I see these types of photos I just feel so sad for the "little" girl.

                My daughter played with makeup when she was little, she looked cute (the makeup looked more like a clown then glamor - LOL) --- shame little girls should "play" with makeup and dressup - not be made to look like a super model.


                • #9
                  Interestingly (at least to me), or a recent documentary channel they showed how people perceived adults with childlike features (big eyes, big mouth, short face, etc.) as sexually attractive. Since self-awareness has gone out of vogue nowadays, I think people are reacting to sexual cues from these little kids without even being aware of it. At least I hope they're not conciously aware of it.

                  And of course you have the stage moms who see the kid as an extension of themselves, so if the kid is sexy then she must be, too.
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Doug Nelson
                    Since self-awareness has gone out of vogue nowadays, I think people are reacting to sexual cues from these little kids without even being aware of it.

                    I think you hit the nail on the head as far as the utter lack of self- awareness in people. I would attribute that to the numbing effect our culture least American culture. I think someone looking at our culture from the outside would be, as Paulie said above, "horrified"...and yet we view things with a detached and almost amused perspective. I'd argue that the whole make-up / pageant thing is indicative of a much deeper problem with our society (which you have already alluded to)...we are like the Roman Empire right before things got really decadent and came crumbling down.


                    • #11

                      I personally would not tan a child, slather on make-up, or bleach their hair, but as a professional, if a client asks me to do a pageant "glam" I ask how "glam" do they want it. I'd rather do it digitally then have the parents make them up like Tammy Faye and snap a picture. I try to keep the look of a porcelain doll, or even more natural when possible. I often find myself digitally removing the make-up originally put on the child and evening out the tone. Re-drawing the eyelashes is generally a requirement since the mascara is so clumpy. My advice to parents is to take pictures with just natural looking kids, then if you want it done have a retoucher do the rest.



                      • #12
                        I don't know why I didn't see this thread before. My wife and I watched a program on TV about one of the "beauty pageants" for little kids. Why would anyone want to take their 6 year old little girl, and make them look like a 20 something floozie, working in an area of ill repute?? Why not let them just be kids, like the ones we see in our local neighborhood, playing in the mud puddles after a rain? I guess somehow they see fame and fortune in it, and they're willing to sacrifice the best years of their children's life.



                        • #13
                          I haven't posted for quite a while because I hardly make it to the site anymore, but I can weigh in on this one. Back in the summer I had my first opportunity to deal with a pageant photo and have dealt with quite a few since then and I have to agree with everyone else.

                          I was told that the children needed to look like porcelain dolls and even asked to put makeup and thick eyelashes on infants. With the internet, many of these photos are only being used for online photo pageants, and I was told that with many of them it doesn't matter if it even resembles the kid or not, because the only thing that is judged is the photo - if you look at some of these photos, it wouldn't even be possible to get the child to look that way with makeup - they look like anime with huge eyes and matte skin. I was asked to take weight off a chubby 10 year old for one photo and looking at the picture (where she was clearly miserable and uncomfortable to begin with) I couldn't help but think what a nightmare it must be to have your mom make you look like someone else in your photo because you aren't good enough.

                          Also, and I am sure I will get flamed for this, but the moms I have dealt with in the pageant world have been less than honest and in several cases never paid me. I have also received communication from another retoucher that one of them did the exact same thing to him - so watch out - especially for people who want endless samples and promise you lots of work.

                          It seems that these online photo contests are a way for women to make a quick buck off their kids. I won't be doing any more glam photos of kids.

                          PS: That TV special is called "living dolls" and it aired on HBO - I have wanted to see it since I heard about it.


                          • #14
                            Does anyone remember the Sunday newspaper cartoon in which Opus, wearing a Davey Crockett coonskin cap, is playing marbles?

                            Up walks this little girl wearing her "Madonna starter slut outfit."

                            Opus says, "I think kids today have lost their marbles."

                            I wish I still had a copy of that cartoon--one of my favorites. It says it all.

                            Last edited by ExclamPt; 01-22-2004, 09:03 AM.


                            • #15
                              I wont flame you

                              Originally posted by chiquitita
                              Also, and I am sure I will get flamed for this, but the moms I have dealt with in the pageant world have been less than honest and in several cases never paid me. I have also received communication from another retoucher that one of them did the exact same thing to him - so watch out - especially for people who want endless samples and promise you lots of work.
                              Being that the majority of my work comes from pageant retouches, I guess I would be termed a professional pageant retoucher, lol. I know exactly what you're saying. I have had so many no-pays and partial-pays, that I have to require 1/2 upfront for large orders and I put a big "PROOF" on their digital proofs so that they won't steal them for their online competitions without paying me first. It makes if difficult to discern the good people from the bad so you must in essence punish them all. Not all of the pageant parents are nasty, but there is a 3 to 1 ratio in favor of them being impossible to work with. Most want more than what you offer for your price range. Complete digital surgery for $20, lol! Luckily, I have been picked up by a photographer so it makes my life a lot more managable. I still get impossible requests passed on from the parents, but at least I have a buffer and I actually enjoy some of the challenges given to me. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger ::grinz::


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