Makeup sexPosted in Socialization By Single Dad On January 5, 2010
OK, ladies, I need to understand some things and I seek your help. I know that you wear makeup and fancy clothes and stuff for different reasons. I understand that there is lots that I don’t want to know, such as more on the rumor I hear that you pluck hair from places I don’t want to know.
I know that some young women put on lots of makeup and tight clothes and go out to a bar with the sole goal of “making whoopee.” On the other hand, there are happily married monogamous women I know who won’t even walk the dog in their own back yard until they have mascara and lipstick on just right.
I have learned that you cannot buy a bra at Victoria’s Secret that does not have pads in it to fake out guys, which I never understood since if they work, we eventually find out it’s all a fraud, but my point is that even the bras for, um, well, “healthy” women have them, which boggles my small male mind (small mind, big … heart?).
What about high school “girls”? Why do they dress as they do? And makeup? That seems to start in the early teens, but to what end? To look “pretty”? To be more accepted? To look grown up? To not look ugly?
Is lipstick and mascara sexual by default? If so, is that the only reason you use it? Does shaving your legs make you look less masculine, sexier, or prettier? Which is less sexual … bra-less, a sports bra, or a Victoria Secret super magic miracle in-your-face bra?
Should her ears be pierced? Her navel? And if so, should she wear those shirts that show her midriff?
I have always wanted, and still want, Pearlsky to blend in as much as possible. Her wheelchair is a sparkly black as opposed to other available colors such as glow in the dark, toxic green or yellow (seriously, see the color chart). She wears sneakers over her AFO’sAnkle-foot_orthosis and not three inch red stilettos (which might be tough in a stander). When we go clothes shopping, I look for the saleswoman in her early 20’s and always ask her “what’s in?”
Yes, I know Pearlsky will never really blend in, so maybe it is so she stands out less?
There are those who force mastectomies and hysterectomies on their disabled young daughters in order to “avoid sexualization.” That is abhorrent, illegal and overboard. I, too, do not want my daughter sexualized but I do want her to fit in in other respects. Why should she not be as pretty as she can be … and by what standard of “pretty”?
She is dark haired … do I shave her legs in the summertime when she is in shorts and swimming? Should she wear nail polish? Lipstick? (Those two are probably impractical, but still). How about mascara? If not, why do you? Being a teenager, her skin occasionally breaks out, especially in rhythm with her cycle. Should I try to minimize any acne-like activity? If so, how does that reasoning differ from mascara which would only highlight her beautiful eyes. But then, do I want to highlight anything beautiful about her? If so, why? Why not?
Why can’t a girl be more like a boy …
This is an old post at this point, but I thought I’d put my 2 cents in. I would avoid underwire bras, because they can be very uncomfortable if they don’t fit just right or if they aren’t positioned just right. Many brands make soft cup bras without underwires.
I agree that it would be a good idea to shaver her legs (at least from the knees down) when she’s wearing something that shows her legs – that will definitely help her blend in. Dark hair on women’s legs stands out in this culture. I only shave my visible hair, meaning from the knees down – if she doesn’t have visible hair above the knees, no need to shave.
One reason to try and minimize acne is that pimples, especially the deep kind, can be uncomfortable/painful – it’s not just about looks. I would avoid any concealer or foundation though, because they could make the acne worse.
I would not wax anything – legs, eyebrows, etc – because waxing is painful, and the level of pain/ pain tolerance varies from person to person. Some people find that it’s no big deal, some thing it really hurts but it’s worth it, some people try it and say never ever again! I would hate to think that your daughter was hurting and didn’t understand why and couldn’t communicate to you that she didn’t ever want to do it again. Of course, if you feel that she does understand why/ consents, the point is moot – and in that case, I would get her eyebrows waxed – most teenage girls pluck or wax their eyebrows.
Very late response, probably not relevant, but my two cents anyway:
I may be biased on makeup, since I didn’t start wearing any until college and only wear a little bit when going out somewhere fancy or for important interviews (read: a couple of times a year), and really, it’s always a pain to deal with, more so removing it than applying it.
I don’t think teenagers need to or should wear makeup, because they’re still children and should focus on enjoying their childhood instead of growing up too quickly, but if you want to use makeup on her, then stick to the bare minimum. If you want to highlight her eyes, skip the mascara and use a little bit of a neutral eyeshadow. It’s easier to deal with and looks more natural, though any and all eye products can cause irritation, and there really isn’t a purpose for wearing makeup on an every day basis (unless your job actually has rules about it). Instead of lipstick (which is messy, annoying, and rubs off way too easily), go for a balm or a gloss, since those have conditioning properties. I personally hate nail polish, since it takes a while to do, but its the most practical makeup choice for teenage girls since its long lasting and you don’t have to worry about applying it and it’s easy to remove.
Do take care of her skin with a mild cleanser. Untreated acme is just uncomfortable and irritating to deal with. Teenage girls don’t really need powders or blushes or whatever, especially since many of them can cause skin problems themselves.
Bras, well, Victoria’s Secret is actually pretty horrible when it comes to comfortable supportive bras, at least selection wise. A bra is supposed to make you comfortable, since jiggly bits bouncing everywhere really isn’t, and in order to do that, it has to fit correctly, regardless of whether it is a sports bra or a push-up bra or whatever. Victoria’s Secret tends to only carry certain standard sizes that may not fit perfectly, and a bra should fit perfectly, otherwise it just causes discomfort somewhere. It’s best to talk to someone in the lingerie department of a good department store or a specialty bra store.
Hair removal. As much as I occasionally hate it as a feminist, I was indoctrinated to the ritual of shaving as a teenager, so I can’t really say anything against it (other than I respect women who don’t). But shaving another person is a pain in the behind. If you think hair removal is best and what she wants, try a hair removal cream like Nair. Waxing can be really painful.
Piercings. As a previous commenter said, getting stuff pierced without consent would be an issue. Some people are allergic to having metal in their bodies, anyways. I never understood the whole navel piercing thing at all, never found it attractive in adults or appropriate for children, but as to ear piercing, there are always clip ons or magnetic earrings or sticker earrings. Then again, some places seem to have no problems piercing the ears of babies who can’t consent. But it’s a choice that shouldn’t be made for anyone. I like my multiple ear holes, but not all women do. Plus sleeping on fresh piercings is not all that pleasant.
Clothing for teenagers is tricky. I spent my teen years dressing like a boy and wondering why so many girls were hurrying to “grow up” in short and revealing stuff when I knew I was much more comfortable in t-shirts and loose-fitting pants. Clothing should be comfortable and flattering, regardless of whats in style, because a good fit does so much more for a person looking good than magazines saying a particular item is “in.” Just see what fits her well, regardless of what’s popular.
As to strange female rituals, well, I’m still figuring that one out myself.
I know that this originally came up a year ago, but I am just working my way through your blog now.
I have taught severely disabled kids at the high school level and now teach undergrads at a university.
If your goal is to make your daughter fit in as much as possible, do not put eye makeup on her, or lipstick, etc. It will not make her fit it — it will look like you put a “costume” on her. Moisturizer and skin lotion will make her feel good — blush, etc. will not. Does she like like looking at herself in a mirror? If not, having makeup on her face will really not be for her.
Keep her clean and get her a haircut that is age appropriate and that is easy to manage. When I taught high school, the things that made them stick out the most was when they were still wearing pigtails and scrunchy things in their hair that were more appropriate for elementary schoolers.
About nail polish — if she likes to have her hands/fingers in her mouth then definitely do not polish her nails. It will come off and she will have bits of it stuck on her lips, fingers, etc. Does she wear sandals in the summer? If yes, it might be fun to polish her toenails, but if she has shoes and socks on all the time, what’s the point? Do you think she’s aware enough to be happy that she has polished toenails under her shoes and socks? If no, then … no.
I would also be really careful with scented lotion. I have sensitive skin and a sensitive nose, and it tends to irritate my skin. Also, once you put it on, you’re pretty much stuck smelling like that until you bathe again. You might also want to check to see if any of the kids in her class are sensitive to smells.
The (female) students I currently teach, for the most part, do not wear much makeup and if they do, it’s lipgloss.
Let her clothes be about comfort. Stick with cotton or cotton blends. It’s also easy to wash.
Finally, use deodorant on her. There’s nothing worse than a stinky teen. All the makeup and fancy clothes won’t do a bit of good if she smells bad. Go for something like Ban Rollon unscented. It will be easy to put on and shouldn’t irritate her skin.
I know this thread is old, but I wanted to pipe up with a suggestion… if you use depilatory cream on her legs, you won’t have to shave her. It might be easier. You just spread it on, leave it for 3-5 minutes, and rinse it off. I like Veet, but Nair works too.
Kinda late but I’m reading your blog from the beginning-
I worked at a facility for (what was then called) SMR/TMR. A lot of the ladies there wore makeup, even if they needed help applying it properly.
I regularly painted nails when they asked me to, the ladies wore perfume or body spray.
They shaved, or were assisted to shave their legs and under their arms.
I don’t think that these things “sexualized” them. Although they were significantly disabled they were still feminine and were allowed/encouraged to present themselves as women.
I did have some difficulty with clothes as many of the ladies didn’t understand why they needed to cross their legs in a skirt or not letting their blouse gap open etc.
I was able to find or alter clothes to make sure that they looked nice/fashionable without putting them in a situation where they might be exposed unknowingly.
I also worked in a middle school SMR/TMR and I notices a big difference in how the “normal” (nothing normal about middle school kids) kids perceived our students when they were dressed nicely, hair styled etc.
since you asked- some tips I’ve found useful
French braids look nice, kinda classy, stay up and keep hair out of her mouth if that’s an issue
shave- or nair works well IF her skin isn’t too sensitive
Be consistence of low neck lines or thin shirts that will be see through if damp
I would skip the make up as it’s kinda a hassle and can cause breakouts etc. but use deodorant and/or body spray.
I personally don’t think that nail polish or jewelry is inherently sexy or inappropriate for this population.
I know a girl, lets call her “A” who is severely disabled, low to 0 communication and her weekly girls day out with her mom is a mani/pedi. I doubt A cares or notices her nails but she likes to be with her mom so I figure its a good thing.