04/25/2012 10:39 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Pinkstinks, Don't Mess With My Princess


Pinkstinks is an organization of women taking a stand against makeup marketed to kids. They want parents to boycott all those cute play makeup kits we buy for our daughters when they are little because the founders of the organization believe these products are contributing to the poor self-esteem of young girls.

It's website reads:

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.

We don't all agree with Pinkstinks. If they do not like these products, they should not buy them. My most treasured pictures are from a trip to Disney World; my daughter dressed up like Cinderella with makeup on and glitter in her pigtails. She played with baby dolls as a toddler and now with Barbies as a nine year old. My son's trucks never interested her the way my makeup case did. Now at nine years old, she is the toughest girl in her karate class, surfs with the boys, but is still the girliest girl you ever want to meet. When she wants to wear a little lip gloss, I have never made a fuss about it. When she goes into my closet and tries on my bra, puts on high heels and whatever sparkly dress she can find, I take pictures and love those moments. If Pinkstinks gets rid of all the little girl makeup. maybe they can also put a padlock on my closet so my daughter can not play dress up.

Self-doubt and body hatred comes from our children not being parented properly. In my book, Bonding Over Beauty, I encourage parents to use beauty and personal hygiene as a way to connect with their children. By teaching our girls how to care for their physical appearance, we give them self-confidence. I also tell parents to excercise with their children, grocery shop with them, and help them to look and feel their best. Poor self-esteem stems from parents expecting their children to be the 2.0 version of themselves and putting their own negative body issues on their children. You can ban all the makeup and princesses you want. Girls will find a way to be girlie. And it's OK. Not everything has to be gender neutral. Our gender differences are wonderful and should be embraced.

Pinkstinks needs to focus more on how to encourage their daughters' creativity and foster self-esteem. Taking away the lipstick is not the answer. Spending time with your kids, listening to their feelings, and validating what they have to say will empower them and help them value the individuals they are.