Subscribe to Bitch—an award-winning, 80 page feminist magazine. Image Map

Douchebag Decree: geoGirl's Anti-Aging Makeup for Preteens

douchedecree

Have your preteen's looks suffered with age? GeoGirl can erase her wrinkles in time for that last year of grammar school!

Wait...what?

Alarming but true: the geoGirl makeup company from Wal-Mart (of course*) debuts February 21. Advertised for eight-to-twelve year olds, geoGirl incorporates all-natural "anti-aging components [...] like willow bark to exfoliate and chamomile to calm, as well as anti-oxidants, which reportedly prevent aging," according to the creator. Well, reportedly willow bark will not prevent me from declaring geoGirl utterly douche-y.

geogirl lineup

Can you pick the wrong-headed exfoliator out of this lineup?

First of all, makeup specifically for preteens is a troubling concept. Let's just get that out there. While youngsters from adventurous to insecure may seek out cosmetics, there's a difference between playing dress up and being made to feel as if makeup is, and should be, a necessity through age-targeted products. Children learn from playtime as well as academics, y'know. While many toys are gender-regressive, I'd rather a girl have the imaginative possibilities of a Barbie than a plaything based solely around "improving" her appearance and the further sexualization of youth. I bet M. Gigi Durham would have a few comments. (Also, the products are named for "texting lingo," nudging towards an whole different can of problematic worms.)

Any fan of the Olsen twins or Hello Kitty can tell you tween-geared makeup isn't quite new, but geoGirl has the bizarre distinction of being the first in the smarmy posse to push anti-aging products. Anti-aging is a thriving industry based on the falsehood that age is shameful and true beauty lies in keeping one's body as young as possible, making perpetual youth the ultimate goal. Therefore, geoGirl intimates that even eight-year-olds should be worried about appearing unattractively "old," a message with still more potential to erode self-esteem in young women. (It's also a strange choice, as some commenters have noted, considering that many children want to look and be older, and this is arguably much of the appeal of cosmetics in the first place.)

Smelling controversy, supporters of geoGirl are preemptively defensive and evasive. A Wall Street Journal article titled "It's Just Lip Gloss, Mom" fails to mention the anti-aging angle entirely and focuses on natural curiosity about makeup, captioning the following picture "An 8-year-old easily puts on her own lip gloss:"

geogirl wsj girl

You know what else looks "natural?" NOT wearing makeup.

Preying on the insecurities of young girls for not being the right degree of mature, polished or sexy is no new act either. What I find especially repellent about this doucheline, though, is the way it pushes its supposed environmental friendliness like a bargaining chip. Problematic companies seem even more offensive when they're blatantly reaching for the support of progressives. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is serious doubt about whether the line will have a "green" effect at all. Partially recyclable packaging does not an eco-hero make, and yet the same pieces that tiptoe around geoGirl's anti-aging take care to mention Wal-Mart VP Carmen Bauza's devotion to "beauty care in a responsible way." She goes on to call the cosmetics "a great learning experience for us to determine how to communicate with this generation."

geogirl stick photo

How can we communicate that these are recyclable? I know! We'll model them after toilet paper rolls!

Oh, Carmen. Claiming that adults need makeup to connect with young girls is condescending and disturbing. There are better ways to teach children (of all genders!) about recycling, even if we follow your example in not just, you know, talking about it...

So, bravo, geoGirl: you may never be the top-selling tween makeup brand, but you've already won one award. I officially bestow this Douchebag Decree onto your child-sexualizing, Wal-Marty, faux-liberal heads. If we really want them, there are less douchetastic green cosmetics out there.

*I chose this article as a reference because it also relates to the sexualization of young girls, but if you're looking for more about the not-so-savory history of Wal-Mart, this page is a good place to start.

 

Read more:

Wal-Mart to sell anti-aging make-up to eight-year-olds [ABC]

It's Just Lip Gloss, Mom: Marketers Work to Take The Rebellion Out of Makeup for Preteens [Wall Street Journal]

Walmart Plans to Sell Anti-Aging Makeup to Tweens [Womanist Musings]

Doesn't Every 8-Year-Old Need to Exfoliate? [Ms]

Walmart, Pacific World give sneak peek of GeoGirl [Drug Store News]

Preteen Eco-Friendly Makeup Actually Destroys Our World [Campus Progress]

 

Want more from Bitch? Good news! Our quarterly magazine, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, is packed with 80+ pages of feminist analysis, reviews, illustrations, and more. Subscribe today

Subscribe to Bitch


Comments

20 comments have been made. Post a comment.

douche-a-riffic.

douche-a-riffic.

recycle rex

I see that Recycle Rex is really staying true to it's message even going so far as to recycle character designs from Land Before Time.

Willow bark is what aspirin

Willow bark is what aspirin (salicylic acid) is derived from. So although GeoGirl may be "anti-aging," it's helping girls get a jump on aging by providing them with a substance much like the Aspercreme their grandmas may use. Ick for so many reasons.

it's also what's used in most

it's also what's used in most mainstream acne and skin treatments.

"Anti-aging is a thriving

"Anti-aging is a thriving industry based on the falsehood that age is shameful..."
Yes! And also
"You know what else looks "natural?" NOT wearing makeup."
Yes!
If I see one more article or ad telling me how to choose wrinkle cream for my 23 year old face, or how to make myself look beautifully natural, shit is going to hit the fan. I am beautiful as is, thank you very much. Always have been, always will be. :P

"A word after a word after a word is power."
- Margaret Atwood

You're a person after my own

You're a person after my own heart, Chevy. I'm 24 and I'm admittedly someone who enjoys facial scrubs and stuff, but, yeah, I'm not too worried about wrinkles just yet. And I frickin' HATE makeup.

Right!

I LOVE makeup... but not in any normalizing, beautifying way... my face is a motherf*ckin CANVAS! But that's the thing, makeup is FUN for me... not something I use to fill in my little laugh lines (I'm 23, too) and make my eyes look closer together.

I'm all for girls experimenting and having fun... but not in this way. Not at all.

I love you Chevy and couldn't

I love you Chevy and couldn't say it better myself (and I love your Atwood quote). I for one LOVE getting older - I only get smarter and happier with every passing year and if each passing year comes with a couple new grey hairs and slightly deeper laugh lines (I'm 33 and I laugh an awful lot - more and more the older I get), I will bear them with pride! I don't want to look like a dumb kid, gosh darnet!!! And to hell with makeup - I teach college and it makes me so sad to see so many beautiful young women who have felt compelled to cover their beauty with crappy products.

Thanks, Chevy!

Thanks for your comments! The more pushback there is to "erasing" wrinkles and looking falsely natural, the better. The dominant cosmetic business is full of strange concepts, isn't it? Strange and sad.

Check out our Comments Policy!

It's apparently not just lip gloss.

I do remember experimenting with makeup and cosmetics between the ages of maybe seven and fourteen, but that's pretty standard for girls (and boys, might I add), but anti-aging? Seriously? The fact that someone deemed it acceptable to make 8-year-olds worry about getting old is horrific. If a company wanted to make a line of skin-care products for pubescent girls, I'd honestly have less of a problem. But makeup? No.

To clarify

I have no problem with makeup experimentation, Owl; what I hate about the makeup-FOR-preteens industry is that it sends the message that young girls should be worrying about cosmetics. GeoGirl takes this already-troubling theme to douchey heights with their anti-aging component and strategic faux-environmentalism. Not just lip gloss, indeed!

Check out our Comments Policy!

Um

Yes, that's what I was saying. Nowhere in your post did I feel that you were anti-playing-with-makeup. I got your point.

This is really disturbing and

This is really disturbing and repulsive. I work for a legit natural cosmetics company and the only thing we have geared towards children at this time is lip balm in fun flavors like Banana Split, Melon Twist and Bella Blueberry. They're fun colors, but they don't show up on the lips at all. As a new auntie with two 1yr old nieces I can only imagine what kinds of products will be on the market when they turn 8. You can be damn sure I will steer them in the right direction - away from nasty toxic brands! This has definitely been informative for me and I will for sure be forwarding this to my boss.

If anyone is interested in checking out the line I personally help to handcraft everyday, please visit us at www.zosimosbotanicals.com All the info you need to know is located on our home page, About Us, Ingredients Used and Social Responsibility tabs. We believe everyone should have access to safe cosmetics, skin and hair care products. Last year we were ranked No. 2 in the Top 8 Safest Cosmetics in the U.S. - so check us out!

Agreed!

And it's another excuse for me NOT to shop at my local Walmart. Need another reason to not shop there (Besides their unfair treatment of workers, their disdain for unions [anyone in Wisconsin hear that?] most all of their products being made in China and other countries that pay beyond poverty wages and mistreat their workers, the tax breaks local leaders give them while wondering why their municipalities are going broke ... )? Here is another one!

From the maker of training heels

Good god, so now they're making small children feel bad about not wearing make up? I've never been a "girly" girl and worn makeup everyday. I only wear it occasionally for special occasions, but lord, I hate the smell and the feel of makeup. Not only that, but it's so full of chemicals that I can't comprehend or pronounce. I'm in my late teens and so many girls my age and younger slather on makeup to where they look like china dolls or are horrified to be seen without makeup. I'd rather sleep extra minutes than have to get up and "prepare" my face. Girls 8-12 are naturally curious about makeup/ what their sisters, older cousins, mothers, friends are wearing and want to emulate that, so I can imagine that's the niche that these cosmetics want to fill. But anti-aging creme? Whaaat? I am young, I have wrinkles and lines. Will I not be loved because of this? Why would anyone bother staying with anyone for more than ten years if they minded wrinkles? If you're going to love me, you're going to love me as I am. That's what we need to teach young girls and each other.

Well said

Thank you for a timely and important article. Have any of you younger ladies ever read the original Nancy Drew books from the 30's, 40's and 50's? (Still available at Amazon.com) I spent many hours reading them perched high in the arms of my favorite climbing tree. They emphasized independence, ingenuity, virtue and mischievousness, such a far cry from the cultural trash peddled to our children today. It seems that our society is deliberately conditioning our children, especially girls, to view themselves as nothing more than sex objects. How could we have gone so far backwards?

Best regards,

MAC and Wonder Woman?

Speaking of makeup has anyone seen the campaign dreamed up by DC and MAC? Wonder Woman battles Medusa who's been turning the world's women into "Plain Janes." I can admit that I think Wonder Woman makeup could have been kind of cool (Come on, an eye shadow set named "Defiance"? Badass.) but throwing the Plain Jane thing in there was just plain stupid. But it's certainly not the weirdest battle Wonder Woman has ever fought...sigh..

See MAC's line here:
http://www.maccosmetics.com/whats_new/4782/index.tmpl

For a quick look at Wonder Woman's bizarre creator:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=7921

"Defiance" is shades of pink?

Thanks, Hayley; I hadn't seen this before and am busy rolling my eyes at the description of a "feminine force that saves the day" and the irrelevant f-bomb dropping with "one of the most exciting feminist figures."

Check out our Comments Policy!

The use of makeup for beauty

The use of makeup for beauty standards has always baffled me. Back to my early middle school days when I really started to think about it I just never understood why men and women were held to such different beauty ideals. Men are considered attractive based solely on their natural appearance. They are allowed to "age gracefully," wrinkles, gray hair, redistribution of fat, and all! Then there was the idea that women had to continually try and look younger and younger, with everything from wearing makeup to cover up the "flaws" of the skin that are embraced with men, to coloring one's hair so as to further hide signs of aging, to all of these cosmetic surgeries so that one might do whatever it takes to alter appearance into a "younger, more beautiful you!" (I've heard that direct quote in cosmetic surgery ads before; it makes me sick.)

I am 20 years old, and yes I do wear makeup (exclusively eye makeup), but I started wearing it for entirely different reasons than any beauty campaign ever directed at me. At age 15 I started wearing eyeliner (and then eyeshadow to prevent the eyeliner smudging up my eyelids) to hide the fact that I had been pulling out all of my eyelashes since age 11, finally realizing there was a way to avoid having people notice. (I am happy to say that in recent months I have finally stopped pulling completely.) For me makeup was liberating because I finally stopped wondering every time someone was looking at my eyes whether they were about to ask why I had no eyelashes (which hadn't been too commonplace up until that point, but the question had come up occasionally and made me feel even worse than I already did about feeling a lack of control to stop myself). I've always been really artsy, so naturally once I entered the world of makeup (ie actually started walking down the makeup isle) I realized there were so many amazing colors and that weird artistic expressions were there just waiting to be made by me. To this day I typically only wear eyeshadow if I've got a day off and/or am going somewhere where I can wear weird colors and dramatic looks because I see no use in applying makeup if I can't have fun with it. The only thing I wear every day is mascara, and that's because even though I don't pull them anymore I don't like the natural look and feel of my eyelashes because of what they meant to me for so long. However, I have never changed my belief that all of these "beauty enhancing formulas" and "anti-aging formulas" are the quite the ridiculous and, in my opinion, offensive marketing ploy used on us.

The idea that anyone is out there actively trying to sell makeup to young girls blows my mind. What message are we sending an 8 year old with these products? Before where she might have heard "You're so pretty!" now with introducing her to makeup we are beginning the idea of "You're pretty... but you could be prettier!" It is a horrible message for women of all ages to hear. That should not be the message behind anything marketed at women, and especially young and impressionable girls still trying to figure out who they are. My own personal philosophy when I put on makeup is that it allows me to decide how to present myself to world, the same way the clothes I wear are an expression of myself on display for the world to see. It's not about beauty. And until we are able to take makeup from being an expression of the need to make oneself more beautiful then we'll continue to see this marketing, and there will continue to be girls in middle school questioning and confused as to why there are such dramatically different expectations for the appearances of men and women.

Funny

It's so funny, because I remember when I was little (maybe... 9? 10?) my best friend and I would watch her big sister get ready to go out on a date, or to a party or whatever... and then she would put some lipgloss on us (Vanilla Lip Smacker... still my favorite!) and we would feel all giddy and silly!

Back then, we just wanted to look and feel (and be, really) more grown up.

Now 8 year old girls are being force-fed the ideal to prevent aging?

This is just one big WTF.