Make-Up or No-Make-Up

We request your opinion!

It has emerged that many of our older girls in the school are choosing to wear make-up to school and it has prompted a discussion at all levels in our school most notably amongst the children themselves, but also at teacher,
parent and management levels too. To the extent that it really is decision time! Please help us in our decision making by contributing to this Blog?

At the children-level, the Student Council representatives have gleaned the views from all the boys and girls in their classes and brought them to the Council meetings. They are quite ‘split’ in their opinions. Many have argued that it is the child’s right to express himself/herself in this way, in a similar vein as we do when we have our ‘no uniform’ policy about clothes. Other children feel that they are being pressurised by their peers into wearing make-up and that they would prefer if there was a clear ban from the school on wearing make-up. One or two have said that those children wearing make-up are subtly bullying those who don’t by asserting that ‘cool’ people wear make-up and those who don’t (or aren’t allowed) ‘aren’t cool’.

Teachers, too, are differing in opinion. In addition to the opinions of the children as stated above further issues are emerging. Some teachers feel that the children who wish to wear make-up must be respected in their choice to do so and that the issue does not vary from similar discussions about, for example, jewellery where the only ban is on the kind of jewellery that might cause a health and safety risk or concern. However, many teachers feel that the school should ban the wearing of make-up outright. These teachers feel that wearing make-up to school reflects the exploitative and early-sexualisation desire of many companies and interests in the fashion industries for their own gain. Similarly, these teachers feel that the school should be a safe-haven from these forces for all children, both those who are wearing the make-up and those who are not.

Parents, too, differ in their opinions. Some parents of children who are wearing make-up will assert that this is the world the children are living in and that the children are wearing make-up in other social situations, so why not school. Other parents feel that it would assist them greatly in their domestic battle against the wearing of make-up if the school simply banned it.

We would like ot make a decision shortly on ths matter and your comments to this Blog cold be of great benefit to us in this process. So please comment.

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23 Responses to “Make-Up or No-Make-Up”


  1. 1 Emma Dunne May 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I’m going to rock the boat. Make up is not an issue for me.

    As long as it is reasonable – a bit of lip gloss, a bit of eye shadow. I understand this will be hard to police as one person’s idea of ‘reasonable’ may be completely different from my own. So it will have to be an all or none decision.

    The subject of pressure is completely replaceable. Today it is makeup, take that away, and tomorrow it is the way your hair is cut, the clothes you wear, the bag you carry, the music you listen to…

    I feel as a parent, I need to take responsibility on how my children look once they leave the house. I have no problem with a bit of makeup at a senior level, but I do take issue with some of the fashion I see at the school and find some of the outfits on the girls completely inappropriate for their age and for school. I can tell you that I never noticed anyone’s makeup, but some outfits have been burned into memory!!

    I find it strange that you would choose to debate makeup over dress code.

    I love that there is no uniform policy at the school and by banning one item; I feel you may be opening a ‘Pandora’s box’ into what else to eliminate.

    Although there is no uniform policy and as make up, minis, and low cut tops are still allowed – I still feel strongly that, if the child is inappropriately attired or adorned, the school should contact the parents and discuss this on an individual basis.

    If a bit of makeup hides a blemish that makes you self conscious or boosts your confidence – go for it! (Remember, less is always more)

  2. 2 Gillian Williams May 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Yes I believe that children have the right to express themselves but a line has to be drawn between expression within school and expression at home. If we are not fortunate enough to have an Educate Together Secondary School built in our future most of our children will have to go to a secondary school with a stricter dress code for which make up is prohibited. I believe that if we do not allow make up to be worn now it will make the transition easier for when they start their secondary school experience, this may in turn lead to less temper tantrums / outbursts from teenagers that we as parents have to deal with before school.
    Regards,
    Gillian.

  3. 3 Lisa Moore April 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I believe letting children wear make up at school is a step too far. I’m a little concerned that it is even up for discussion to be honest. They are children, not teenagers, not adults. Most teenagers are not allowed make up in school and if they are it is minimal. My daughter will not be permitted to wear it to school as she is a child and should look like a child, not a woman. They have their whole lives ahead of them to express themselves in this way. It is totally inappropriate and bad for their very young skin. I’m with Pascal on this one.
    As far as not letting teachers wear it if pupils can’t, another step too far in my opinion. Teachers are ADULTS and are capable of making their own decisions on what is appropriate and what is not. I’m all for freedom of expression but seriously, sometimes kids just have to be told whats not allowed and why.

  4. 4 salha boudiaf April 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    i strongly disagree that make.up should be allowed in school as it will make the personality of girls go stronger and it will make the older girls show off in front of younger girls that are not allowed wear make.up. i also think that it will make the girls think that it will make the girls think they are older than their age.

    thank you :)

  5. 5 Natalia Fernandez April 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    make up or no make up??uhmmmm ..once upon a time I was a 12 year old girl too and I did want to wear make up , not because I needed it , but because I wanted to look and fell like a grown up, because I felt like a grown up.If individual parents allowed their girls ( some boys this days wear make up too, believe it or not)is nothing anyone could do or say about it.In my personal opinion, I do not think school is a place were make up is requested or needed in any form. My higher concern is that a teenager skin is very sensitive and inadequate make up can cost acne and other dermatitis ..please very careful, girls and boys, with what you lay in your young,hormonal and overall beautiful skin.

  6. 6 Mary McGrath April 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    While I accept that the school should encourage children to express themselves and their identities, I would counter that young girls wearing make-up are not expressing their identities at all. On the contrary, I think they are suppressing their identities through conformity to very narrow ideas of feminine beauty. It does not enhance a girl’s self-expression in any way to wear make-up, in fact it impedes it. And if another – make-up free – girl is inhibited in her self-expression by someone else, then how much self-expression is taking place at all? Part of learning to express yourself in any particular way is learning that just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should. I think this is an area that the school should regulate, not because it makes like easier for parents (which of course it does, thanks!!) but just because it’s right. I don’t think this is something the school is entirely uncomfortable with this idea, either. Children express themselves via the means of their mobile phones and yet the school is quite happy to regulate this area of their behaviour while on school property in the cause of the general well-being of the school population.

  7. 7 J.P. (parent) April 14, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I think girls experiment with make up because they see women around doing it.
    It would be a big issue for me if my son used make up. Because he is a male and make up is traditionally accounted as ladies’. But for a girl make up is also another thing in the list of activities which are distinctive, characteristic for females.
    And it is also another kind of art for them, more advanced level of facepainting. Because they are still kids.
    About myself: I had make up in school from the age of aprox 13. But I think wrong /inappropriate to may age books, lack of parental control and too much free time have done more harm to my development than cosmetics. I am over 30 now and I use make up going to work, only because I have to,-good make up is just a part of my “professional look”.
    I think make up should be banned in primary school. It is too early for so young children. But I do not see how it can be done in real life.
    This is the side effect of the freedom of selfexpression.
    If our school had a uniform, it would be easier to justify restrictions. (“Formal style, same as usually recommended for job interviews”.) We could say that dress code and overall style should be appropriate for the place. We could say that to wear makeup to school is as inadequate as wearing miniskirt and bellytops to the church. But our school has no uniform policy. (I do not mind.) After promoting freedom, rights and selfexpression it is more challenging and not consistent to ban anything.
    My opinion: further ongoing education required. At school and at home. Regarding Attitude towards advertising, style, make up. About Where to draw the line in selfexpression and in freedom. About tatoos and piercings. That beauty comes within. About “Really stylish and high quality makeup is natural and invisible”. Re ads- I teach my child that most ads are mice traps. People want make more money and they try to catch up our minds. May be this is can be done within lessons on selfexpression.
    I think (and I do not insist I am right),in this particular school make up may be allowed, but with clearly set up criteria.For example: only mascara and natural tone lipgloss to school.
    And children should be given reasons why make up is restricted to certain limiits.
    Our kids have got to learn the practical meaning of such words as “appropriate”, “adequate”, “natural”, “relevant”, “limited”. It is time! and good chance! for them to learn this.
    Personal opinion: the more person has inside(values, spirituality, faith, education, selfesteem,), the less the person needs to hang/draw on herslelf on the outside. Really confident / assertive people need nothing very special to decor their bodies/clothes.

  8. 8 Elina April 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I think children should’nt allowed wear make up,and Jessica(from 6th class)when we are in school make up will interfere with uor studyes maybe not for you but for some people in will.
    Sow my opinion is NO! no make up allowed

  9. 9 lorna long April 14, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    i think the girls who are in 6th class should not wearing a make up to pirmary school,they need respect to all the classes from junior to 5th,for an example the girls in 2nd or 3rd would have copy them with make up its not balance. the girls who are going to secondary school, of course they can wear a make up if they want to. regards lorna

  10. 10 Deirdre Deegan April 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    I totally disagree with children (6th class or younger) wearing make-up to school. I feel children wearing make-up at such a young age is playing a roll in early sexualisation. It’s strengthening an already way too powerful media. Children should not feel pressured to conforming to standards as set out by advertising campaigns as we as adults might sometimes do. They should not have that pressure at such a young age. No one is disputing their right to express themselves but they don’t physically, mentally or emotionally need make-up to do so. Since time began it has been frowned upon for children to wear make-up and with good reason. Children should be allowed remain children for as long as possible. We should be debating how to teach them to become articulate and be able to stand up for what they believe in without losing their innocence. This statement comes from a beauty therapist/make-up artist.

  11. 11 gulsah.aydin April 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    having two little sisters who go to the school i strongly believe that makeup should be banned. If the children in 5th and 6th start to go full on with make up this will not set a good example for the much younger students in the school. And I would hate to know that some girls would feel pressured into wearing make up.

  12. 12 aylin.a April 13, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I think we should not be aloud to wear make up because some kids can get pressured into wearing it just to fit in, secondly because it makes them look older than they really are.What would our school be if children around the age of 13 and under were given permission to wear make up at school.

  13. 13 Bola I April 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    As a parent I think beauty comes within, not with make- up. And children that are still in primary school are still very young for make-up. At lest they should be around 14-15 before they wear make- up. Personally I would not allow my children to wear- make up to school.
    Anna B- teachers are adult not children, so they can wear make- up if they choose to do so, once is in minimal…

    • 14 Nastia April 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      I think makeup should not be alowed….cause….imagine 1st class girls wearing make up! :O….. If we (5th And 6th) were maake up then the rest will…And btw make up is bad for your skin xD :DD

  14. 15 Paschal 4th Class Teacher April 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I believe children in our school are treated with respect, dignity and fairness. They are given many opportunities to express themselves in their time with us. They are made aware of rights and responsibilities from Junior Infants up. Our school is an encouraging, facillitating environment where they are enabled to achieve their potential academically, socially, emotionally and eventually to leave here as contributing, critically thinking citizens who celebrate differences and are equipped to deal with the wider world.
    Our job ,as I see it, is to create a safe environment where they feel protected and can enjoy being children. Outside the school they are bombarded by media manipulation telling them how they can be accepted or popular by wearing particular brands, smelling the right way, eating in the cool places, being part of specific groups, possessing the right items (PS3s, Wiis,etc.) Children are exploring the limits of their behaviour, struggling to find their identities ,experimenting with their looks etc. They need boundaries to protect their developmental stages. They are deeply impressionable and are most influenced by peer pressure. Society is sexualising children at increasingly early ages :they are encouraged to wear clothing with inappropriately suggestive slogans, to buy bags, pencil cases etc bearing the Playboy insignia and to wear padded bras from the onset of physical development.
    The wearing of make up is not a right in primary school. If it is allowed ,I believe, it is the school’s endorsement and approval of media manipulation preying on the insecurities of young children and pushing them into becoming adult consumers much too early. If primary children are allowed to wear make up in school it creates division, encourages imitation and erodes their right to childhood. Let children be children, they’ll be adults long enough!

  15. 16 Mary (3rd Class Teacher) April 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/uk/newsid_3638000/3638020.stm

    I thought this might be of some interest…

  16. 17 Anon April 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    As a mother of a girl in 6th class, we do not allow our daughter to wear make up to school. Personally I feel she is a little too young for that. Having said that o would have no problem with her peers wearing it. As long as it’s kept to a reasonable amount and their over all look it’s too grown up, I think it’s good for them to be allowed to express themselves . I also feel it’s a matter for the parents, maybe they should firstly talk to their daughters about the reasons why they feel they want to wear it.

  17. 18 Dan (6th Class Teacher) April 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Children have the right to express themselves.

    This right is strongly encouraged and is clearly evident in our school where children are provided with many platforms in which to display their individuality.

    We also make huge efforts to provide a school atmosphere that ensures that no child feels in any way inadequate or under pressure to conform to one way of thinking, one way of expression or one image.

    A substantial number of girls in the school have expressed concern when it comes to the matter of make-up. Should their right to an inclusive and non-judgemental school environment be ignored for the sake of make-up?

    I personally believe that the children already have access to a huge variety of fora for self-expression, both in class and during break time. If make-up has become a divisive subject which leaves some children feeling excluded or “less cool” then perhaps we can leave it as something children can use, with parental consent, outside of school.

  18. 19 Jessica Lawlor April 10, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    One of the many reasons I love BETNS is because us students are allowed to express our individuality.
    This can be done in many ways. I like the way we are allowed to express ourselves through our clothing & I feel that should go for make-up too.
    In my old school we had to wear a uniform and were not allowed to wear make-up & I found it quite boring as we were all the same.
    I think we should be allowed to wear make-up to school once it doesn’t interfere with are studies!

    Jessica Lawlor
    6th Class.

  19. 20 jennifer April 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

    it is a very difficult issue and whilist everybody needs to have respect those who do and does who dont wear make up,it be like boys verses girls if there are no bounderies put in place,it may become a bigger issue if not tackled.i would as a parent prefer no child wear make up,beauty comes from within, as i respect some 13yr olds i think a minimum of make up and offer example a eye liner or a lip gloss be excepted and no more as when out of school if there parents are happy for there child to do so then out of school they could do so.
    i peronally would not like my daughter to go school wearing make up and her hair done up like some of the girls who i have seeN its ott and beauty comes from within and then a new issue not with girls would arrive but with boys like an earring,tattoo,gelled hair,clothing seen some boys copying there idols hanging jeans showing there undergarments would be a probable issue as boys should be a equal rights.

    IN TOTAL I FEEL A BOUNDARY SHOULD BE PUT IN PLACE TO PREVENT FURTHER ISSUES EITHER NO MAKE UP OR A MINIMUM

  20. 21 judith makris April 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    This is an interesting arguement as there are many ways it can go as discussed already.
    Obviously teachers are in locus parentis so their decision making will come from what they feel is best for the pupils in their care, and if they have children of their own, how they would care for their own children.
    Has anyone considered that make up is not at all good for skin, let alone the skin of a child?
    We encourage healthy eating and healthy lifestyle so why not include this in the care of the pupils?

  21. 22 Anna G. April 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Life is not fair Anna! The teachers are adults; they can drive a car, drink, smoke etc. Teachers and pupils are not “equal”. I think 12-13 years old girls are children after all. They just need our love and our support.

    Regards,

    Anna G.

  22. 23 Anna B April 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Would the teachers be willing to stop wearing make up also? If you are going to ask the students not to, then it seems fair that you should also ask the teachers to do the same. It’s been a long day, maybe this is a crazy suggestion….


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