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Winifred Adebayo: Little Girl Or Little Woman

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One morning during one of my long vacations in secondary school, I was sent to buy detergent. Thinking my mother had left the house, I rushed in to put on my catastrophic-looking make-up.
The thing is, my mother had a rule: ‘children should look like children’. As crazy as it sounded to me back then, she was firm on children not wearing make-up and dressing or having hairstyles that were more suited for adults. I was young, it made no sense.
Watching older women, I knew something went on the lips and eyes; sometimes it was ‘shiny’. So I grabbed the Vaseline jar, applied a generous amount on my eye-brow and eye-lid, baptized my lips with more Vaseline. Took a scarf and tied my hair, I let some material fall towards my face; it gave me the illusion of long-hair. I took the money I had been given, and I was ready to hit the road.

As soon as I opened the gate, my mother was standing right there. My heart sank to my stomach. I was having an out-of-body experience. I stood there frozen looking like a turkey bathed with grease about to be put in an oven. She just looked at me with pity. I will never forget the words that followed. “The pressure you’re looking for, you cannot handle it at this age”, she proceeded with “if you do today, what you’re supposed to do tomorrow; when tomorrow comes, what will you do?” She didn’t need to say anymore, I ran into the house and reversed my look from masquerade to human being. That was over a decade ago, but the happenings of today makes it feel like over a century ago.

I appreciate make-up and fashion as much as the next woman. However, I can’t help but wonder to myself, if there is a line that’s been crossed. Today more children put on make-up and elaborate hairstyles. I have seen young girls less than 10 years old wearing lipstick, eye shadow, foundation e.t.c. I’ve seen young girls with fixed nails and weaves. The dressing is mind blowing!

Questions flood my mind; why is it so? What’s the point of making a little girl look that way? Are we still allowing children to be and look like children? If we instill ‘attraction’ as a NEED in female children, what becomes of their self-esteem and self-worth as young women?

We have more little girls, looking like ‘little women’. The major pitfall of this is, when things that happen to women, happen to them, they can’t handle it.

I did some calculation: a female child has about 9 years from birth to really enjoy being a ‘child’. From 10-19 years, the challenges of being an adolescent dominates and from there on out, they are adults. Just 9 years out of their whole life! Should it be filled with love, simplicity, and growth? Or should we rush them into womanhood. Make-up and fashion make statements all the time: they have consequences and meanings. Neither of which a girl is equipped to understand or handle, when they are inappropriate.

Several years ago, I had a failed attempt trying to look like a woman, when I was only a girl. I’ve grown up to understand and a lot of people will agree that being a girl and a woman is two different periods of life. Older women play a major role helping young girls understand and transition smoothly between both phases of life.

To everyone reading, especially authority figures in the lives of female children, what’s it going to be: little girls or little women?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Sam74100

Winifred Adebayo was born is Rivers State. She is a registered nurse and working on a PhD. She loves to write; it’s her form or art, designed with self-expression, experiences, and fiction. She blogs at www.winiesworld.com

28 Comments

  1. Calabar Gal

    March 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Nice one winifred…

  2. Scared Homosapien

    March 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Did the parents of the child, used in the article, give you permission to use her picture? Child laws frown against the indiscriminate use of any child’s picture for online purposes without explicit authorization/consent from the parents.

    Nice article, btw.

    • Who, me?

      March 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      There is a photo credit given at the bottom of the article. The child is likely a model whose parents signed a release.

    • Sugar

      March 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      And are you the Child’s parent?

    • ssah

      March 27, 2015 at 11:17 am

      lol, thank you jare. some people can do oversabi sha..

  3. kemi

    March 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Beautiful. i have been saying the same thing. You put on the TV and u watch small angels (refer to kids as angels) dressed with heavy make up and dancing provocatively (e.g dance moms and tiaras [pageant]). You are absolutely, let children be children, cuz they will be adults for a very long time.

  4. Dr. N

    March 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Vaseline on eyebrows? Lol! Can’t deal.

    • Tosin

      March 27, 2015 at 7:51 am

      what 🙂 ? you didn’t do that?
      😀

  5. Tachy

    March 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    A friend tagged me an enemy because i told her to dress her kids like kids. she reminded me that I’m single. well, what do i know?

    • Boladale

      March 26, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Can you imagine, a friend once told me that. She said is because you are not yet marry with your own children that is why i want her to correct her children’s wrong doings.

    • Rapunzel

      March 30, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      Hian some friends tho. Imagine

  6. JESUS' DAUGHTER

    March 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    A LOT OF PARENTS ARE TOTALLY MISGUIDED AND DON’T USE THEIR COMMON SENSE..IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT ASK GOD FOR WISDOM TO RAISE GOD FEARING GOOD KIDS…..WITH GIRLS WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL..i HAVE AN AUNT HERE IN THE US…WHO HAS A VERY PRETTY DAUGHTER WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER ALL SHE DID WAS PUT HER ON DISPLAY, MAKE HER UP, SHE WOULD WEAR TIGHT REVEALING SHORTS AND BARELY THERE TSHIRTS WITH MID-RIFF HANGING OUT, PAINT HER NAILS, ENROL HER IN PAGEANTS, AND THE WHOLE 9 YARDS….THIS GIRL ENDED UP BEING PREGNANT AT 14 WENT THRU AN ABORTION..MOVED TO LOS ANGELES…NOW AS AN ADULT SHE HAS GOTTEN TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL RUNS WITH THE WRONG CROWD..HAS NO CONTACT WITH HER PARENTS…

    • Tosin

      March 27, 2015 at 7:50 am

      So sad. I live near a couple that I hear pimps out their daughter. Indirectly. Because first time I saw this kid posing outside the gate in her short something and newly developing ass, I was like, haa, her papa no dey?
      (I’m pretty judgmental about that stuff lol, plus I lived in the Middle East where standards were different I guess.)
      My neighbour, a thirty-something year old dude said he was scared of her. Basically, her mum pushes her to use her sense, ask for credit, ask for a phone, crap like that from him. He doesn’t want to get in any kind of crazy situation with such a young child, so he basically banned her from ‘nearing’ his door.
      Is life so hard? I feel bad for kids that have to learn such rubbish from home.

  7. ann imoke

    March 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Vry interesting nd true! Most mothers tinks dat ving a female child is all abt showing off!

  8. BlizJoan

    March 26, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    @Jesus Daughter m so sorry about ur cousin.. It’s really sucks but that is the consequences of training and treating a child like a child.

    @winnie nice write up and I learned a lot. That’s is undiluted truth.

  9. D

    March 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Lmso @ greased up face.

    P.S: On another note and this is not in anyway to take away from the article. I am trying to find an article that Chef Fregz did awhile back on best places to shop for groceries in lagos. I thought it was sometime last year but i can’t seem to find it when i go through the BN Cuisine files. Can anyone help me please???

  10. Concerned

    March 26, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Tell them o.
    Also…please let Aki and Pawpaw act adult roles. Most times they act dual roles. Today, they are children fighting over Lollypop, tomorrow they are adults smootching and sleeping with their girlfriends…….kids watching them are confused!!!!!
    Nollywood please interfere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Teacher28

    March 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    It’s become a norm now to see girls looking like ladies. We had our school’s inter-house sports today and some house hired a makeup artist.

  12. Anu

    March 26, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I hate “Toddlers and Tiaras” and programmes like that! Write up is on point.

  13. khaleesi

    March 27, 2015 at 2:05 am

    I did a write-up on something similar a while back..
    betapikin.blogspot.com/2014/08/nudity-sells-but-should-you-be-vendor.html?m=1

  14. Tosin

    March 27, 2015 at 7:43 am

    When I was younger, early teens, I really wanted to cover-cover. I think I’ve always been worried about triggering sexual responses, jealousy, all that.
    Flashy earrings, fine, attract diffuse attention and interest, but I just didn’t want the direct male gaze, you know, the boners loool. I was also a strongly born-a Christian. I recommend it, I recommend hyper-religiousity at that age 😉

    Nowadays, I still really want to cover-cover most of the time. I understand that ppl think it sells to lay your cards on the table (well, your goods, boobies or legs or yansh or curves or eyes or pout or fitness or voice), and I’ve asked around and apparently it sells, but still I stubbornly attribute negatives to hyperfemininity, to overselling. I assume incompetence. I assume it’s all packaging.

    One time, this chick was trying to sell mobile banking. I thought she was a looker and told her so 😉
    I didn’t think she was qualified to sell a tech product, thought she might be a scammer. The bank verified and she showed me her ID so I tried her out. It turns out that she was smart and qualified. It’s just that with her short this and tight that and sexy eyes, she could get more customers and I presume earn more commission. What do I know? Me I’d have been more attracted to a plain-looking team at a table with banners, facts, and name-tags.

    If I ever have a daughter, my fantasy is that she’ll be big and strong, very confident, square shoulders, limby, possibly a basketball player loool. I haven’t yet worried about make-up, I think as long as she’s all those things, who cares what she experiments with? 😀

  15. christabel

    March 27, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Very nice write up. I was at ikeja mall on tuesday I saw these 6 kids maybe from age of 12 to 14 wearing heavy makeup. I went on a date I couldn’t concentrate I had to tell my date we should leave the place cause I was so pissed. To my amazement they were all wearing red lipsticks and even had the guts to bring the lipsticks out to add more on their lips. I couldn’t handle it cause I was so disgusted.

  16. irryn

    March 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    i was in my first year at the university when my younger sister was somewhat 14,she will put on make up to go anywhere you send her,even to school,very awful make up colours,meanwhile i didnt even know the price of a lip gloss,i use to tell her exact words,u are still a child,so be one till age dawns on you….no dey eat fish way they don spice for big women (cameroonian pidgin)

  17. Rapunzel

    March 30, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    So on point. It irks me to see female kids in makeup. Especially at weddings and other events. Let kids be kids. I mean it’s just lasts for 16yrs then u can do whatever. When I was a kid, I would play with my mum nail polish n line my lips. I couldn’t wait to officially start fixing acrylics on my nails. I also couldn’t wait to relax my hair. My mum was pretty adamant on team natural for me till I finished high school. Now I’m in my 20s n I don’t even fix my nails any more. Clean cut nails for me now. So there is time for everything. Let kids be kids.

  18. kay

    April 1, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I totally agree. Same thing with the way kids Dance so provocatively at b.day parties. People laugh that my kids don’t know to dance & they feel bad when they don’t win prizes at such parties but I tell them not to worry & reward them myself for such cool moves. If u dress ur lil girl scantily now how will u stop her when she’s all grown (when she’s already used to dressing that way) Biko let kids be kids. Restrict what they watch to kid friendly programmes. In the future u won’t be able to remedy any damage done to their foundation.

  19. Jane

    April 2, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Nice write-up. I totally agree

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