Little lady in red…lipstick.

Looking ready for her closeup (and bearing stronger-than-ever resemblance to Cancer daddy Tom Cruise), five-year-old Suri Cruise hit the New York City streets in bold red lipstick. 


Judge though we may, moms of girlie-girl daughters understand this conflict: your little one sees you painting your face and wants to dip into your lip gloss, eye shadow and mascara. To her, it’s just fun—another surface to decorate. Better than she crayons the walls, right?

The Aries kid is a strong-willed soul, and we doubt Suri would have taken no for an answer on this issue anyway. (We’d rather not picture the private tantrum that may have ensued—possibly the reason for the pissy look on her face.)

As an Aries, Suri has a strong need to express her individuality, even in public ways that raise other parents’ hackles. Heels and lipstick: playing dress-up or a Lolita orange alert? Tough one. With her irreverent Aquarius rising and free-spirited Sagittarius moon, Suri will definitely keep marching to her own beat—in kiddie stilletos if she must.

[Want to know your child’s moon and rising sign? Do a free chart here!]

Red is also Aries’ signature color, so no surprise little Suri would be drawn to it…although it might have been better flaunted in fabric than on her face.

In their own precious way, Aries kids can seem like mini-adults.  They definitely have a “knowing” way about them. Think of Aries child stars like Hayley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense and Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine. Or, to quote Aries megastar Lady Gaga, “baby, she was born this way.”

Let’s not forget that Suri’s Sagittarius mother Katie Holmes referred to Suri as “a very strong woman” when the kid was only two years old. Strange, unless you believe in past lives—and we do. Perhaps Holmes had a sense that she’d birthed an old soul. As a Sagittarius mom myself, I admit that I let my Leo stepdaughter put on lip gloss (though in a barely-visible shade) for dinners out when she was seven. It didn’t seem that any harm could come of it.

So why does this push buttons for so many parents, even when it was clearly done in innocence? The sexualizing of girls is a huge issue in our culture. (In fact, we highly recommend the books So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein to really grasp how to deal with it.) The red flag that matches Suri’s scarlet pout is that at only age five, she may have gotten the message that makeup equals prettiness…and power. In  a culture as hyper-sexualized as ours, it’s seeping in early. 

But girls—and boys—can also discover who they are by playing dress-up. The best thing we can do is to teach daughters (and model this behavior ourselves) that putting on clothes, makeup and jewelry is a choice, and that they’re beautiful with or without accoutrements. And don’t get us started on the gender-izing of makeup. If your little boy wants to go Jo-Bro and sport some guyliner, is that also in the name of fun? 

Is it nature or nurture? Perhaps a bit of both, mixed with some astrological DNA. My 18-month-old Libra daughter Cybele recently started screaming if I don’t dress her in a pink polka-dot dress and sparkly pink buckle shoes I bought her for a wedding. I have to pack the cute black combat boots in her diaper bag and swap them at the playground. Where the hell did she learn this? I even accepted the gift of a pink mini-sofabed adorned with two Disney princesses—though she has yet to see an actual Disney movie. As the co-founder of the body image website, I cringe every time she pulls it out. 

As parents, we pick our battles each day. Maybe the lipstick wars weren’t the fight the Holmes-Cruise clan wanted to wage. 

What do you think? Is makeup a no-no in your home or do we need to lighten up and embrace the spirit of play more? Tell us!

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