Blemished Children

This week I did something I thought I would never do: I sent my young daughter to school with makeup on!  It was class photo day, and she had an absolute shiner of a black eye.  It was every shade of green and yellow and black and blue you can imagine! The bruising (as a result of playing around in the loungeroom and bumping into a cupboard corner) was still visible.  I just took the edge off with a bit of pressed powder.

I don’t mind really that she had a black eye for the photo. She’s a kid. She plays and laughs and lives and bruises like a kid. It’s all part of the package.  That said, I still felt the need to cover it – just a little.

I shared on facebook, and asked whether other mums would cover a black eye, or leave it.  The response was mixed, but lots of mums jumped in to give their thoughts..

One reader shared that some school photographers are now offering to photoshop “blemishes” from your child for a fee.  This is where it crosses the line for me.  Even if I had the option to photoshop my daughter’s bruise out, I wouldn’t.  I’m ok with covering it with a little foundation, but I don’t want to pretend things aren’t there.  And more than that, I am really, really concerned about the message this might send to my kids.   My children are not blemished. Not in any way. Not even with bruises!  I don’t think anyone’s children are blemished. I don’t think anyone is blemished. We are who we are, and we are all beautiful.

What do you think? Would you have covered the bruise a little, like I did?  Would you have left it in all its colourful glory? Or would you go so far as to select the “photoshop blemishes” option if offered?

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19 thoughts on “Blemished Children

  1. Aww squiggle mum !! my daughter had her first school photos on the same day as your daughter had photos and you sparked a great conversation between my partner and myself over what we would have done – on one hand its just a school photo but on the other they are a lovely momento and also there is the factor of how she would have felt about going with a new bruise to forever be in her pic lol
    I dont blame you for putting a little pressed powder on her but I too would stop there and I dont believe in “airbrushing” kids photos (alot of portrait places are doing this now too :( ) although i wonder if faced with it if I would be convinced to have a little light “enhansing” or “shadow lifting” to help minimise the bruise on the pic??? hmmmm
    I am looking at my daughter who is happily doing surprise drawing for me and she is perfect EXACTLY how she is – dispite her scraped knees,tiny bruise speckled legs welted grazed arm and scratched up hands and wrists !!!!! my daughter is a beautiful ACTIVE happy and healthy little girl and these little “war wounds ” or “fun badges” are part of growing up a active and lively girl ::)

  2. Being a parent of a daughter who has never had a black eye, my answers are No, yes and No.
    Of course I don’t feel I can answer with 100% surety not having been in that situation.
    I’m wondering if you have heard about the new panasonic camera with the touch of a button ‘beauty’ functions?

  3. When I first heard about the photoshop option I was less than impressed & decided I’d never take up that offer if it came to my kids photos. Then… I thought about it. I realised that while it sounded bad if you did it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, our kids are who they are blemishes and all but, when you look at school photos in 30 or 40 years do you want it to be all about the black eye they’re sporting or the huge zit on their nose? I wouldn’t ever photoshop out my childs freckles or slim down their nose etc but I think I would allow them to photoshop out something that isn’t an intrinsic part of my child so that when they looked at their school photos they remembered their time at school & not how awkward they felt when they did have that zit. So for some photos, I might think about taking up the option but it won’t be to put back in the two teeth missing from my daughters grade 1 pic :)

  4. Sometimes I wish there were a t-shirt for my toddler’s many mishaps ‘I’m just tired’, ‘I fell off a bench’, ‘Slide didn’t have handlebars’.
    People will think what they think but in the end, the people who matter don’t mind and the people that mind don’t matter.
    I personally love seeing people’s school photos where something interesting is happening or there’s a story behind it. So I’d probably leave it untouched unless his daddy had a problem with it.. he’d probably have a laugh though :)
    Makeup is a parents choice, though I think Photoshopping blemishes is very over the top for photos that are quickly forgotten.

  5. I think it’s ok to tidy it up a bit. But I think it’s also good to let the photo tell the story. I mean, we’re going to get up to 13 school photos aren’t we. They don’t all need to be perfect, you want them to show your child’s personality.

    Bit like when my daughter gets dressed in the morning, some days I cringe with what she has on, but as long as she is not going to catch a cold and she is comfortable in her own skin, who am I to try and fix it.

    It’s these little difference that will tell a story when we look back on them in 10 – 20 years.

  6. Well, the beauty of being a kid is you can get away with going to kinder in your PJ’s, heading out without brushing your hair, dress up as Snow White, Bat Man or a Fairy! Do all that when you are older and your neighbours are ‘getting the hospital on the phone’! We all feel the pressure from Media and the glam queens to be perfect and hence are aiming for perfection. Funny thing is, many females in the glossy mags and media have been Photoshoped! Let kids be kids I say. Their time to be grown up’s comes all too soon :-)

  7. Having boys I think it is a little different again. If I had a daughter I think I would have gone with your option. we have Santa and Christmas photos one year with the biggest of shiners on my eldests eye and It is there for all to see as the year we had shiners. (He managed to hit the same eye about 3 times during that Christmas season)
    However I am also waiting to see what the photos are like this year as he is recovering from 22 stitches through his eyebrow. As the hospital tells me it adds character and we are certainly pushing that side of it to him. Particularly when he has experienced other children saying his scar is ugly.
    Life is full of bumps and bruises and the experience we get from them is what defines us.

  8. I have 2 boys, and touch wood, no black eyes in photos yet….but we have had some clangers! The one my eldest got courtesy of a stray foot in a rugby game? I think he was very proud of it, and was quite keen to show it off. (he was 9 at the time..) If it was for a photo, I would have done the same…just take the edge off, so it wasn’t the first thing everyone noticed. But it still has to be there…if only for bragging rights! If it was my youngest? Same goes. Considering I bruise easily, and it appears they might too, there is no way I can cover up all of their bruises. But if important pics come up, I think making them feel less self conscious is good. Obliterating memories of their childhood though? No. as the saying goes….”School photo? $$, story behind the black eye in my grade 1 photo? priceless…..”

  9. I probably would have done the same thing too, if I had a daughter. I have a son though and wouldn’t have put make up on him – that raises other issues doesn’t it.

    My biggest worry for my son and him starting school is that he sweats a lot! He gets it from me and I get it from my Dad, it’s not really something you can hide though.

    I believe in recording the story that goes with photos, so along side the school photo I would have written a little story about how the black eye came to be.

  10. All very interesting… particularly as my little 5yo came up with a bumpy red rash on his cheeks the day before his school photos recently! I did put a bit of moisteriser-foundation to try to tone it down slightly.

    I have however heard of parents getting their photos back in the last few years and realising that their child has been de-freckled, without them knowing. I agree that that type of photoshopping is wrong.

  11. My youngest 2 (twins) are 19 so I don’t have to deal with that question. I think I would have put a litttle foundation on it too. Don’t forget though, there’s ALWAYS a make up day for those children and/or the parents that were absent or don’t like the photos they received.

  12. I once had a broken arm in a school photo and mostly hid it behind someone else. But looking back that is my favourite photo because it has a story, it is linked to definite experiences, I can remember it. I don’t have that for any of my other school photos. So unless she was unhappy I wouldn’t do anything, if she was then I would tell her my story and if she still wanted it I’d put something on, but I wouldn’t offer straight up.

    My sister has an enormous birthmark on her neck and face, she got a lot of teasing about it growing up. So for her getting some camouflage makeup was a very good thing, she eventually had laser treatment that lightened it. I wonder what the effect of using makeup for smaller, temporary problems is – does it make people sympathise with others who have a worse issue, or does it tell them it should be covered? I don’t know.

  13. I think I would have done the same as you. If my child was worried, I would have used a little pressed powder. In reality, the powder would no doubt be rubbed off by the time the photos were taken.

    My older son was missing both front teeth for his kindy photo (they fell out the week before it was taken). We haven’t had any other significant issues. It makes me sad that school photos are being photoshopped. In this day and age where there are so many photos of our children out there, these school photos aren’t as significant as they were, to my mind anyway. Growing up my parents rarely took photos as it was too expensive to process the films, so my school photos were a significant record of my growth each year. I don’t think that there would be too many kids who could say that now.

    Last year when my daughter was in Year 3 i was astounded how much effort some of the parents put into hairstyles. I’m hairstyle-challenged, so my poor daughter is rather limited in what I can do for her, but some of the girls had the most elaborate hairstyles just for the photos. once again, it seems to be losing perspective somewhat (to me, anyway).

    I hope that your daughter had fun with her photos. My younger two came home after theirs today full of stories of the funny names the photographer used to get the kids’ attention.

  14. I have two girls and they always have something happening on their face. As a kid, all the photos I have of myself, I’m covered with meucrochrame (sp?!) as I always fell on my face. My girls are the same lol and why hide it? Unless it’s school photos, in which case I would probably leave off on the bright red solution and pick something a little less obvious. And for a black eye? A little pressed powder would certainly be on my to-do list for that morning. As for airbrushing or photoshopping school photos…where does it stop? Should we add in some teeth if they’ve had teeth fall out as well??? Not for my curly girlies thanks. They’re PERFECT just the way they are – blemishes or not.

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