New York Times Celebrates Sexualization of 10-Year-Old Boy

 

His eye makeup is better than yours,” reads the headline in the New York Times. The article is about Jack Bennett, a 10-year-old boy from Berkshire, England. Thanks to his Instagram account, @makeuupbyjack, the pre-pubescent is now advising cosmetic companies like MAC and NYX on trends and “looks.” Bennett is one of a growing number of young men and boys who are becoming popular on the social media site for sharing pictures of themselves doing their own makeup:

In only a couple of years, these young men have gained sway in the industry. Cosmetics brands like Milk Makeup have built their offerings on genderless beauty; the skin-care company Glow Recipe hosts sold-out boy beauty mask classes; and in the fragrance aisle, unisex scent houses continue to grow.

…And the men who are paying attention appear to be getting younger and younger. Jack Bennett is one of the youngest and sees his account as a way to “enjoy the artistic side of makeup.” Jake Warden, from Longmont, Colo., is 15 and has 2.1 million Instagram followers. MAC Cosmetics has paid him to feature its Studio Fix foundation. Alan Macias (473,000 followers) is 19. His favorite look is what he calls “boy glam, which is a boy, but a pretty boy.”

“That’s foundation, concealer, mascara, gloss and done,” he said.

And it’s likely they would all like to achieve the success of James Charles, now 18 with 2.5 million Instagram followers, who landed a CoverGirl contract as its first male ambassador.

Fashion moguls shrug off the fact that some of these boys are far from the legal age of consent. Hungry for traffic, they’re willing to argue that seductive pictures of young boys wearing makeup has nothing to do with sexuality or gender and everything to do with “art”:

Certainly their ages have raised eyebrows and drawn eyeballs. Some have mainstream celebrity followers, like Shay Mitchell, Ansel Elgort and Meghan Trainor. But Carly Cardellino, beauty director of Cosmopolitan.com, argues that their skill is the draw.

“If you’re amazing at applying makeup, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what gender you identify with,” she said. “If you’re young, already embracing who you are and are insanely talented, those factors will make you stand out even more.”