I am so, completely over hearing about parents who are up in arms about dressing their baby girls up in pink ruffles and frills. These are the same people who assert that gender “stereotyping” is out of control in the media and scream for gender “equality”. They think that our girls should wear clothing with fire trucks and bugs on them and stay away from the princess play that so many girls in our “twisted” society partake in. These are the same people who think that it’s OK for their little boys to paint their fingernails pink but not their girls.
What is WRONG with this picture?
Why is it OK for a boy to paint his fingernails pink and wear high heels and a tiara but not a girl? And since when is the sex of a person a “stereotype”? I’m a girl. It’s what I am. I have a vagina and breasts, ovaries and a uterus. I can give birth and I can make milk. I’m a freaking GIRL. There are signs that notify people of what sex I am and I’m still not sure why people care so much that hospitals differentiate between boys and girls by using blue and pink. It’s a color, not a label. A COLOR, people!
My 10 year old boy wears pink shirts and enjoys playing baby dolls with his little sister. He also thinks that guns are a ton-o-fun and loves anything with a skull and crossbones on it. My daughter has a closet full of dresses, pants, skirts, shorts, and shirts that are every color you can possibly imagine. She plays with her baby dolls, loves to paint her nails, and is overjoyed when she is allowed to watch her mommy put makeup on. Her bedroom is black and white with a lady bug coverlet. My baby boy has a wardrobe full of boyish clothing with not a single “girly” thing and baseballs on his walls. My daughter wears pink shirts with brown pants and I put bows in her hair. She wears frilly dresses with sandals. She wears football shirts with jeans. She LOVES playing with her baby dolls and riding her pink tricycle. Oh wait, she likes riding her red tricycle too. And playing ball. She has Disney Princess dolls and a Disney Princess tent that we call her castle.
So back to this “I’m a woman” thing. I wear jeans and t-shirts sometimes but I feel my most feminine, pretty, and comfortable when I’m dressed up with makeup and a skirt on. Why on earth does this make me a demon? I think mascara is God’s gift to my blonde lashes. I LOVE glitter and sequins. The Holiday Season is one of my favorites because it gives me an excuse to dress up like a princess. Spring and summer are amazing too because tanks and skirts are amazing, paired with a fresh pedicure and dewy skin. I believe that love conquers all, that there IS such a thing as happily ever after (although I know that it takes blood, sweat, and tears to get there), and that Prince Charming looks differently to you than he/she/it does to me.
If you’re not a girly girl, that’s no biggie. I don’t judge you for it. I think that it’s awesome if you are more comfortable hanging with the guys in your ripped jeans and oversized t-shirts. Go play soccer with no thought of ever picking up a skin shimmer brush. You can even force that lifestyle on your little girl, I still make no judgments. I just want you to tell me how it is different than me buying girly clothes and baby dolls for my daughter.
Do you really subscribe to the theory that letting your daughter watch princess movies, or play with Barbies, or wear frilly dresses at dress up time will cause her to grow up with an eating disorder, low self esteem, or unrealistic expectations in relationships? Yeah, just like letting your little boy dress up in dresses and paint his fingernails pink will cause him to grow up to be gay.
Expectations, self esteem, and reality start at home, with positive parenting. It has little to do with allowing a girl to pretend to be a princess and find her Prince Charming. It has very little to do with the way that you dress them, case in point: Chaz Bono. Have you ever seen pictures of Chastity Bono as a little girl in her pretty, frilly dresses? He doesn’t wear those now. I know that Chaz went through a rough time emotionally due to being afraid of what his parents would say about his gender identification and I can understand why. I just don’t think that you can expect that your child is going to have a gender identification issue. I believe it is safe to say that the majority of girls born, grow up to identify as women and the majority of boys born grow up to identify as men. When you nurture your child’s individual needs, talents, and personalities, you will raise up extremely well rounded adults who have realistic expectations and solid self esteem. Allowing your children to steer you towards new ways to challenge and love them is more important than putting your girl in primary colors and forcing them to play with dump trucks. I can say from personal experience, that having your parents tell you how smart you are, or that you can be a construction worker instead of a nurse, is not enough to foster a well-rounded and self-aware child. Little girls need to hear that they are pretty, that they are adored, and that they are special. Argue that point with me all you want to, I have the experience to back me up. My dad always pushed academically and lauded my talents but never told me how pretty I was or how important to him I was. I now have “daddy issues” that I am, at the age of 30, learning to work through.
Like anything, finding a balance between praising smarts or talent and beauty (which encompasses both the inner and outer person), is important in raising healthy children. I may not be pretty in the eyes of the media but someone finds me lovely. Someone thinks that I have a great personality or pretty teeth. “Beauty” doesn’t have to look like a supermodel.
Again, why is this such a big deal? We have boy and girl toys in our house. Madilyn has a Chuck the Truck toy that she plays with rarely. She prefers her baby dolls and that doesn’t bother me one bit. Some days, she picks out blue clothes and some days she wants to wear pink, frilly dresses. Limiting these “girly” things in your daughter’s life is doing them just as much disservice as limiting more masculine toys in their toy box. Let THEM choose who they want to be. Allow them to dream. Don’t turn up your nose when they want to put on a puffy dress and pretend to be rescued by the man of their dreams. Let them paint their fingernails pink (for goodness sake, if you let your little boy paint his nails, let your little girl too). Allow your daughter to be a girly, frilly, sparkly, glittery girl if that’s what she wants to be.
Then take her on a drive through prestigious neighborhoods and tell her that she can be an astronaut, or a physicist, or a doctor and live in one of those houses some day. Tell her that it takes hard work, persistence, and patience to become what she wants to be, not the color of the clothes that she wears or the toys that she plays with as a child.
But if she wants to be a model or an actress or a stay at home mom, nurture those skills in her and push her to do what she loves.
Because of your incessant meddling, she may very well miss her calling.