Ma' Girls

I have two girls. Two really great and beautiful girls who enjoy a lot of different things. Building, play fighting, robots, princesses, drawing, painting, and dolls. They like a plethora of stuff and I like it that way.

As a girl who grew up feeling very conscious of her flaws and her "not girly-enoughness" I have had to fight myself at every turn to let my girls be who they are. I resist forcing a bow into their hair. I resist picking out every single outfit. I even resist holding them down while I attempt a ponytail.  I let them be who they are and explore who THEY are. In all their nappy-haired, mismatched glory.

I often lovingly {and jokingly} refer to them as looking "homeless." Please, understand, they look ANYTHING but homeless. They just aren't coiffed and polished. They are more muddy/torn knees and tangled hair in the eyes. It's definitely more Kirk Cobain in style and less Hello Kitty.

So, what am I even writing about?

If you've read my blog, you know that I have kind of a tense relationship with princesses. But please let me clarify that my problem is not with the idea of princesses. They are fairly innocuous, most girls pretend to be princesses, and I consider them just another role from the motley crew of characters that children choose to play act. My issue has mainly to do with the marketing of princesses. The MARKETING of princesses is not innocuous or innocent. It is very much targeted to make your kiddo believe certain "lies" hook, line, and sinker. Well, at least in my opinion.

One of the main lies that all kids are really being fed is what is "girly" and what is "boyish"? And believing this lie (or parents just going along with the marketing teams that are paid millions to keep your kids coming back for more) leads to our kids being pigeon-holed into a consumer identity at a pretty young age.

Now, do I think that boys and girls are categorically different? Yes.

But do I think that the only color options available to girls should be pinks and purples? No.

Do I think that my nephews should be able to play with kitchen toys and not be seen as "girly"? Yes.

Not only are my girls limited in the color palete of ANYTHING that they may want to purchase, they are also slowly being made into little billboards. We went shopping for shoes today and our options were bedazzled, pink, purple, glittered trash shoes. How are girls expected to PLAY in those? Not to mention that almost every shoe option sported some character's face.

I looked over at the boys' selection and what do you think I found? Functional shoes. Way less characters. It's almost like boys should have functional feet & bodies while girls' bodies and feet are more about how we adorn them or, better yet, how marketers can use those bodies to sell stuff.

Many of you may think that I'm overreacting or making a mountain out of a mole hill, but there are much smarter people than me out there making strong cases for how marketing to young children (especially to young girls) is having much larger implications - including the  over-sexualization of  our kids. KIDS.

For really great reads on the subject, The Packaging of Girlhood and Cinderella Ate My Daughter are very thorough.

Do my girls still wear pink. Yep. Do they still play "princess"? Ayup. Do they like bows? Absolutely loathe them. There is still a lot of "traditional girliness" in our midst, but we talk about it ALL the time. Every trip to the store, every commercial, every birthday party - we ask questions, we analyze, and we try to get our girls to see through the dollar signs.

It's gonna be a long road as we continue on this whole raising girls journey and we are certainly not perfect. But I'm really glad that I can reassure my girls that they are girly-enough and absolutely wonderful no matter what they are into wearing or doing.

{Since I know you are all probably curious, we left the store today with some classic Chucky T's - black for the eldest and pink for the little.They both got to pick what would be going on their body, as that is the new rule}

My eldest is also definitely outside "hiking" in our back yard as she wrestles large sticks away from our dog and gives a stirring rendition of "Let it Go."

No comments:

Post a Comment