("Look, Mama! I'm holding Piper back. Watch me oppress her!")
I really liked this article by Alden Wicker, called "7 Ways You Could Be Holding Your Daughtet Back". It stresses the importance of treating your daughter like an individual rather than just as a 'girly girl'. I think we naturally do this with sons, but often have certain 'girl expectations' we have for daughters.
I really want my girls growing up to be well-rounded people with a strong sense of self. And, while I would like them to like some girly-girl things so we can share them together, I need to make more room for other things.
I am consciously trying to include more things I wouldn't normally do to give them a wider range of experiences. Like, taking Violet to learn about dinosaurs rather than to buy hair bows. Finding animals toys rather than Barbies. Talking about Amelia Earhart rather than Brittney Spears. Buying a green shovel and bucket rather than a pink one. Those may be small things, but I hope they're going to add up to a more secure child later on.
For example, although I like dresses on Violet, I try to always give her a choice of outfits that include more 'tom boy' outfits, like jeans or shorts. And then---I try to not seem disappointed if she pics the dinosaur t-shirt over the ruffled sundress. (She almost always picks the sundress, but hey--I need to suck it up and start letting her make choices, even if they're not always MY choice.)
Wow. That's a lot of pink. Don't get me wrong--I like pink. However, I also like to see my daughter play with a toy chainsaw and dress up like a knight. I want them to know it's okay to be anything---whether that's a mermaid or a ninja or a police officer.
For some reason, Barbie really rubs me the wrong way, as do those hideous Bratz dolls. I try to keep normally proportioned dolls around the house. Dolls like these are a good way to get your kid on the fast track to an eating disorder.
Violet adores My Little Pony, which is fine with me. I think they're a nice compromise between over-the-top-girly and rough-and-tumble. It's one of the few shows that doesn't make me gag, too. I like how the ponies all have different personalities and strengths and weaknesses that are based on concrete things (like strength, intelligence, and creativity). Each episode focuses on something that relates to a child's real life, like learning to share, work as a team, or have more confidence. The ponies are their own heroes and take responsibility for their own actions. I like that.
It's hard to raise daughters in the Disney Princess someone-help-me-I'm-just-a-stupid-pretty-girl society. I feel like I have to combat that mentality every day.
However, I'm a total hypocrite. I like the Disney movies! I know they are often presenting terrible role models, but they're fun. And, like most Americans, they're tied up with my memories of childhood. I have conflicting feelings that involve nostalgia and repulsion.
Then, you hate sounding like the downer feminazi mom. And, good grief---it's not like I don't wear heels and makeup and have a pretty traditional life as a stay-at-home-mom. I treasure so many things about being feminine and being a woman. At the same time, I'm more than that. It's like in our rush to embrace anti-Disney, we often swing too far the other way and don't embrace our true femininity. It's a complex issue to discuss with adults, more less try to convery all that confusing information to a 3 1/2 year old.
Anyhoo---I'll get off my soapbox about that. Do any of you mothers with daughters struggle with these issues, too?