I was not a girlie girl growing up… not even close. In fact, I was such a feminist, that my college roommate wrote a paper on me titled “Ms. Extreme”… We taught each other a lot. She didn’t believe herself to be a feminist (dirty word). When I asked her if women should be able to vote, she said of course. “Then to some extent, you are a feminist”… she taught me that it was actually okay to wear a skirt, and be a little girlie… talking about her now, I actually find it ironic. Her cover page image on Face Book is of her, her husband, and two young children – I find it ironic because she is the only one looking at the camera. Her husband is looking at the youngest. Traditionally in photos where there is a couple, the man looks into the camera, while the wife/GF/SO looks (adoringly) at the man. She’s a very strong person, but I digress…..
The reason this blog came to point, was another blog I read: “Why do Parents Buy Into Gender Segregated Toys?” I don’t really remember playing with dolls. I had a few Barbies, but they got their hair cut off and left in the sun to “tan”… I was more of a stuffed animal kid… and the outdoors… I was a tree climber.
With Abby, the first toy that we really bought her was actually a little workbench that made funny noises. The whole way we walked home, it was going “boing…. woop woop”, and Ian and I kept giggling. I don’t mind her having girly toys too much, but we haven’t reached that stage yet. I don’t want her to have all “girl” toys, OR all “boy” toys. I want a little of everything and some that are neutral.
Before we had Abby, I was never really a pink person. Then the closer we got to the birth, I developed a slightly more adverse reaction to it… Ian pointed out that my aversion was getting stronger. I countered that it’s not so much the color I have issues with, it’s the message that generally goes with it. “Diva”, “Princess”, “If you think I’m cute, you should see my mom”…. Absolutely not. Once he saw that, THEN he got it. The orange shirt with a zebra – wearing a necklace The purple kitty wearing – a diamond tiara. Why? Why must you do this marketers? You’re driving away my business by adding jewelry to an 18 month outfit.
The really big change was when Abby started to wear 12 months. That’s when she went from passable gender neutral (or at least not offending girliness) to Dora the Explorer and Disney Princesses. She doesn’t watch TV. She doesn’t know who these characters are. We watch the news and sports. I don’t want her watching cartoons yet. If she gets bored, we do laundry, or go upstairs to read, or “reorganize” her clothes (read: she takes them out). She hasn’t yet developed an opinion about colors or clothes yet. So I fill her closest with clothes that I think are age appropriate and cute. I will continue to do this until she has money to buy her own (G-d knows that I am not buying her the clothes that I’ve seen others wear).
This is part of the reason that I was apprehensive about having a girl. I can only hope to convey my feelings about these issues and instill what I hope are good values and morals and hope for the best. Honestly, having a girl completely terrifies me. I’ll control what I can right now, but at some point I’ll have to explain certain things. Not at all looking forward to that.
“If someone believes they are limited by their gender, race or background, they will become more limited.” – Carly Fiorina