I love watching my dear girl prance around the house.
If I leave her side, at any given moment, she is absolutely guaranteed to come back with a purse, an extra skirt or dress, and any other two to three accessories.
Leaving the house? She needs her phone, her purse, her baby, and probably her pair of sunglasses.
Laundry? She causes me to do many more loads than necessary due to her constant rummaging through her dress-up bin, then back to normal clothes, then back to the dress-up bin again.
Around and around.
And you know what, her favorite color is pink.
Her room is pastel green — I painted it for John before I knew his sex and kept it because her sex was a surprise too — but now we’ve added a pink blanket and pink bins and pink pillows and sheets.
And you know what else, I’m proud of who she is and who she wants to become too (a doctor or a panda or Elsa).
Why am I announcing that my daughter loves pink and princesses?
Just last week, I met someone who described herself as “feminist mom”. She honestly used that term. (I almost laughed out loud.)
She, and I quote, “Doesn’t bring any books into the house with princesses or fairy crap. My girls are raised to be strong women that can do anything a boy can do.”
Well, um, where to begin??
My girl is right alongside her brother during all play.
She can play trucks and Legos with the best of them. So does playing with “boy” toys mean that she can do “anything a boy can do.”
We don’t consider these “boy toys” either. They are just toys.
Shouldn’t we just encourage our children to be children and give them oh so many life experiences and let them choose for themselves?
Have you seen a little girl’s face light up as she’s twirled in a new (or old) dress? That light, that gleam in her eye, is natural, it’s inherent. It isn’t wrong. We tell her she’s a princess every day.
Because little girls really REALLY can’t wear a shirt that says “I’m a princess.” Because they will think that they can’t be a doctor or a mechanical engineer!
So now we have to “break gender stereotypes” with t-shirts?!
Do little girls really need their own line of phrase clothing to tell them “Girls are important,” or worse, “Forget princess, call me president”?
Does this make ourselves feel better about our children? Or our parenting?
It’s all a contest of who can be the most politically correct. Or seen as the least gender defining.
“If my daughter wears an “I love Math” shirt, she’s going to be really REALLY smart.”
Go ahead, get the shirt. They are half-way cute.
But please, please, don’t think you’re superior to me because you don’t allow princess or fairy things or gasp PINK in your home.
Femininity is beautiful
My daughter wears princess dresses. And she wears them because she loves them. Her face, oh her face, brightens up when she puts on a dress. “Watch me mom!” And she spins, oh she spins. I never taught her how to do that spin. It is inside of her, seeping out of her pores, that spin. So, dear feminist moms who perhaps thinks that I am subjecting my daughter to hours of barefoot and pregnant moments in the kitchen, let’s bring it down a notch.
My daughter wants to be rescued.
My daughter wants to be beautiful.
My daughter wants to be seen.
And she can wrestle and build and run and recite and read with the rest of them.
We can encourage feminine behaviors in our girls without stooping down to asking that they should “be like boys”. Because doesn’t that miss the point? Don’t we want them to be like girls? And embrace our girl-ness and love and cherish our femininity?
Oh I remember twirling around in circles for my daddy. The sheer joy. My two sisters and I would twirl and twirl. And now, we are three Master degrees: engineering, education, and nursing. And I’m a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserve. Those beautiful memories and times of rescue and peril and queens and kings are my fondest memories.
We didn’t need to have a feminist t-shirt to tell us how to study or be smart or think or believe. And we certainly didn’t need to outlaw princesses from fairy tales or dress-up clothes from our homes and play. My parents wouldn’t have dreamed of it.
Imagination and a celebration of innate beauty. That’s what our little girls need. Don’t hinder their joy.