or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › I'm okay with my purple glitter boy, but cringe at my girly girl. Want help in changing.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I'm okay with my purple glitter boy, but cringe at my girly girl. Want help in changing.

post #1 of 87
Thread Starter 

I'm mot sure if this belongs here, so, mods, move if needs be.  Thanks!


My son is almost four.  He likes "boy" things like mud and blocks and trains but he also loves nail polish and tutus and glitter and getting his hair done and pink.  We even painted his room pink because he asked for it.  I'm totally okay with whatever he wants and support his likes and dislikes.


My daughter will be two in March and likes pretty much the same stuff as my son.  But somehow it tweaks me out.  Likes she's too "girly".  At 15 months she already had a firm opinion on clothing and would reject outfits.  She will, however, sit in the mud with her frou-frou dresses and eat bugs.  I have, ashamedly, try to steer her into liking less gender-specific things.


Another thing that bugs me is we're now getting gender specific presents for the kids, and BuggaBoo gets creative stuff and flash cards and books and Doozer get dress-up princess stuff.  And then BuggaBoo and Doozer are fighting over the dress-up and his present is forgotten.  I've told people that BuggaBoo would appreciate dress-up clothes as well, but that's met with blank stares.


So, am I the only one who feels this way?  I am trying very hard to change how I feel, but to see my daughter slip into preconceived gender roles is somehow disheartening.  Like I did something wrong in her upbringing, like I pushed her into it.

post #2 of 87

I don't have a boy (yet!) but having two daughters I know that I intentionally try to steer them to more gender neutral or boy related interests in an effort to try to balance out the abundant amount of girly girl pinks and princesses thrown at them.  As for your 15 m/o DD, I do think her interest in girly things likely has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your DS and his love of glitter and girly things too.  I know my DD2's favourite person in the whole wide world is DD1 and I fully expect she'll want to imitate her likes and dislikes until she starts to mature a little and develop her own opinions.  I personally don't think there is any harm in trying to offer a balanced array of interests and if everyone else gives her girly girl stuff then you'll be left with ensuring there are plenty of boyish interests.

post #3 of 87

yeah, that's really hard for me as well. I also find that I am way more tolerant of my dd's 'violent tendencies'. She has 2 much bigger brothers so she's been involved in far more than they were at her age. But I really come down on them for fighting type stuff and with her I seem to tolerate it more, maybe in an effort to balance the princess stuff. Like the other day she is wearing a princessy dressup thing and goes charging across the yard at her brothers wielding a pink bat as a sword yelling, 'battle!' and I was okay, nay, entertained! If the boys at 3 had charged around like that we would have had a serious discussion!


I also find myself struggling with the pink which I hate. I tell her I hate pink, but then I feel guilty because she loves it so much. But why? Why does she love it? She'll say when she sees an add with a bunch of pink, "that's disgusting, right ma?" but I don't want to bias her against a color for heavens sake, just a way of being...uh, how do I do that? 

post #4 of 87

she is into it b/c big brother is into it. 

what's the harm in sharing the toys they receive? they are so young. her gifts are his gifts. that's how it goes at my house, i have a 5 yo girl and a 2 yo boy. 

these things will all balance out. 

post #5 of 87
Thread Starter 

I'm okay with them sharing presents, but it's more the fact that he's being gifted something he sees as less appealing because he's a boy and likes pretty things.


I'm okay with both my kids charging around the house, it's funny to see my son in a tutu going head-first down the slide or whooping at the chickens.


I guess I was looking for more support that girls really can be born loving girly things and I'm not a complete failure at providing neutral interests.

post #6 of 87

I am a girly girl whose mother tried her darnedest to get her to be more "gender neutral" and failed miserably. In fact, I resented that my mother had such strong opinions on things like dolls, make up, dressy dresses and pink, which I have always loved.


post #7 of 87
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post
I guess I was looking for more support that girls really can be born loving girly things and I'm not a complete failure at providing neutral interests.

Actually, I think most little kids - boys or girls - like sparkly, pretty stuff.  If your son likes that stuff, it's not because you've been successful at making him more gender-neutral, and if your daughter likes it, it's not because you failed at making her gender-neutral.  They just naturally like it because they're little kids.  Chances are, they'll both move away from that interest as they get older.  When my DD was 5, she loved pretty dress-up stuff.  Now she's 8 and doesn't like pink (possibly due in part to my influence), and doesn't have any special interest in dressing "pretty."  Even when she liked pretty dresses and sparkly things, she wasn't really a very "girly" girl.  Her big interests were things like insects, dinosaurs, dogs, Harry Potter, and catching frogs.  Don't be too quick to label your DD "girly" just because she likes dress-up.

post #8 of 87

Honestly why shouldn't a girl be "girly" if thats what she leans to? I think there is no intrinsic value in "gender neutral". The real objective should be to let every individual child express themselves freely. A parent should just be ok with, and supportive of, a childs choice whether that leans towards or against the gender (or any other) stereotype. As long as its the child's free choice, as long as they have other options to choose or reject, then "pink" is OK for a girl as much as it is for a boy!  

post #9 of 87

It annoyed my mother to no end that I would actually enjoy reading Martha Stewart.  She came from the generation who felt that to be empowered you must join the workforce and leave behind the domestic roles that shackled women so thoroughly.  She *hated* getting cookware when we were growing up (I never knew that) and balked when, all grown up, I was going to spend my birthday money on a new set of bath towels for the house.


Different generations, different views of feminism.


To empower her, you need to honor her heart.  Sparkle is way way cool.  I adore sparkley things, though I don't dress that way.  To be surrounded, cocooned, swathed in vast poofs of pink sparkle sounds rrrrraaaavishing dahling! 


BTW, I've always got a kick out of my own sparkle-dressed-dinosaur-pant-rainboot-wearing-sandbox-playing daughters!

post #10 of 87
My daughter will also be two in march, and she has opinions about clothes, thinks that everything sparkly and made of silky material is "pretty" and her first color word is "pink". I was sitting on a blanket at my sister's house yesterday and she threw and all out fit screaming "pink, pink,pink" to the top of her lungs until i noticed that I was sitting on something pink and she wanted it. I have no idea how she got this way, but I wish I didnt care so much. She will totally sit in a princess dress from goodwill and play in the dirt, its pretty cute. While I dont like the stigma about sparkles and pink, you do have to admit that they are fun. I like shiny things too. But not pink.
post #11 of 87

My friend has a 4 year old son and a newly 3 year old daughter.  My friend is the most ungirly girl I know.  NOTHING pink in her house, she's only just started wearing dresses.  She studied biology in college with full plans of actually working out in the field - which is to say, she wanted to work in the middle of nowhere on an island where she'd have to poop outside and take cold showers so she could study all the turtles and such in the mud.  She doesn't do make up or bother with her hair and spends most of her time in old tshirts and comfortable pants playing with the kids outside and on the floor.


Her son is what some would call 'all boy.'  rough housing and star wars and halo and transformers and blue and red etc etc etc.  Whether that's just how he was raised or just who he is, I'm unsure, but there is no convincing him that nail polish, tutus, and pink dresses would be in any way fun.


The daughter, when born, was placed in a crib with the same bedding older brother got.  She was even put in many of the same clothes older brother wore as a baby.  Partly to save money but also out of convenience.  and they weren't pink.  (did I mention my friend can't stand pink?)  daughter for the most part just had older brother's toys for the first half of her life.


Daughter LOVES pink.  LOVES dresses.  LOVES make up.  LOVES nail polish.  LOVES purses.  See where I am going?  The parents raised her to not be girly.  The mom is in no way girly.  Copying older brother would NOT lead to girly interests.  And yet?  She would rather go play dress up with her clothes than play with their HUGE train set collection.


Girls can definitely be born into liking 'girly things.'  for the same reason boys might like them.  pink and sparkles and dressing up are FUN.  some people don't find them fun, but many little kids do, boy or girl.


If you see it as normal for a boy to like those things, it shouldn't be a stretch to see it as normal for a girl to like those things.  Otherwise you are raising your kids the opposite from expected... encouraging a boy to like 'girly' things (thus making it boyish in your house) and encouraging a girl to NOT like girly things and move toward boyish things (thus making THOSE girlish things.)


just let your kids find what they like.  let them know interests aren't based on genitals.  some girls and some boys will still fall into stereotypes.  some won't.  if you don't TELL them there is a stereotype, then at 2 they won't even know.  It doesn't hurt to be exposed to all options rather than selecting based on gender, whether you are selecting to encourage a stereotype or trying to force your child to not have interests within one.

post #12 of 87
Thread Starter 

Thank you fro the responses, they make sense. 


Reading my original post I feel the need to clarify.  I let her be girly girl but I try to introduce gender neutral stuff.  She just gravitates towards the sparkles again.  Which, really I can't blame her because I think it's fun, too!


Dang, I just need to let go and have fun.

post #13 of 87

I have two girls.  One is far from girly and the youngest is all sparkles!  WTH?!  How did that happen?  I let them be who they are.  Yesterday the neighbor girl told DD2 she can't stand her because she's a girly girl.  DD2 told her that "she is who she is and loves herself".  DD1 backed her up and an apology was given and accepted. 


We aren't the only ones who may not be happy with the sparkles and dolls or any other choice they make but we do need to be the ones who back them up all the way and shower them with acceptance!

post #14 of 87

OP, I can relate.

I only have my DD, who is a very girly 6 yo.  But it was not my intention to bring her up this way.  When I was pregnant I joked that no one would know her gender until she hit puberty.  HA!  So much for that.  DD wears dresses and skirts everyday (extra points if it is sparkly), even insists on skorts for gym class.  And pink has been her favorite color until recently.  The whole nine yards.


So I can relate to things not turning out as you thought, how it can feel like you did something wrong.  But you didn't.  This is who she is at this time. I am sure you will continue to support her in her other interests as well, regardless of her gender.  And you will support her in not turning into a vapid girly girl.

Probably some of the attraction to the pink and sparkles is that her big brother likes it, and also pink and sparkles are very eye catching.  The presents piece is hard, because you are working with other people's ideas.  I have found as kids get older you'll get more requests about what to give as presents, so you may be able to influence things more as she gets older.


I am finding my DD's flair pretty enjoyable and take extra enjoyment in the juxtaposition of her other non gender conforming interests.  (Like your DD sitting in mud and eating bugs in her frou-frou dress. Love it!)


So I guess I don't have specific advice.  You know your DD is more than her interest in pink and sparkles.  Celebrate all of her!


post #15 of 87

She's TWO! Of course she's attracted to sparkles.


Our dd also has strong 'girl' tendencies. She doesn't want to play soccer because she doesn't want "run and get hot" (her words). She doesn't mind getting hot while dancing. Somewhere she learned this coquettish little look that she does for pictures. Her favorite colors are pink and purple. Both our son and daughter had dolls from an early age. We bought ds a toy kitchen. He used the toy microwave to watch his trains go around and around. The dolls lay untouched. Dd sat down at 15 months and changed the doll's diaper! This wasn't play she'd seen modeled anywhere, she did it by herself.


She's 7 now. She's reading at a high level, and very much into history. She didn't like the fact that women had to change their names. (I didn't change mine, so she's sensitive to that.)  She got very indignant when she learned that in previous centuries, women weren't allowed to work outside the home. "How could they earn money? What if they didn't want to stay home with their kids?!" She was even more appalled when she found out that women couldn't vote or own property.  While she personally doesn't want to play sports and get hot/sweaty, she didn't like it when she learned that in the not too distant past girls weren't allowed to play sports for school teams.


It's possible to be a feminist dressed in pink sparkles.

post #16 of 87

My dd is almost nine and she still prefers dresses to anything else.  She also points out sexism and is very proud to have a wide range of interests from mud and Legos to Barbie dolls and nail polish.  I definitely think it is easier for a girl to get "boy" toys from people if she wants them than it is for a boy to get "girl" toys.  It seems like girls have an easier time breaking out of their stereotype than boys do these days.  You may not notice it now, but as she gets to school age and is getting presents from friends at her parties you will probably notice it then. 


When dd was very little I did worry about this issue a lot, I even planned on not having girly stuff in the house.  Then my mother pointed out to me that I turned out to be a feminist from an early age despite living with a mother who was a conservative Christian with very traditional views on gender for most of my childhood.  It really did get me thinking and I am glad now that I didn't let myself get wrapped up in trying to control my dd's childhood interests.  I mostly just go with the flow as far as her interests go.  I do surround my dd with a lifestyle that shows her that women don't have to live down to stereotypes, I model being confident and comfortable with myself and my abilities, and we talk about stereotypes when they come up. 


The one thing I did do though is ban all Disney movies from her life until she was five.  I talked to her about my reasoning and gave her the Barbie movie alternatives (they actually portray the women as stronger characters with many of the movies not having a love theme at all), Strawberry Shortcake, and Dora for the girl characters she wanted to see.  I feel like keeping the negative stereotypes that come from media out of the house and surrounding her with positive views of women was important when she was forming a sense of who she is. 

post #17 of 87

to everybody who "doesn't like pink" -- may i ask why? in all seriousness, it is a real, outright dislike of the color? (in all forms, light pink to hot pink to fuscia?) or is it the stereotype attached to "pink"? asking honestly...

post #18 of 87

I really just dislike most shades of pink.  Pale pink is nice sometimes and certain shades of hot pink can look good combined with other colors, but in general I'm not fond of pink.  I don't hate it the way I hate purple, though.  The fact that pink and purple are considered "girly" colors and are associated in my mind with some of the worst kinds of "girliness" may contribute a bit to my dislike, but I think it's mostly a coincidence that colors I dislike happen to be "girly" colors.  (I also dislike the shade of green at the top of this page, and I think it looks especially hideous paired with that unpleasant shade of dark purple.)

post #19 of 87

Yes, my son is 4 and my DD is 2 and I feel pretty much the same. I never had any problem with sparkle toys on my son or collecting pink vintage on Duplo. But I need to get some balance with my daughter. And then, when I felt like I had balance, I realized I was actually steering to that sort of stuff. It was SO MUCH easier with my son. The kids are tv free so at least that probably helps a bit. I loathe the whole "princess thing."

post #20 of 87

I am in the exact same boat, Lazurii!  I seriously could have written this post.  My daughter is obsessed with shoes and I swear if she could articulate it, she'd ask me to pierce her ears.


Maybe I am missing your point but, it's not that I don't let her follow her heart, but I just wish that the presents and variety we receive, were not SO one sided.


I mean, Yes, she likes dress up and that can be fun creative play, but she also loves crayons and finger paints and dinosaurs and cars, and all she gets are clothes and baby dolls and kitchen equipment.  Does she love them?  Yes, but she would like other things as well. 


What bugs me is not that she likes that stuff but that DS has learned from friends family and school that it is not really okay to tell people he likes dress up and purple and sparkle and dolls (he now only whispers it and keeps oping DD will get a Barbie soon so he can play with it when she asleep), and DD is never  thought of as a whole person with interests outside of girly things, which she does have (even if she is only 21 months).  By the time DS was her age he had a whole box full of puppets and cars and trains and books,  books galore, and paints and crayons...with DD we have gotten TWO books and two pink and purple stuffed animals, a set of sesame street measuring cups and the rest clothes...and I swear she has gotten no less gifts than DS did in his toddlerhood.


So, I think introducing other stuff is never a bad thing.  Just let them play and make sure there is plenty of all kinds of toys and games to play.  If you get heaps of girly girl sparkle, you may have to balance, and even cull it back to make sure there is a balance of cars and trucks and crayons etc.  Make sure that as often as she hears "You are so pretty, what a beautiful princess!" she also hears "What a great project, you are so clever!"  because for me, that is the real danger.  Not that she likes sparkly things, but that she will come to learn that she is more valuable when she is sparkly, and DS will learn he is less valuable when he sparkles.  That DS will learn to be innovative and creative and energetic is where his value lies and that DD will learn that for her to be those things is not as great.


Have you ever read the Story of  X?  It's a good parable about parenting without gender bias.



New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › I'm okay with my purple glitter boy, but cringe at my girly girl. Want help in changing.