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

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#1 of 87 Old 11-05-2011, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#2 of 87 Old 11-05-2011, 06:47 PM
 
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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.


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#3 of 87 Old 11-05-2011, 08:06 PM
 
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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? 


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#4 of 87 Old 11-05-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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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. 

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#5 of 87 Old 11-05-2011, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#6 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 12:27 AM
 
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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.

 


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#7 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 05:20 AM
 
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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!  


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#9 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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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!


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#10 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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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.

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#11 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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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.

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#12 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#13 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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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!

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#14 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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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!

 

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#15 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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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.


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#16 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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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. 

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#17 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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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...

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#18 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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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.)

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#19 of 87 Old 11-06-2011, 09:55 PM
 
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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."

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#20 of 87 Old 11-07-2011, 05:16 AM
 
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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.

 

 

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#21 of 87 Old 11-07-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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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.

 

 

Exactly!  Isn't that the first thing Grandma or aunts or strangers comment on, how girls are dressed?  I agree that it is this additional emphasis, and not the frilly things themselves, that are the trouble.  

 

Oh, and "keeping neat" while wearing girlie clothes, too, that bugs me to no end.  Their Grandma, who is really a wonderful soul, kept commenting on that when they wore dresses.  After several times of saying "We have no precious clothes" she finally dropped it.

 

I think that when boys delve in girlie things it is seen as balancing the bashemcrashem stuff of the stereotypical boyhood with something beautiful and gentle.  For girls we see this interest as reinforcing all the princess-helplessness and shallowness of girlhood.  (Obviously I don't speak for General Society who discourages this behavior in boys and reinforces it in girls.)  The best we can do is focus on what they do and how they act towards others, offer toys and activities that can appeal to all and allow them to make their own decisions.
 

 


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#22 of 87 Old 11-07-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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My brother played with my barbies, I played with his GI Joes. I don't recall anyone ever telling me I couldn't.  That's probably why I'm so feminine.  HA!

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#23 of 87 Old 11-07-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

 

 

Yes, yes, YES!  THIS!  It's really not the fact that she loves it, but I feel like I can't reinforce it because everyone else does.  And she does love to do things, like color and paint and play with blocks, but because she also loves shoes and clothes and hair pretties then she's "all girl" and all that rot.

 

There's also that reinforcing with BuggaBoo when he's running around screaming or throwing rocks or making sounds effects.  "Oh, he's all boy!" when in fact he has a gentler side that comes out to play all the time.

 

I mean, seriously, my son isn't even four yet and he asked me to teach him how to sew.  I loves going to the fabric store with me to pick out fabric for a new dress or shirt or something.  My daughter loves digging in the garden and playing with tools and stuff like that.  But there's no praise for the gender neutral or gender opposite things they do, there's only praise for things that fit in their gender roles.

 

*sigh*  Sorry, I don't feel like I'm articulating well.  Bascially I wish I could revel in all their qualities but feel like I need to give support to the "opposites" so that they get balanced praise in their life.
 

 

 


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#24 of 87 Old 11-07-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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I don't think there is anything wrong with balancing out the comments.  But I know what you mean...it would be easier to be the mom I want to be if we lived in the middle of nowhere and didn't have to deal with other people's prejudice and socialization.

 

I live in Bogota where people tell me I am ruining my daughter's life by not piercing her ears, or for letting her dress in jeans or allowing her to get dirty like a boy and that it is irresponsible to allow my boy to be so "weak" and uncoordinated and I should make him play soccer...like I encourage him to be bad at sports by letting him sign out books at the library and teaching him how to make cookies.

 

I always feel like busting out Gaga on their asses singing: He's on the right track, baby, he was born that way!

 

People are just mean...hopefully if we keep planting enough seeds of acceptance and love, then our grand kids...okay maybe our great grandkids will get to be construction workers with purple glitter hard hats, or scientists who dance a mean Sugarplum fairy.  Fingers crossed!


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#25 of 87 Old 11-08-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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I just have girls.  The place where this issue grates the most is when they dress up in all their frilliest, sparkliest dresses and jewelry and ask me "Aren't we pretty?"  I find my self answering, "*Those* really are pretty!  Can I tell you a secret?  I think you're pretty even without them.  You could be wearing the dullest clothes and still be pretty.  But yes, they do look pretty *on you*!"  I have no idea whether this sinks in or not, but I feel compelled to make the point.

 

I also refrain from calling those kinds of things "girlie", in fact I avoid using the word within earshot at any cost.  When we are at the fabric store we can "oooh!" and "aaaah!" at all the fancy fabrics, though lately my oldest likes what she calls "boy stuff".  I have to admit that this term and "girlie" have some validity in our society.  She noticed long ago that to find t-shirts with sharks and dragons and monsters and Star Wars characters on them that we'd have to go into the boys' rack at the Goodwill.  So she understands the marketing to some extent.  And, now she actively avoids pink and purple because she noticed that all the girls' clothes were made from them.  I'm glad she seeks some balance, but I'm sad that she has to end up calling "boy stuff"and "girl stuff".


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#26 of 87 Old 11-09-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I just have girls.  The place where this issue grates the most is when they dress up in all their frilliest, sparkliest dresses and jewelry and ask me "Aren't we pretty?"  I find my self answering, "*Those* really are pretty!  Can I tell you a secret?  I think you're pretty even without them.  You could be wearing the dullest clothes and still be pretty.  But yes, they do look pretty *on you*!"  I have no idea whether this sinks in or not, but I feel compelled to make the point.


I make the same point, but in a slightly different way. When my daughter asks "How do I look?" or "Aren't I pretty?" I'll say, "You look very nice" or "Those clothes certainly are fancy/pretty. I like how they sparkle/twirl". I don't add the stuff at the end because I don't think that's going to help. Instead, I'll insert things like "how's my gorgeous girl doing?" when she's wearing old mismatched clothes, or "how's my creative kid doing?" or "how's my strong girl?" at other times so that she hears a variety of compliments that aren't just about what she's wearing or just about how she looks. I don't want to not tell her she's pretty because I don't want her to think she's not. I don't need to give her a complex (and she's very quick to pick up on the unsaid). But, I don't want her to think that she's only pretty. It's a fine line.

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#27 of 87 Old 11-09-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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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.


I always get sad when I see  an anti-girl movement.  I realize it's popular here, but honestly, it's a little sad.

 

I have a daycare boy who is not allowed to color with pink.  His mom will flat out refuse to take home a picture he's done if he's used "girl colors".  But, he has a six year old sister who is forbidden to wear girl's clothes.  She's allowed to have long hair, but will never own a girl toy, girls clothes, or anything pink.  She WANTS to have those things, but she can't because mom hates all things girly.  

 

 

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#28 of 87 Old 11-09-2011, 07:23 PM
 
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I always get sad when I see  an anti-girl movement.  I realize it's popular here, but honestly, it's a little sad.

 


This issue is sad on many fronts to me.  But I disagree that this is an anti-girl movement here; what I see is an attempt to find balance, to rediscover what it means to be a girl without pressure from toy marketers and society.  Yeah, sometimes we go too far in the other direction, and sometimes any effort to interest a girl in anything but "girlie" things is unsuccessful.   (My niece was one such girl, the daughter of 2 sports-loving parents.  She was always the princess, not into the sports they loved, but gymnastics and dance and grew up to be a professional cheerleader with stadium-worthy bling in her ears and six-pack abs that would shame a bodybuilder.  My niece is sweet as pie, yet she is a confident, strong and powerful woman, both externally and internally.)

 

So, I think that we shouldn't reduce this issue to being "anti-girl" movement. 

 

We are trying to help our daughters discover their own strength.  We also are discovering ourselves.  Our notions of what a powerful woman is, and how they become that way.  It is not a clear path, is it?  In some ways we are all of us, men and women, boys and girls, having to redefine our roles.  No, it is definitely not "anti-girl".

 

Lazurii, you did not "fail"  because your daughter loves the "girlie" stuff in spite of your attempts at balance.  That stuff isn't bad, and girls don't like it just because the marketers decided they will like it.  She *is* following her heart.  Please, share in her joy without kicking yourself.  I think that is what nextcommercial meant.  (???)

Edited to add:  My niece, by the way, got her BA in English and just finished her Masters in Education, the last year of which included classroom time, a full class load of her own, plus cheerleader practice (and all the extra workouts to support that career.)  All at the same time!  I have so much respect for her.  Now she's a mom herself.  Kick. Ass. Woman.

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#29 of 87 Old 11-11-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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Lazurii, do you have some mama & papa friends who encourage gender neutral and cross-gender boundary play? It seems like in an area "near Portland" that there would be some folks like that and if so they could be folks who are backing you up on encouraging exploring outside the girls will be girls and boys will be boys roles. In my community, I have found that having like-minded friends is much more important than what the relatives (grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles, etc) say. We see the friends a lot more than the relatives, so I just let those pink and purple sparkly packages from grandma slide and thanked my friends for giving us art supplies, too.

 

My girls are almost 8 and 10 going on 11. When they were very wee I dressed them very gender neutral and in overalls, etc, because I am so not a girly-girl. I would occasionally bring out something frilly for a photo or a visit to grandma, but by and large I dressed them pretty neutrally until about 12-18 mo when dd1 began to be able to let her opinions known. She loved frilly and sparkly. It was really a bit of a shock for me because in my naivete (first kid, what can I say) I thought she'd be like me and be a tree-climbing tomboy who wouldn't be caught dead in a dress. Guess what? I got that one wrong (along with so many other things).

 

What worked for me was to redirect that love of sparkle into outlets that were more acceptable to me, but still acceptable to her. I am not into the whole classic princess-waiting-for-her-knight-in-shining-armor-to-save-her thing and I didn't want to reinforce those values, but I did want to acknowledge and accept dd1's interests and preferences and not squash her feelings. So, I encouraged girly/sparkly things like fairies and ballet (tu-tus and the whole 9 yards) rather than Disney princesses and Barbies. We did a little bit of princessness, but they were strong princesses who saved the prince and themselves (ask your children's librarian, there are many books like this). We did My Little Ponies and Groovy Girls instead of Barbie. 

 

Now at ages almost8 and 10 they're still dancing at a great studio (no body image stuff) and are tree hugging girls with their own fashion sense. Sometimes they dress up "fancy", but it's always unique and rarely market-driven consumeristic crap. They like to create clothes from thrift store finds and do love art and dance and crafts of all kinds, but are also interested in running and science. 

 

Good luck!


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#30 of 87 Old 11-11-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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So, I encouraged girly/sparkly things like fairies and ballet (tu-tus and the whole 9 yards) rather than Disney princesses and Barbies. We did a little bit of princessness, but they were strong princesses who saved the prince and themselves (ask your children's librarian, there are many books like this). We did My Little Ponies and Groovy Girls instead of Barbie. 

 

I told my daughter, "Why settle for being a princess, when you can be a QUEEN?"

 

My Little Ponies are a favorite in our house, and rarely has a week gone by when they are not carrying some fairy off to somewhere.  We also enjoy Lonely Hearts Club dolls for dress-up.  More often, though, they use the clothes to dress up their animals instead-- little horses, goats, whales, sharks, stingrays, centipedes.....

 

beanma, this is exactly how it is in our house.  I wanted to point out that in the stories where the princess is the most objectified ("Sleeping Beauty" for example) the real story is the trials that the adolescent Prince must conquer in order to become a man and win her love.  That story is not really hers at all.
 

 


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