Tuesday, September 14, 2010

oh, girls

I had one of those 'big picture' moments recently ... can't remember how I stumbled on it ... blog? Twitter? Facebook? ... but it made me freeze in my tracks and just think, whoa, this job is SO huge.

The job of raising children, but especially the job of raising GIRLS.

I wish I could remember how I found it, but please read this post: Redefine Girly - A New Way to Parent Young Girls. Even if you have boys, I think some of the points are interesting and might make you think again about the young girls in your life.

When I was buying big baby items (pack n'play, swing, bouncy seat, exersaucer), I intentionally tried to make them as gender-neutral as possible, thinking we might have a boy some day. I tried to do the same thing with the itty bitty newborn clothes that I thought we could use for more than one baby, girl or boy. That was more challenging, as those of you who didn't find out the gender of your child can attest to.

How is it that marketing and corporate greed (i.e. the need to buy 2 of every product - one pink and one blue) has slowly, but surely, contributed to the concept of gender in our society? I am certainly not qualified to comment on the intricacies of our society and economy when it comes to gender roles, but I think you can see it in the aisle at Target and elsewhere. Why is it so hard to find neutral kid clothing? Do PJ's have to be covered in princesses - for little babies who don't know any better? Why do I see other girls, about age 2, who look like tarts? Why are the simple, child-appropriate clothes often so pricey, out of the reach of the majority of Americans?


All this being said, I certainly do like the color pink and we have a lot of it. I make an effort, though, to buy Girly clothes that are NOT pink - which can be harder than you think. I try to buy more simple or traditional clothes - no words if I can help it. (I have a friend who was searching for plain, brightly colored onesies for her little boy and couldn't find them anywhere for a decent price. Target recently filled this gap, but seriously, was this rocket science?).

As I look around the room, most of our toys are gender neutral. We have a couple of baby dolls, which are of course fine for little boys or girls, and a pink car and pink purse that were gifts. I guess we've done a decent job, and I will continue to make the effort. I know our Girl will express her opinion about the toys she likes and wants in no time, but I will try my hardest not to steer her in one direction or another.


Bets said...

One of my favorite toys growing up was my electronic car track. It was the best! So were my Barbies ... .. .

I think I've probably contributed the most to the pink toys. I'll make more conscious decisions in the future!

distaff said...

Spoken like a true feminist!

Liz Krueger said...

I've got a girl who cares more about playing Peter Pan or Tin Man or dinosaurs more than playing mommy to her baby or barbie dolls. In fact, she insists her fav color is blue and her brother's is pink. And she has 5 yrs of boy superhero halloween costumes chosen...ending with "super girl". Nature vs nurture? Lets just say we aren't short any pink or baby dolls over here!

Liz Krueger said...

OK, just read that great post. I don't think I've necessarily steared clear of barbies, princess shirts, etc... and I still manage to have a daughter who, for at least a year now, states she will be an astronaut. When asked if she'll go to the moon she replies "No, I'm going to work at the space station. And what other planets can I go to?" I always reply, whatever you dream of doing, you can do! She also claims she'll be an artist after she is an astronaut. How exciting it is for a mom to see her child become an individual!!

Anonymous said...

Well I'm having a boy, but I find gender neutral stuff generally more adorable anyway.

Oh, and I hate how the majority of boy stuff has to do with sports. Grr.

- Olivia