A comment that came from my blog post yesterday brought up a good discussion topic and inspired my post for today.
Should we discourage girls from liking anything that’s considered traditionally “feminine”? Even if they’re exposed to a variety of activities and interests? I don’t think we should label “girl” activities as bad. That in a way is putting women down as well.
My daughter seems to like a bit of everything, but she does it all wearing pink from head to toe.
A little background info — I was raised by a single dad, so I wasn’t really exposed to too many gender roles. My dad did it all. My dad went to work every day at a demanding job and came home and cooked us a wonderful supper. I never really appreciated all that he did for us until I was older, and especially when I became a parent myself. I know there are many single moms out there doing the same thing. I’m pretty sure single parents are superheroes.
I used to think I was a girly girl because I like to do my hair and makeup. But now I see these makeup tutorials on Youtube with a million different steps and products. No, thank you. If it takes me more than 45 minutes to get ready for work in the morning I’m not doing it. I’m learning that I’m not as high maintenance as I thought I was. My daughter doesn’t see me going to fancy salons or spas or getting my nails done. (I work at an arts center so most of the time there’s paint under my nails.) But at the same time, I don’t want her to see those things as bad or wrong.
My husband and I have been married for 10 years, so for six years, we lived as a couple before having a baby. We were never really a traditional couple. My husband and I both work and divide household chores. It’s only been in the last year where I’ve felt we’ve fallen into more traditional roles. My husband works second shift, so I’ve become our daughter’s main caregiver. I get off work in the afternoon and pick up our daughter from daycare. I am the one making supper and taking care of her every night. This isn’t going to change any time soon. My husband and I both love our jobs, and while it’s hard not having my husband home at night, he makes twice as much money as I do. We don’t have much of a choice. I wonder what effect this will have on our daughter. We don’t mean to have “roles” but right now we are just doing what we need to do to get by.
So back to my main question, do we discourage girls from doing “girly” activities? Is it wrong for a little girl to like pink? Is it sending the wrong message to allow your daughter to like these things even if it’s their choice?
I feel my daughter’s play activities are pretty well balanced and I don’t push her in any direction. She’s a little human and she likes what she likes.
Right now her favorite thing is to have battles with her dinosaur toys. But we also play with beads and make bracelets for each other. (Actually, they usually end up on her dinosaurs or other toys and stuffed animals.) She loves playing outside and getting dirty but also watching me put on my makeup. She has a wide variety of play activities and she always adding new things to the list.
Regardless, she really likes pink. I am aware of gender stereotypes and I encourage my daughter to make her own choices. Sometimes she puts together crazy outfits for daycare and it makes us all smile.
If my daughter chooses to have a tea party or dress like a princess, then so be it. I am okay with this because she has a wide range of interests.
Judging people for what they wear or are interested in is a big reason I speak out against the conservative groups where I live. It’s definitely not something I want my daughter exposed to, but I know I can’t protect her forever. Ideally, she should feel comfortable in her own skin and respect others as well.
I think the best thing we can do for girls is to empower them to make their own choices and to make as many opportunities available as possible.
Like I said yesterday, with everything a parent has to worry about, what your kids wear is pretty far down the list. It’s important as a community that we support each other because we all want what’s best for our kids.
Are there any other girl moms and dads out there juggling with the same issues?