gender stereotypes start young…
“What is she wearing?”
I was asked that question 35 times the week before Easter. It was as if my child was going to a debutante ball. I tried to shrug off vague annoyance and proceeded to judge myself for having that vaguely uneasy feeling. But after judging myself as a “think-too-much Mom”, (Yes, I have been told that, even though I was under the impression it is 2013) I snapped upright and paid full attention to that feeling. I was annoyed, because -
Girls are supposed to be pretty and feminine and all decked out for everyone else’s enjoyment. Raiiight??
Perhaps boys’ mothers got asked as much; I don’t know because I haven’t had the chance to ask my mama friends yet. But I have an inkling that the pressure is on the girls, yet again, to step up to the plate and look pretty. The fashion industry snaps us up at birth by making girls’ clothing more fun. I’ve heard a million times from mama friends in hushed tones, “I love putting him in this suit, but it’s much more fun to look in the girls section. You have so much more.”
Can I please put my daughter in ripped jeans and a wife beater next year? Please?
OK, I’ll calm the feminist rebel in me for a second. Do I love dressing my daughter up? Of course. Is the baby girls’ clothing department aesthetically pleasing? Hell yes. But does your happiness and satisfaction lay in my daughter’s appearance? No it doesn’t. And my daughter and I also don’t want your projections of what a little girl should act or be like.
And even though I try to shield myself from the judgment, I then feel like I have to wipe off every frickin crumb off my daughter’s face and straighten out every hair from her ponytail. Aaaaand, the funny thing is, I don’t, because a kid’s job is be messy and ruin her clothes and fall sometimes.
And the bonnet! The f^%&ing Easter bonnet. I had a million frickin comments from people because she wasn’t wearing one. OK. If they only knew putting (and keeping) a hat on my kid is like trying to write with a gummy worm. Or something. And I’m not going to put my kid in something she hates just for appearances.
I’m not saying change tradition and stop parading kids around in their Sunday best once a year. I’m just saying, be aware. Body image and gender stereotyping stuff starts YOUNG. And it’s not me “thinking too much.”
(Image provided by zulily)