I’m not exactly known as a girly-girl. With respect to my daughter and her future usage of make-up and hair-styling products, I suspect that I’ll be turning to Youtube (or the equivalent thereof in 12+ years) for aid. I literally just this week learned how to curl my hair in an attractive style, and I’ve been out of high school for almost two decades. I need a manual to apply eyeshadow (I have it tucked in my make-up case for whenever I decide to put some on). I have been blessed with a career that doesn’t require me to slap on make-up and heels, and I have exploited that ruthlessly. Ruthlessly.
At one point Mike and I were in a Macy’s, riding the escalator up to housewares, which also contained the kids clothing section. As we inched upward, a violent display of ruffles, lace, and pink hoved into view. The girls clothing. The baby girls clothing.
At the time I was only a few weeks pregnant with our first, and both of us exchanged a look, a look that said: this. This is our inescapable future if we have a girl. We might not dress her that way, but our collective families will almost certainly descend in a storm of taffeta and satin, laughing maniacally at our feeble cries of, “No — we’re not raising Honey Boo-Boo! Noooooo!”
I’ve been ducking the pink things, though I did buy her some pink diaper covers and there are a few skeins of pink-toned yarn in the blanket I’m knitting for her. Zoe, of course, won’t care (yet) that her mother dresses her in non-girly colors, that she’ll have just as many green and blue things as she does violet and pink. Someday she will, and on that day she’ll get to pick what she wears and how she wears it…to a certain degree — I wouldn’t let my child run around in a bathing suit in the middle of a Wisconsin blizzard, if that’s what you’re thinking.
Well, I might. For about ten seconds, so she’d understand why you don’t do that. But I digress.
I don’t hate “girly” things. I don’t even hate “pretty” things. I know my kin, when they generously buy my baby girl gifts, will probably get her things in pink, and I am okay with that. It’s not my preference, but I’m not going to decline a gift on a ridiculous notion such as that, and let’s face it: she’s going to be hella cute in that stuff. I rejoice that I’m bringing another girl into the world. I really do.
If I hate anything, it’s stuff that labels my daughter as a “princess” of any stripe. Because it’s so…passive. Boys get to be athletes and firemen. Girls get to be married off. “Princess” isn’t a career choice, it’s something that happens to about one in a zillion girls and it’s not a job one acquires because one is talented or works hard. I’d rather my daughter wear shirts that say things like “Daddy’s Future Astronaut” or “Mommy’s Future Blues Guitar Virtuoso”.
My daughter may decide she does want to be a princess. Or president. Or Batwoman. She may enter a pink phase that will cause my own mother to cackle maniacally. I just hope that if I convey anything to her, it’s this: she defines herself. Not a color, not a phrase, not her prom date, not her dad, and not me.
And more specifically, I hope she knows this, and takes it to heart: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” This is the heart of all my bad decisions in the past — that I let someone make me feel less-than. I hope the girl I raise knows she doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want to. And if she feels someone is pressuring her in the wrong direction, I hope she knows her parents will be there to back her up. Possibly with baseball bats.