I know that the area of traditional ‘girlie’ things, such as princesses, Barbie, and make-up, is very controversial for a lot of women. There is the thought that playing with barbies and make-up teaches our daughters that they need to look a certain way to be valued. That it undermines the importance of all of the good stuff on the inside, like kindness and intelligence. There is also the thought that the princess concept teaches girls that they need to be rescued by a man. That they cannot save themselves.
I do realize that Mattel and Disney are making progress in this area by giving Barbie a career, and making princesses that are empowered and bold and can save the world on their own. But let’s face it. Barbie still has an impossible body type. And princesses still seem to have quite a nice wardrobe and long flowing hair.
Honestly, I am on the fence about all of it. I want all three of my girls to grow up to be confident women who always try their hardest and are kind to others. But I also want them to be kids, and have fun without feeling like they have to apologize for what they want to play with.
Molly has never been into barbies, princesses, or pink. Her favourite colour is blue and she likes to play with bugs. The creepy crawlier the better. And do science experiments. And crafts. And build k’nex.
Grace is the girliest girl you ever could meet. She loves pink, and dolls, and barbies. She dressed as Tinkerbell for Halloween last year, and changes her clothes 6 times a day.
We haven’t made any conscious decision to steer either of the girls toward any of these things. It’s just who they are. And we love who they are.
|See? No encouragement to be princesses whatsoever. What you don’t see is the photoshoot of when we dressed them up as CEOs.|
Maggie is kind of a mix of the two of them. She has loved dinosaurs, and insisted on wearing her dinosaur PJs every night. She has also loved dressing up as a princess, and playing with dolls. For the most part though, getting her to play with anything has been a struggle, and when she did it was toddler toys that she preferred, such as Little People.
Lately though we are starting to see Maggie’s imaginative play expand, and she is acting out scenes with her dolls and playing dress-up. She has been playing Barbies in an age-appropriate way…going from just carrying 2 of them around, to having them sit at the table to eat a meal, or driving in the barbie car.
We are thrilled to see her playing with barbies and dolls and dress-up. And yes, I am even happy to see her keep sneaking my make-up. When it has taken this many years to get our daughter interested in playing with anything, breaking gender stereotypes is the last thing I care about.
What I really care about is teaching her the importance of understated lipstick.
|See…Toy Story PJs and red lipstick. We’re all about breaking stereotypes in this house. And the rules of fashion.|