Saturday, March 1st, 2014
My friend Elizabeth sent this to me. It made my day. In case you can’t read it, the small print has the little girl saying, “Skip to the part where the princess climbs to the top of the corporate ladder.”
I could have saved my breath in lamenting about the princess culture if I had just seen this. A picture (and short quotation) is worth more than a thousand words. Pass it along!
Cartoon is courtesy of the Feb 17, 2014 New Yorker Magazine.
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Monday, November 4th, 2013
When it comes to toys, I think the gender-neutral argument is tricky. I learned in my Women’s Studies classes in college how the marketing of products towards women often reinforced negative stereotypes. Part of that I agree with. But part of that class I kind of want to call bullshit on, now that I have a boy and a girl and see what they naturally gravitate towards.
I’m not saying just because my boy likes trucks and my daughter likes to bake is proof that gender neutrality doesn’t exist. I’m just saying I think it’s hard to take a rigid stance, because kids are ultimately human beings and each of us comes into the world with natural, inherent differences. I think kids show what they are interested in from an early age, regardless of how much you try to keep their toys, surroundings, etc. “neutral.”
Having said that, I think as parents we have a lot of control on how to guide those interests. Companies market the princess crap and kitchen stuff to a heinous level for girls, and trucks and building sets to an unapologetic level for boys. It’s exciting to see Easy Bake Ovens coming out for boys and a Barbie Construction Set for girls. As many articles point out, it’s not a black and white issue. My guest blogger, Joe Depropero, wants his sons to play with dolls.
For me, I’ve noticed core differences in having a boy versus a girl. Emmett has always gravitated towards cars, trucks and more masculine things, like fire hydrants (his current obsession). Of course now Fia loves hydrants too because she likes anything he likes and vice versa–at least for the split second before they start fighting over it. When Fia was carrying around her baby doll, I got him one too because he kept taking hers. Now, at nearly 22 months, I don’t even know where his doll is.
On garbage mornings, we run out when we hear the truck. He screams in delight. If we are driving and he sees a cement mixer, he freaks out like I would if I saw Madonna. He also loves to sit quietly (up to 30 minutes) and page through his books, looking closely at each picture or trying to figure out how a toy works.
Fia was–and is– different. She honestly never cared about trucks, construction sites or hydrants. It’s not for lack of exposure. Her best friend from birth is a boy. She was exposed just as many cars and trucks. She will play with them for awhile, but she just isn’t interested in the same way. However, because she wasn’t around girls who were obsessed with princesses (thank god), so far, she hasn’t shown much interest (at least I think that’s why). Generally speaking, she’s not a girly-girl and she’s pretty content to play with whatever is in front of her.
I have a mom friend who said her 4-year old boy loves pink and purple. He also loves construction and trucks. She said most of his friends were girls. So again, I think inherent nature along with who they hang out with and what they are exposed to, is what makes the most difference.
Where parenting comes in: I wouldn’t push the princess thing on your girl or make your boy car-crazy. I think there’s a lot of danger when you push hard one way or another and I’m very wary of the marketing. Especially towards girls. I proudly posted last week how relieved I was that Fia wanted to be a pig– not a princess–for Halloween. I hope she never gets into that stuff. She is though, a born nurturer. Whether it’s with the cat or her stuffed animals, she has this maternal way about her. So why not nurture what she likes in moderation?
I guess that’s the key. Moderation and choice. What do you all think? Is there such a thing as really and truly raising gender-neutral kids? And if so, is that even right? I feel like this is sounding like a term paper so I’m signing off. Will look forward to your thoughts!
Is your little one destined to be an artist or an architect? Take our quiz and find out! Plus, find the perfect flick for your next family movie night, we’ve got 50!
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Barbie, boys, dolls, Easy Bake Oven, fairytales, gender neutral toys, girls, girly-girl, Princess, sexist stereotypes, sterotypes, trucks, Women's Studies | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Monday, October 28th, 2013
I was never into the “princess thing” growing up. That’s not to say I was a total tomboy. Just partially. I loved running free outside. My mom owned a plant store and we’d get these giant shipments of plants in huge boxes. My siblings and I would use them to make forts in the yard, begging our parents to let us sleep in them. Back then, we lived in the country on an acre of land. Now that old house is surrounded by a subdivision. Whenever I’m in State College I avoid going to it. It’s too depressing.
But back to the doll thing: Fia prefers pets to princesses, bugs over Barbies. So far, I’m breathing a big sigh of relief. I hope it stays that way. Regardless, if she goes the princess route, it won’t be because I pushed it on her. But I’m kind of hoping she doesn’t get into it. I don’t really want all that crap, err, clothes and wands all over the place. Plus the whole connotation of a princess is a damsel in distress; a girl who needs rescuing. Granted there are more modern–and positive–takes on princesses now than when I grew up (thank god) but it’s just not something I want to embrace head-on.
When it came time for Halloween, thankfully “princess” was never mentioned. Instead, she wanted to be a pig. Specifically Olivia, who does have some princess outfits. But generally speaking, Olivia is a minimalist so even her princess get-up would be cool. Fia wanted to look just like the stuffed animal version we have.
Now, I’m not saying anything is wrong with being a princess. She’s been Abby (from Sesame) and a butterfly in years past, both of which have princess elements. But what if when she gets older, I present her with an even better idea of what a girl could be? I wish I could pull these pictures and post them, but they are embedded in the link below.
Here’s the gist:
Photographer and mother Jaime Moore wanted something to find something creative and inspiring when taking pictures of her 5-year-old daughter. She searched around but only came up with things like how to be a Disney Princess. So she started thinking about what she could do on her own. Here is what she came up with.
Wait at the end to see the 6th picture…
Helen Keller and Laura Ingalls were my childhood heroes. Who were yours? Do you like the ideas from Jaime for costumes? I think when Fia is a little older and could understand what it meant, it could be really amazing to dress like women who changed the world. Who knows, maybe all our girls will change the world. Mine is a Sagittarius so she’s off to a good start.
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costumes, damsel in distress, Disney Princess, dressing up, Halloween Olivia, Helen Keller, Olivia, pig, Princess, princess connotation, Susan B Anthony | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read