Christmas gifts (again), our views versus her peers...(9 Posts)
Am looking for feminist views on this.
We've always tried to do non-gendered toys and clothes for DD (3.5) Lately she's been very into pink - quite unsurprising given how prevalent it is with all the little girls she knows. When I give her a choice she'll generally choose the pink one so I either don't give her a choice or I think I'd buy pink for a boy, she should have what she wants, she has plently of other colours in her life and I do get her some pink things. Or I buy her the sparkly option (e.g. silver glittery shoes) which isn't pink but also supports her feet, has a good grip etc and we go out and get it phenomenally dirty climbing trees so all OK there really.
For Christmas (from sort of secondary relatives) DD got quite a lot of pink bits and pieces. And some of them were Disney princess shit (I'm looking at you, M and S Princess activity set). Which I hate, I hate the doe eyes and the perfect figures and the horrible stories about girls who are pretty and lovely and have magical life giving blonde hair (which turns ugly and brown when the ugly old witch cuts it off). It's fucking horrible actually, it's like 'objectify your daughter in three easy steps'. So most of it got hidden.
I know that with other girls who she knows this kind of stuff has quite a lot of cache. I think she's probably looking forward to showing some of it off to her friends who have all this stuff which she plays with when she sees them. So the question is, am I doing her out of that opportunity with her peer group who are really important to her at the moment? She was so pleased with it all
No answers, but yes it's shit. That's how it happens - you feel like a complete killjoy because of the peer pressure...
The only thing I do with DS (who bcs is a boy doesn't have quite the same issues - in fact a lot of the boys' toys are quite cool and constructive) is encourage him to see the silliness of it all. I don't think it harms them to talk about the issues as long as your DD doesn't end up feeling bad for liking princesses, etc..
Sorry not much help..
I got my DNiece an electronics set, she had been given a load of pink shite by various other people, but guess what she spent most time playing with??????
not that I giggled at how loud and exasperating the burglar alarm was, or how much it upset the vile SiL, oh no, not me!
I weeded out a few princess things quietly, plus a 'Book for Boys on How to be the Best at everything' ds was given. On the grounds that why should books about practical, challenging stuff be labelled For Boys
But I think the important thing is balance. Otherwise aren't we falling into the trap of valuing traditionally girly things less than traditionally boyish things? A message that's essentially ugh, that's rubbish because it's for <sneery voice> girls.
I struggle with this too! I reckon allowing some pink princess/Barbie crap into the house can actually be quite a good thing, as it allows me to explain to my dds what it is I don't like about it much more clearly than if I banned it altogether. It also means they can form their own opinions - I let dd1 choose a magazine when we were on holiday last summer and she went for a Disney Princess one (much to my disgust). Having read it, she decided it was total and utter crap: almost nothing to do in it, the stories were rubbish, she ended up envying her little sister who had chosen a Peppa Pig one. Far more effective than banning the stuff.
Dd1 got an electronics set for Christmas - it's great!
My DD is now 8 and we went through this at the early stages too. I always aimed for interesting/fun/educational when she was a toddler but knowing she'd get all the pink stuff from others. We went through the pink phase at age 3/4 when everything had to be pink - again, that came through influence outside home i.e. nursery, child minder, grandparents etc. but she did grow out of it pretty quickly.
What I've done all this time is just keep including stuff that's gender neutral, interesting, fun or educational with books/DVDs that give the opposite message from the likes of Disney (the studio Ghibli stuff recommended here was a great option). I regularly browse A Mighty Girl for inspiration/ideas. And the best gift DD got from Santa was the electronics kit mentioned here too I personally loved the spinning disk...
I think you just need to keep including the stuff you want/approve of with a really encouraging positive spin on the kind of stuff that you think gives the right sort of message and hope that filters through the rest of what is pretty much impossible to avoid unfortunately.
I used to be a child minder. I found it nigh on impossible to get stuff to play house with in any other colour than pink. It's such a shame, because the 5 little boys I looked after at various times loved playing with the cooker, iron etc etc, but I had real dramas with the DF's of my charges because a) they were playing with sneer girl's toys and b) they were playing with sneer pink things. I had one father tell me in no uncertain terms that his son was not to play with <insert girl's toy here> because 'normal' boys don't need to know that stuff. Oh! How his mother and I laughed when he tried to take one of the dolls home with him because it was his baby....
Thanks for responses. It's not so much the pink. I bought my friend's ds a lovely sparkly pink christmas gift which I knew he'd love so I'm confident it's not just a 'we hate pink, pink's for girls' thing. And given the choice of sparkly, glittery stuff and the dark blue/brown uniform boys are supposed to wear who wouldn't want a Hello Kitty glow in the dark
It's the princess shit. It feels actively damaging, like a little dose of body dysmorphia. Free anorexia with this issue, sort of thing.
I will mention that my 3.5 year old boy when asked what colour he wanted his room said 'pink, with pink cars' - so I think that the pinkification is actually spreading among the little ones in general - assuming no-one in their life is discouraging the boys away from it.
But yes, I agree that the princess stuff is much more insidious - along with the grooming sets etc. it's all telling little girls to brush their hair and look pretty, that that's what matters.
Boys used to be given toy guns/handcuffs/soldier sets. Those have largely gone the way of the dodo, yet the little girls stuff still hangs around because a pretend lipstick is seen as less dangerous to their mental state than a toy gun.
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