Am I wrong to let my daughter enjoy being girly then?

(210 Posts)
pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 10:28:33

DD is four - she will be five in Feb. I have two sons as well.

I have never encouraged or acknowledged a marked differentiation between the sexes, regards their interests and clothing. I always steered away from that stuff, letting them make their own minds up.

However, dd has embraced girliness wholeheartedly. She loves pink, and dresses, and My Little Pony and all things sparkly. In the interests of autonomy, and cultivating her own tastes, I don't mind it in the least.

I am starting to feel though, that through reading MN, unless she is playing football in bovver boots, I am doing her a disservice.
My mil (who is lovely really) is rolly eyed about all things pink and girly, and can't resist from making little comments about it. "Oh that's a very fancy dress" (sarcastic).

I have explained that the girliness is her own choice, and just what she happens to like, but I think it goes over her head...mil wants to think it's me pushing this onto her. It isn't.

I sometimes wonder if, in the quest for equality, we sometimes go too far the other way, and heap scorn upon girls who want to be girly? I feel the need to defend my dd's right to love pink and sparkly, as it is now heralded as so deeply uncool.

I thought it was all about offering choices...but nowadays (particularly on MN) it seems as though a girl being girly is a failure.

Anyone?

Bonsoir Tue 08-Oct-13 10:30:44

MN has a strand of radical feminist censorship that is very distasteful.

It is more than fine for your DD to enjoy being a girl and woman.

Pootles2010 Tue 08-Oct-13 10:31:43

I haven't seen any scorn heaped on girls for being girly, rather on toy shops etc for trying to engineer it.

No problem with your daughter liking sparkly things - just as i have no problem with ds liking them.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 10:32:04

That's what I think Bonsoir. I agree.

RippingYarns Tue 08-Oct-13 10:32:58

for me, it's not about what a girl/woman wears, it's about restrictions based on her gender

as long as she has equal opportunity to do/wear anything, that's fine

and yes, i include positive discrimination in 'opportunity'

If it truly is her choice and not been encouraged from anyone (apart from the incessant advertising) then it's more than ok.

I believe that Feminism is the choice to be as you wish. She chooses to be 'girly'

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 10:34:13

Exactly right PersonalClown.

noblegiraffe Tue 08-Oct-13 10:35:06

Nothing wrong with sparkles and pink so long as it doesn't go hand in hand with a belief that you aren't as good/strong/clever as a boy and need rescuing.

TheFabulousIdiot Tue 08-Oct-13 10:35:39

Well, she can only choose from what you buy her I suppose so you must be making some choices about what she has available to her?

Does she watch TV and mix with other children? Because even that will have an effect given that as a whole society and culture pushes the whole pink girlie thing.

I don't think you need to worry at all about things going too far the other way - that would be practically impossible given how so much of what we see is geared towards girls being a certain way. It's surprising you haven't noticed it but you really shouldn't worry - girlie girls are never going to be denied the chance to be aware of what 'girlie' is.

BurberryQ Tue 08-Oct-13 10:36:02

I have never seen any scorn heaped on girls here for liking pink stuff or indeed for not wanting to 'play football in bovver boots' , more for shops for only offering genderised (if there is such a word) clothes/toys, as pootles said.
I am proud of my daughter for studying engineering but also for knowing how to do her make-up nicely.....
my proudest moment came when she punched a boy in the face for tweeking her nipple in an engineering class grin

I think 'choice' is a useless word here given the sheer volume of pink fluffy shit.

We get conditioned to like it - I know I like sparkly shoes, sparkly jewellery, swishy shit.

But I also know I'm conditioned to like it.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 10:41:03

Well, she can only choose from what you buy her I suppose so you must be making some choices about what she has available to her?

Hmm...no. An example....all three of mine were given a tenner each from a relative recently. I took them to spend it. She chose a My Little Pony, and was adamant about it.

I buy them toys that I think they will like and play with, not toys that are deemed acceptable by other people.

Bonsoir Tue 08-Oct-13 10:45:45

At 5 many children have pretty clear tastes.

My DD, memorably, tore a jacket that my DP had picked out for her at Bonpoint from his arms at the cash desk and threw it to the floor. She was not yet 2. Her tastes were clear!

BuffytheAppleBobber Tue 08-Oct-13 10:46:50

The difficulty is, we can't really know what are "natural" choices and what are socialised. What I dislike are:

1. The culture that steers girls, all girls, towards pink, sparkly, fairy princess things. This is in shops, TV, magazines, everywhere.

2. The fact that being pink and sparkly is looked down upon. The pink version is never as practical or adaptable or creative as the 'boy' version. <hard stare at Lego Friends>

So no, I wouldn't criticise you or your dd for liking what you like (I don't know if you count me as one of the hard line rad fems here?). I also wear heels on occasion and my dd likes Barbie films. She also plays football and wants a birthday cake that's a muddy pitch (chocolate) with a female player about to score a goal.

The fact that I feel some weird pride that she's not all about the sparkle ponies and fairy wings tells me all I need to know about the extent to which girls are fed this type of stuff and at the same time despised for liking it.

Maybe I am making no sense now confused

EdithWeston Tue 08-Oct-13 10:48:22

I think the sheer scale of Pinkification does mean that it's an area which needs attention.

Not to limit what a DC (of either sex) chooses, but to ensure they have a range of opportunities and do not find their natural inclinations are inhibited by social pressures.

I don't remember ever seeing a flat 'deny them' post on MN. I have seen lots saying 'think about what you're doing and strive for balance'.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 10:51:24

Does she watch TV and mix with other children? Because even that will have an effect given that as a whole society and culture pushes the whole pink girlie thing.

I agree...but what am I to do about that, other than teach her that there are other choices, and she is in no way obliged to kowtow to gender stereotyping...which I do. She's happy to play with all sorts, and does...but there is no doubt that given a free choice she will opt for pink shit.
I do view it as a result of conditioning, of course, but it is not conditioning that has come from me, but from external sources, such as her friends at nursery.

I wonder if flying in the face of that would be to limit her own choice...iyswim?

Coupon Tue 08-Oct-13 10:53:02

> I haven't seen any scorn heaped on girls for being girly, rather on toy shops etc for trying to engineer it.

I agree with Pootles2010. I have no problem with any children playing with any toys they like, and haven't seen anyone say anything against it.

But I don't like biased assumptions and marketing which steer girls or boys towards what someone else has decided is the "right" kind of toy for boys or girls.

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 10:55:01

Of course if she wants to buy a my little pony, let her. Just make sure taht she knows she can have a range of toys and clothes. And if she is into princesses and the like, buy her some books that are about strong and capable princesses, not ones that constantly need to be rescued by princes.

Hardline radical feminist here. I have seen so many negative comments about radical feminists on mumsnet and don't really understand it? hmm

PoopMaster Tue 08-Oct-13 10:55:33

Hi OP

I'm a Guide leader and often have to justify (to DH amongst others) why girls need their own space to be girls, without this sort of pressure to somehow show your gender neutral credentials. Girls are just people and people have different interests, and some of them include pink/baking/makeup while others prefer football/outdoor adventure etc. We try to balance all these interests without saying to anyone that theirs are more valid in any way.

It's a good idea to explore why we have these interests (and where the influences come from) and we do that to some extent, but it would be a sad day if we had to start discouraging them for being "too pink".

(TBF DH always says "why can't boys who like this stuff join the Guides then like girls have joined the Scouts?" but that is a whole other discussion)

gordyslovesheep Tue 08-Oct-13 10:57:19

course it's fine to let kids play with the things they choose - I find the issue arises mainly the other way in our house.

2 of my 3 girls are quiet 'traditional' and do gravitate to make up, hair stuff, pink, little animals, dolls etc

my middle girl plays football, likes sciencey things, animals - in the getting dirty caring for them sense, moshy monsters, 'boys' computer games - which inlaws constantly try and change .

that irks me muchly

Of course you're not doing her a disservice.

There have been debates on here before saying precisely what you're saying - that it's really important not to equate saying 'it's a pity society pushes pink at little girls so much' with saying 'therefore pink is bad and we should make little girls feel bad about wearing it'.

I think it is part of a bigger problem, not just about pink. Your MIL's sneering at fancy dresses and pink is not so very far aware from the sort of people who comment that a little boy who cries is being a 'big girl's blouse', or who use 'girly' as an insult. A friend of mine was pointing out the other day that she's really uncomfortable with people using the word 'tomboy' for her DD, because it implies that these ways of behaving her DD has are boyish, rather than (as with your DD), just what she happens to like.

IMO it has to be a pretty basic part of feminism to accept that being 'girly' or 'boyish' are just behaviours, and one is not better than the other!

Viviennemary Tue 08-Oct-13 10:58:23

It should be a choice. My Mum hated pink. I was hardly ever ever allowed anything pink.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 11:03:15

I'm not trying to be antagonistic btw - this is something I have been pondering for a while.

I was moved to start this thread because I bumped into mil this morning on the way to nursery. Dd is wearing a pink dress with a netting tutu skirt today...and mil could not help herself from making the usual catty observations about that.
"Oh I'm sure you'll have to be very careful not to spoil such a lovely dress at nursery, by climbing or getting paint on it" - the onus being that the dress is impractical and silly. The dress was £8 and made of stretchy jersey, so it's comfortable, and I don't care if it gets painty or torn.
She just sees pink, and assumes I must be a facile ninny, when in fact I think it is she who is being narrow minded...iyswim?

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 11:06:33

And if she is into princesses and the like, buy her some books that are about strong and capable princesses, not ones that constantly need to be rescued by princes.

Oh I do, I do!

My main concern is that my daughter be assertive. If she wears pink to be assertive in, what does it matter?

I am dead against gender stereotyping...I swear.

Yes, I totally see.

My mum will be like that. hmm

I wonder if maybe they're similar ages? My mum grew up in the 60s/70s and she is definitely conditioned by that idea that you should raise your girl children to be boyish and tough and that this is somehow a good thing. I suppose it's what leads to those ridiculous blokey power suits in the 80s. grin

Do you ever pick her up on it?

Kewcumber Tue 08-Oct-13 11:07:16

OF course anyone should be able to chose whatever they like.

But I find it interesting that pink and sparkly is deemed to be "girly". It isn't in other countries and wasn't here once upon a time which tells me that girls (and women) are conditioned to accept that pink and sparkly is the epitome of being a girl/woman.

I would let her choose what she wants but I certainly wouldn't reinforce that pink and sparkly is "girly" its just what she likes because if a 4 year old boy likes pink (and frankly many many do as pink is an attractive colour to most small children) then is it "girly" for him too.

Or is it just a colour that she likes and colours (contrary to popular belief) don't actually have a gender.

FacebookWanker Tue 08-Oct-13 11:07:20

I know exactly how you feel Pictish because I'm in the same position. I never bought pink for DD when she was younger, but she LOVES it and ALWAYS wants to wear it. She's always talking about looking beautiful etc. She's 3. I always feel that I'm being judged for 'putting her in pink' but if it were up to me she wouldn't wear it.

I would feel bad for forcing colours on her that she doesn't like or want to wear. I know she is very heavily influenced by what she sees ober girls wearing and I still hate the lack of choice. She wants an Innotab for Christmas. They're available in pink or blue...why not neutral. She loves the iPad and it isn't pink.....

TheFabulousIdiot Tue 08-Oct-13 11:08:41

Naaah - really - don't worry about it. There is no way at all that she's going to be denied making a choice to wear pink and buy my little pony and do girlie stuff.

I would personally think a dress with netting under it would restrict some of the things she might want to play with at nursery though.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 08-Oct-13 11:09:02

Sounds fine.

Its also perhaps worth pointing out that a child who's into pink sparkles at age 4 may develop quite different tastes within a few years! So long as she has the choice, and she's got clothes/shoes she can do real stuff in not just lelli kellis and 'fancy dresses', and you encourage her not to be a sheep just doing the same as everyone else, no problem.

I guess what we all want for our DC - girls and boys - is for them to be confident individuals.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 11:09:39

Do you ever pick her up on it?

No - not really. I said "ach it's fine - it's a cheap dress and very comfy, so I'm not fussed about paint or tears" - but I know I may as well be talking to a brick wall.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 11:13:30

I would personally think a dress with netting under it would restrict some of the things she might want to play with at nursery though.

Like what? It's a t-shirt dress that sits just above the knee, with a mesh skirt. It's soft and loose and not restrictive in the least. I wouldn't have put it on her for nursery if it was. I'm not an idiot. grin

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 11:16:11

My mum wanted me to be a tomboy like she was. I refused to wear anything except skirts and dresses until I was 12, and played with dolls. I think she was disappointed.

But I still grew up to be a feminist because of the books my mum bought, the way she challenged gender stereotyping, etc. Those things are important.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 08-Oct-13 11:19:16

>"Oh I'm sure you'll have to be very careful not to spoil such a lovely dress at nursery, by climbing or getting paint on it"

Your MIL is being a twit saying that. Your attitude is fine - she wears what she wants, its cheap, doesn't matter if it gets wrecked any more than if it was a t-shirt and trousers.

My DD stopped wearing pale pink shortly after climbing all 3 of the Yorkshire 3 peaks wearing pink trackies and pale trainers, decided at that point she wanted khaki chinos which didn't show the mud, and walking boots. grin But that was her choice - point is that being dressed in pink did not stop her climbing those hills!

Stravy Tue 08-Oct-13 11:20:56

*I'm not trying to be antagonistic btw - this is something I have been pondering for a while.

I was moved to start this thread because I bumped into mil this morning on the way to nursery. Dd is wearing a pink dress with a netting tutu skirt today...and mil could not help herself from making the usual catty observations about that.
"Oh I'm sure you'll have to be very careful not to spoil such a lovely dress at nursery, by climbing or getting paint on it" - the onus being that the dress is impractical and silly. The dress was £8 and made of stretchy jersey, so it's comfortable, and I don't care if it gets painty or torn.
She just sees pink, and assumes I must be a facile ninny, when in fact I think it is she who is being narrow minded...iyswim?*

I emphasise with this. I used to get this a lot when dd1 was younger and I find you often hear comments about girls enjoying 'girly' things that are immediately followed up by some sort of unnecessary disclaimer such as "dd preferred playing with her disney princesses rather than barbie (she also loves playing in the mud and climbing trees!)" whereas you never see "ds always preferred the wooden train sets to the plastic (he also enjoys dressing up, crafts and baking!)"

I don't believe little girls are making these choices in a vacuum but I don't think any of us do and they seem to be the section of society that is most harshly criticised for conforming.

MadCap Tue 08-Oct-13 11:22:04

This is a really interesting debate and I thought it'd be a good place to share a website that a friend shared with me. www.amightygirl.com/ I particularly like the doll's house you can practice wiring in.

Stravy Tue 08-Oct-13 11:22:37

highlighting fail sad grin

TheFabulousIdiot Tue 08-Oct-13 11:25:13

I guess I am thinking of a dress with acres of netting, but it sounds a bit more flexible than that and if you don't mind it getting roughed up then that's great.

So it's not that the dress restricts your DD - it's that your MIL has subconsciously thought 'pink fluffy dress=quiet, sedate 'girly' behaviour'.

hmm

Annoying.

I've never seen posts that "heap scorn" on girls who like stereotypically "girlie" things. If your daughter likes them of her own accord then that's fine. She'll certainly have an easier time of it - my 4yo has been getting some stick at school because she has a Spiderman backpack.

Children like what they like. I don't care whether DD and DS like superheroes, dolls, pink, whatever. As long as it's their choice and not something they've been told they should like (which is why I get so angry with supermarkets and toy shops). Most parents I know feel the same.

FacebookWanker Tue 08-Oct-13 11:47:02

Madcap thanks for the link...great website!

wordfactory Tue 08-Oct-13 11:50:23

I don't think any scorn is heaped upon girly girls OP.

In fact, I'd say society, particularly in the UK, values girly girls highly. Toys, clothes, telly, books are all geared to embrace girly girls.

There is very little choice. One actively has to seek it out. Girls who are not into pink, sparkles and My Little Pony are the outliers!

NoComet Tue 08-Oct-13 11:50:31

I was a primary child in the 70's and you had no choice, but to be a Tom boy if you wanted any fun.

Girls bikes were miniature ladies bikes, they'd have fallen apart jumping over piles of builders sand and bouncing of curbs.

There weren't many girly versions of anything, but if there were they weren't up to the job.

There were no girly toy cars, Lego, skate boards, kites no gendered board games.

The idea of a pink push chair, pram or car seat you couldn't use if DC2 was male was totally laughable. Many DCs wore coats, wellies and jumpers that belonged to the other sex sibling. Clothes were much more expensive relative to wages, no way would DM have bought pretty pale pink or frilly white clothes as they would have got trashed.

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 11:58:41

I can't say I've noticed the attitude you're talking about on MN at all; what I have noticed is a tendency to say that despite gender neutral parenting the girls are drawn to pink.
I think it's important to remember the context in which girls make these decisions and to bear in mind that often girls are given access to pink and sparkly in a way boys aren't no matter how they are parented.

As for your MIL's attitude, well, that says a lot about her. You sound like you're quite happy for dress to be properly played on where as MIL sounds like she's conforming to the pretty dress = must not ruin or play much etc.

Floggingmolly Tue 08-Oct-13 11:58:44

My dd was exactly like that at five. By seven she had abandoned all things pink and glittery for Deadly 60 and a shark obsession which lasted years; she's 12 now and can't stand pink anything.

FacebookWanker Tue 08-Oct-13 12:00:15

But wearing non pink isn't being a Tom boy. I was born in '71 and I never wished for pink wellies, pink Lego etc. I liked wellies and I liked my toys. I never wished for a boyish version of my toys.

I played with Lego, Meccano, Tonka toys but also liked my Sindy dolls.

I do think that on MN lots of people make a big thing of girls enjoying climbing trees etc as if it's something to be proud of, when really it's just a child being a child. Why is it remarkable that a girl like wearing pink AND climbing trees?

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 12:01:20

Starball - But lego, kites, etc weren't seen as girls or boys toys, just toys. I was a "girly girl" and loved flying my stunt kite and playing board games. Toys are much more gendered now, than they were in the past.

FacebookWanker Tue 08-Oct-13 12:05:24

And I wouldn't buy a pink car seat, buggy etc. We used skate boards, roller skates kites etc that were gender neutral. It never crossed my mind that they should look 'girly' pink Lego does the same as traditional coloured Lego. I really hate the way some toys or other products aimed at children are either blue or pink. It's not needed.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 12:07:25

I have real issues with the term 'girly' actually.

To use the term girly is to made all sorts of assumptions and use all sorts of short hand about what it means to be a girl/female. And then, to make it worse, it gets traded back to us as an insult (girly throw, etc).

So I try to avoid that term. I also avoid tom boy. When my DD is into dolls she is not 'being a girl' when she climbing a tree she is not being a fake boy.

But leaving that aside, I think part of the tension is that "Well my daughter is just naturally into pink/frills/dolls" is all too often used in discussions as a way of closing down discussion and preventing analysis or gender stereotyping and societal pressures. "It's all innate so shut up and stop moaning", etc. And when people try to respond to that, they often get accused of hating all things pink and frilly and deriding 'girly' choices.

There is nothing at all wrong with a girl (or a boy) wanting to climb a tree in a tutu, or push a pram in combat trousers. Or any combination of the above. But I do find that, where the DD's make very 'conventional' female choices in things, I have more concerns about whether it is their genuine personality coming through, or whether outside pressures led them down that route.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 12:09:34

Facebook - it is worse than that. Pink lego isn't just lego with some pink thrown in. It's a more restrictive, prescribed range that affects how a child can play with the toy. Which really gets me ranting....

woozlebear Tue 08-Oct-13 12:11:29

"Oh I'm sure you'll have to be very careful not to spoil such a lovely dress at nursery, by climbing or getting paint on it"

Can you turn the tables on your MIL and pretend to have totally missed the fact that she's being catty? Act like you think she's seriously telling your DD to be careful of her dress and have a word with her, saying you want to be very careful that DD doesn't grow up thinking she has to be careful of looking pretty and restricting her activities, and you're worried that saying thinks like that will give her the wrong message.

Should a) embarass her into shutting up and b) make her realise there's no need for the catty comments as, essentially, you both want the same for DD.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 08-Oct-13 12:16:15

DD went through a phase of wanting everything to be pink and sparkly. She grew out of it by about 7.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 08-Oct-13 12:21:22

I don't know why anyone is surprised that little girly like all things 'girly'. You might not be encouraging them to do so but our culture is saturated with images of 'girliness' being desirable and the best ways to attain it.

I want my daughter to grow up to be a woman who is proud of being a woman. But that shouldn't restrict her in any of her choices.

TheBookofRuth Tue 08-Oct-13 12:30:27

I have to admit to not liking the idea of my DD becoming a girly girl (she's only 20 months so I'm sure I've got it to come) but then I asked myself if it was something I'd stop a DS doing, if I had one. If I had a son who liked pink and playing with dolls and having tea parties, I wouldn't dream of stopping him, because I wouldn't want to force him to conform to a typical masculine role. So surely it would be unfair of me to put similar restrictions on my little girl?

FaddyPeony Tue 08-Oct-13 12:47:03

Ruth, I also have a 20month old girls and I feel uneasy sometimes seeing just how much influence we as mothers have on our daughters! I love clothes and style and I wear make-up; I'm fine with all of this now and feel like I have a healthy attitude towards it all. But I'll admit that I got a little freaked when I was home-waxing my legs the other day and DD started getting in on the job by applying old bits of sellotape to her own legs...hmm She also adores rifling through my wardrobe and making oooh noises when I try stuff on for an evening out, etc. But I think little boys would do this too - I don't have a son so can't say.

Anyway, it's more important to me that DD sees her dad doing stuff around the house, ironing his own shirts, cooking for her, taking her out and dressing her, that kind of thing, so that it's not just mama who is associated with all things domestic and sartorial. Because I honestly believe that this is where the battle for equality is mostly being fought - in the home. I don't really have any dolls for DD, and I won't be going out and buying Disney Princess stuff. That said, I don't really think it matters. The only thing I will insist on is a wide variety of books.

SetFiretotheRain Tue 08-Oct-13 12:55:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoniTime Tue 08-Oct-13 12:58:41

No matter what colours she wears, the most important thing is to encourage self-confidence, and that she can do anything she wants (for example wearing pink doesn't mean she can't also like sports or science). And also that her looks isn't the most important thing about her, that there are other lovely sides and strenghts to her.

MrsFlorrick Tue 08-Oct-13 14:15:33

My 4 yo DD loves pink and purple. But doesn't like dolls and loves playing with train track.

My 2 yo DS is obsessed with lip balm and lip stick. Begs me for lip stick in shops. And tries to take lip balms from my drawers and handbag and stock pile them in his room. He did ask for blue lipstick last week though.

WiddleAndPuke Tue 08-Oct-13 14:24:01

Of course YANBU.
I know what you mean about a certain subset of MN. You get the feeling that unless you're actually raising your daughter as a boy you're somehow sending her the message that she should aspire to being barefoot, pregnant and chained to the sink.

I think you're fine.

In fact I'll go further - the only time I ever wish I'd had a girl is when I go shopping with my friend (who's got a toddler DD) and I can fondle all the cute pink stuff. I can confidently say that if I'd had a girl she'd have spent the first year or so of her life in a froth of pink and probably longer depending on her personal taste and at what age it manifested itself.

If she likes pink and frills let her bloody wear pink and frills!

TheHeadlessLadyofCannock Tue 08-Oct-13 14:26:44

The only things I've seen scorn heaped on are shops for genderising their products and telling consumers 'This is for boys and this is for girls', grandparents/ILs etc hoicking their bosoms at any child not seen to be wearing the 'correct' kind of clothes or doing the 'correct' activity for their gender (boys playing with prams, girls in blue dungarees etc), and posters saying things like 'What's wrong with me wanting my DD to look like a girl?' and then not engaging if anyone tries to unpick the term and what it means.

I think a lot of little girls (and probably boys too) have a pink phase. As long as she is comfortable (and her dress sounds ace) and has the option to wear and do other things that aren't necessarily considered 'girly' then what's the problem?

YoniTime Tue 08-Oct-13 14:28:56

Your son needs this MrsFlorrick!

DontmindifIdo Tue 08-Oct-13 14:34:21

In this debate I always remember this picture - basically its her picking pink thats the problem, it's if she's only provided with various pink/girly options. If she's picking the pink and fluffy options let her, take lots of photos to shame her with if she decides to be emo in a decades time.... grin

FairPhyllis Tue 08-Oct-13 14:34:23

MN feminists wouldn't be down on your DD for being a girly girl. I am a feminist and I have all kinds of sparkly joy in my life.

They would however be down on a society which promotes a certain way of being a young girl (ie pink and sparkly shit and passive role models) above all the other ways a young girl could be.

And your DD hasn't made her choices in a vacuum, or even just by looking to you. She has made them by looking at her peers' clothing and toys, the attitudes of other adults in her life, the marketing she sees around her in any shop she goes in, the roles she sees assigned to women and girls in books/TV/real life ...

YoniTime Tue 08-Oct-13 14:35:08

YY LadyofCannock.

FacebookWanker Tue 08-Oct-13 15:17:34

That makes it so much worse Penguins. I wish they would just let toys be toys.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 16:16:46

Not sure if the link will work, but this is Lego Friends, the 'girl' range. Essentially it is generic girl toys - dolls, shops, beauty parlours - made of lego. What happened to the building and imagining <disclaimer, I do recognise that all the specialist lego ranges are more restrictive than just the bricks we knew. It's the focus of the restriction for girls that annoys me more than anything>

StickEmUp Tue 08-Oct-13 16:25:48

"Oh I'm sure you'll have to be very careful not to spoil such a lovely dress at nursery, by climbing or getting paint on it

THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS

Pretty Dresses: Ornamental. Girls are for looking at not doing anything.

To me, this underpins everything.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 16:41:59

Yes, and if you look at it objectively it makes no sodding sense. A child's outfit probably costs much the same as another child's outfit (in the sense that, from a given retailer, a boy outfit, a dress, and leggings and a t-shirt probably add up to the same amount).

So why is it that dress = be careful, keep it clean, look pretty. I assume it goes back to women as decorative and girls wearing dresses 'acting female'. But it is enraging.

elfycat Tue 08-Oct-13 16:53:04

My DDs like to dress up in pretty sparkly dresses. I figure it's a magpie attraction and that it's fine for girls to have this. I think boys have this desire to but that they are usually refused the opportunity to wear fabulous and decorated fabrics. I think that's a shame.

DDs (4.5 and 3) put on pretty dresses on Sunday and then went out in the garden to play with the large digger toys (On gravel) and collect snails. They insisted I put on a pretty dress to so I dug out an old one from my formal party days --long gone- and floated around the house all day. If anyone had knocked on the door I'd have felt daft but I'm sure I'll do it again grin

They have toys aimed at girls (pink dolls), boys (large diggers) and plenty of neutral puzzles, books, building blocks. I'm not going to encourage lego 'friends' and will probably start a 'city' collection. But I wouldn't refuse them 'friends' if they picked it out when I'm letting them pick something.

Pretty dresses are not the problem. It is the strange attitude that suggests that by wearing a dress you somehow are incapable of other activities. The solution is not to avoid pinkness. It's to allow pinkness and encourage everything else, and not allow stupidity to rule.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 16:54:30

My DDs like to dress up in pretty sparkly dresses. I figure it's a magpie attraction and that it's fine for girls to have this. I think boys have this desire to but that they are usually refused the opportunity to wear fabulous and decorated fabrics. I think that's a shame.

I agree.

Branleuse Tue 08-Oct-13 17:07:43

I think its fine to let her to play with gender stereotyped things, as long as you encourage her to broaden her tastes too.

My dd thinks all these MLP and barbie etc are lovely, but ive pulled her up on it if she starts talking about how some things are for girls and some things are for boys, and i try and subtly push towards more powerful girly things, like wonder woman and supergirl grin and Ive talked to her about how silly I think it is that SOME PEOPLE think girls only like pink, when when I was a little girl, we had toys in all sorts of rainbow colours, and girls and boys played with what they liked, and werent told that we could only like certain colours.

My mum was a spare rib feminist and always dressed me in dungarees, and I STILL remember when she refused to buy me the dainty shoes i was desperate for, and bought me a pair of monkey boots instead. Im taking a slightly more open minded approach, and letting my dd have a bit more choice, but encouraging her to think about it

SmokedMackerel Tue 08-Oct-13 17:09:36

I sometimes feel like the OP. I think it is because peopleoften type things like "my dd loves dolls and sparkly tiaras but she also likes climbing trees and rriding her bike" as though they were oppositional. It sometimes feels that if you say your dd likes girly things, then you have to quickly justify yourself and say all the rough and tumble things they like too.

If as an adult you said you preferred to wear skirts, and then hastily assured your listeners that you were a keen rock climber the would all be confused. But that seems to be the accepted script when talking about a child enjoying activities that are traditionally associated with girls. And it does give the strong impression that these activities are inferior

78bunion Tue 08-Oct-13 17:13:14

it is not the activities though, it's the whole package. If she is dreaming of a wedding and not having a career that will have a major impact on her life and life chances.
If she is spending hours in front of mirrors in due course rather than studying her school books she might well not have such a good life.
So do encourage the other side of things too and outside activities.
You can buy books which show women in jobs rather than as home makers and that kind of thing which worked very well for us.

YoniTime Tue 08-Oct-13 17:13:39

By the way I think the cartoon MLP Friendship is magic is a good one for girls to watch. The main characters are female friends who are all different: One is sporty and likes to compete, one is into sewing and fashion, one is shy and likes animals, one loves books and studying, one is well weird and one is a hard-working farmer.

fleacircus Tue 08-Oct-13 17:30:22

The main characters are female friends who are all different: One is sporty and likes to compete, one is into sewing and fashion, one is shy and likes animals, one loves books and studying, one is well weird and one is a hard-working farmer. A range of strong, interesting female characters is good - but I wish they didn't have to be 'types' like that. DD is 5; sometimes she's shy, sometimes she's competitive, she loves reading but she loves climbing trees; like most real girls, she's not just one set of attributes and it bothers me that popular culture presents girls in that way.

fleacircus Tue 08-Oct-13 17:32:47

I think what I mean is, it shouldn't be a 'choice' for girls - you can be girly, or you can be a tomboy. You can be sporty, or you can be bookish. Surely that's just one step on the way to you can be 'hot' or 'clever', a 'good' girl or a 'skank'?

5madthings Tue 08-Oct-13 17:33:45

there is nothing wrong with her liking pink and princess and sparkly, what is wrong is that they are seen as only girls things and thus inferior.

it should be ok for boys to like them as well!

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 17:37:39

Yes, Yes 5Mad. We still have a culture that views it is degrading for a boy to wear his sister's hand me down pink coat or (as I saw on a recent thread) parents saying that they need to buy a new bouncy chair because the current one is not unisex and their new baby is the opposite gender. Pink is exclusively the domain of girls. And not in a 'it's so great and special' way - because if it was that parents of boys woudn't recoil in horror at the idea of their boy being touched by it.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 08-Oct-13 17:40:40

Flea - yes, I was thinking - those descriptors might add up to two girls total!
And I think its one of the reason why people sometimes say the 'my DD likes tutus but plays football too' type thing - its not oppositional, or that one is better than the other, more that we're celebrating their multi-faceted tastes.

20wkbaby Tue 08-Oct-13 17:53:58

Haven't read the whole thread but couldn't agree with you more OP. As I have said before on MN I was brought up in the 1970s by a mother fully Spare-Ribbed up who sneered at everything girly and glamorous. As a result it took me ages to admit to myself let alone anyone else that I liked clothes and shoes and looking nice - and even the occasional bit of pink.

I have 2 DDs and both appropriate for their ages love girly stuff - I would draw the line at anything too old for them (subjective I know). I would hate to think I would ever suppress any aspect of them as individuals but equally don't force them down other routes.

It always rankles on threads when people bang on about how their DD would never dream of wearing a dress and is always covered in mud - cheering on traditionally 'boyish' behaviour over traditionally 'girly' behaviour always seems the most sexist thing of all.

SmokedMackerel Tue 08-Oct-13 17:55:56

Errol, yes, it is good to celebrate multi-faceted tastes. I think I am just objecting to the "but" and feel it should be "and".

maybe I am just over-sensitive because my dd has never shown any enthusiasm for climbing anything

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 18:05:08

It always rankles on threads when people bang on about how their DD would never dream of wearing a dress and is always covered in mud - cheering on traditionally 'boyish' behaviour over traditionally 'girly' behaviour always seems the most sexist thing of all.

Nail on the head.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 08-Oct-13 18:12:37

I have no problem with pretty things and frills; it's slogan tshirts which associate boys with naughtiness and girls with prettiness, or being spoilt, etc, that I find a problem.

I have just realised that I and both dds are wearing flowery dresses/skirts, and indeed very often do. I have never thought of me or them as 'girly girls' though; the phrase just wouldn't occur to me!

Coupon Tue 08-Oct-13 18:15:44

> their DD would never dream of wearing a dress and is always covered in mud

Why do you take that as a promotion of one thing above another? Isn't it just a description?

SmokedMackerel Tue 08-Oct-13 18:27:18

coupon it seems like it is denigrating the wearing of dresses, and being proud that your daughter doesn't like them.

People never write that their dd would never dream of wearing trousers and was always covered in glitter. Or at least not without a subsequent sentence to "make upfor it" about how their daughter does like riding her bike or playing with star wars Lego. But people don't feel a need to do it the other way round, and round out the character of the dress-hating mud-lover by emphasising how much they like playing with dolls.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 18:30:56

Absolutely mackerel!

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 18:31:51

I actually don't think that's true. You do see lots of people emphasising the 'non girly' aspects of their girls. However, it is usually in response to something. Either dealing with a problem their child has experienced as a result. Or responding to a thread with the 'it's all innate' argument and trying to emphasise multi faceting personalities. I honestly can't think of a thread where someone randomly boasts about their daughter in the way described.

However, because of the denigration of all things designated as feminine in our culture, I think it's quite easy for a parent to feel attacked if their child does behave in those ways. And also, when posters talk about social conditioning, it is easy to translate that as having failed as a parent to 'protect' them from conditioning, which maybe can result in people over emphasising other characteristics.

SmokedMackerel Tue 08-Oct-13 18:49:26

penguins you are probably right, I do feel attacked because my daughter is stereotypically girly, likes wearing dresses etc.

And of course people are not boasting randomly, but it seems to me to come up a lot on threads about girls' clothing being impractical, girls toys and boys toys being stereotyped, things like that.

FreshCucumber Tue 08-Oct-13 18:50:21

I have to say, at that age, I would have stirred her choices towards something else. And not bought any pinky, sparky clothes. The same way that I have refused to but 'boyish' clothes to the boys.
I would have let her buy the little Pony stuff but equally ensured she had some toys that were more gender neutral.

I would have done so because I believe that all these pre-conceived idea on what a little girl should be are reinforced by TV, ads, friends and society as a whole and I would want to 'push' the other way so later on when she can really decide, she can make a proper choice rather than one dictated by society.

FreshCucumber Tue 08-Oct-13 18:53:32

Btw I am talking about the extreme stuff here. The extra pink clothes, the frilly sparky dress, all in pink etc.
not about a dress that could've nice and cute.
Why on earth would you want to stop a little girl wearing a dress?

78bunion Tue 08-Oct-13 19:01:54

If the clothing stops the girl doing things then it's a problem and unfair like some cultures/religions which dress girls in ways that mean they cannot ride bikes, worry about jumping into a puddle etc.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 19:15:39

Smoking - See, my girls aren't girly (though DD2 loves pink). I feel like there are always threads about how 'girly' is denigrated and I feel like yelling "My girls are just as much girls as yours. Why do you get to decide what it means to be a girl" (which is surely what the adjective girly is doing).

But I recognise that that is me projecting my own difficulties with the highly gendered environment my kids are growing up in. grin

As for toys, they are horribly stereotyped. As are clothes. DD2 would love a pink dinosaur t-shirt. A pink t-shirt with a normal dinosaur on it. Not a girly one with eyelashes. You know, just a dinosaur. Can you buy one? Of course not, because dinosaurs are a boy thing, so dinosaur t-shirts are boy colours. Red, blue, green.

SmokedMackerel Tue 08-Oct-13 19:32:56

Oh, I totally agree that toys and clothes are depressingly stereotyped - I was just saying it is usually threads on those subjects where people are keen to show off about emphasise how much their daughter doesn't like girls clothes/toys.

FloraFox Tue 08-Oct-13 19:41:46

This thread is just full of goady, antagonistic shite.

I have never seen feminists on FWR pour scorn on little girls or denigrate things considered "feminine" in our culture. I haven't had the impression that people are showing off about how their daughters don't like it. I have seen people talking about how their DDs are considered less "girly" because of it. Most feminists on FWR don't like the term "girly girl" as it suggests that "non-girly girls" are lesser sorts of girls and that's a very damaging message for children. That's not showing off.

My DD loved pink things from about 2 til 7, she wanted to be on "team girl", there's no way that it was a choice she made free from any societal influences. Everywhere you look, pink things are labelled for girls. After 7, pink became something associated with babies so was promptly dropped. Again, a choice not made in a vacuum but influenced by the world around her.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 19:42:03

I agree Mackerel.

Penguin you make a very good point too.

BasilBabyEater Tue 08-Oct-13 19:44:07

Let your DD be who she wants to be.

Just don't imagine that who she wants to be, is in no way influenced massively by her culture and her peers.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 19:50:23

I don't imagine she isn't influenced by culture or her peers, but I am willing to let her make that choice, within reason.

BasilBabyEater Tue 08-Oct-13 19:56:48

That's nice for you and your DD pictish. smile

My favourite book practically ever is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.

It should be all about choice and not being judged. How sad that our DDs are already being judged at such a young age.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 20:02:58

I loooooove the Paper Bag Princess! It's marvellous and a firm favourite here!

BasilBabyEater Tue 08-Oct-13 20:06:21

Judged? Children?

By whom?

Coupon Tue 08-Oct-13 20:07:16

> People never write that their dd would never dream of wearing trousers and was always covered in glitter.

Maybe because that's considered to be the "norm" by a lot of people, and so not worthy of comment?

BasilBabyEater Tue 08-Oct-13 20:09:59

My DD went through a phase of not dreaming of wearing trousers.

Do I get points?

pictish I just saw your mention of TPBP on another thread from this morning grin

Nice coincidence!

FreshCucumber Tue 08-Oct-13 21:20:12

I am against ANY gender stereotype, whether it's for boys or girls.
And as people have pointed out before, there are plenty of stereotype for girls (the dinosaur with long long eye lashes) and there are plenty of stereotype for boys too (you know the war stuff, guns and camouflage type of stuff, even for 18 months old).

I want men and women to be treated as equal so I am against all stereotype and prejudice.
I think that very pink, glossy 'girly' clothes do reinforce the 'girly' stereotype of the passive little girl that says and does little but smile sweetly and looks good. So I am not fond of them at all.
I think that the 'boyish' clothes full of guns, battle, monsters etc.. reinforce the 'boyish' stereotype of the strong little boy that is always fighting and needing to prove he is the strongest. I am not fond of these either.

So I do consciously avoid them.
It's not about refusing to let a little girl being a girl and a little being a boy. It's about letting grow to be the people they can be rather than the one the society is steering them towards.
And let's be honest. At 5yo, you can say No to a child. You can dictate what they wear or not even if they 'really really' like such item of clothing. And as I see it, you can protect them a little bit from some (unsuitable) influence.

KaseyM Tue 08-Oct-13 21:25:14

There's a difference between liking pink and sparkly stuff because that is what you really like and liking it because it has been fed to you constantly in subtle and non-subtle ways throughout your life. First one = fine, 2nd one = not fine. It's also worth noting that liking pink and liking mud are not mutually exclusive.

But anyway re. your DD, if she is happy, then just be happy for her. As long as she is never made to feel that girlworld is second best (and the idea that it is has never IM personal E come from feminists but from men who look down on "frivolity") then that is A-ok.

Feminism is two-pronged IMO: it seeks to give women the same opportunities & freedoms as men but also seeks to elevate the status of that which is traditionally considered to be feminine.

misdee Tue 08-Oct-13 21:28:58

OP, have you got my dd3 there? wink she has spent most of the summer in this [[ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tu-age-6-girls-butterfly-summer-dress-with-belt-/221269543716?nma=true&si=dEm9g6rEp2TIoUjGJXJz04H9fPw%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557#ht_78wt_958 dress]] getting up to her usual mischief, skating, cycling, playing in the mud etc. the amount of comments we've had about how she might ruin it (its washes up well btw) is unreal. dd3 doesn't always act 'girly' (whatever that may mean) but is the dd with the most dresses in her wardrobe. she is also the most likely to be instigating water fights etc.

she is who she is, and I will embrace that. they are indiviuals, and should be treated as such.

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 21:29:00

Of course I can say no...but I don't need or want to. Wearing a pink dress today, will not turn her into a simpering drip tomorrow ffs.

misdee Tue 08-Oct-13 21:29:14
KaseyM Tue 08-Oct-13 21:42:10

Pictish, I think you're being a bit sensitive. No one is saying that wearing a pink dress will turn her into a simpering drip tomorrow.

FreshCucumber Tue 08-Oct-13 21:46:43

But pictish, would you also be happy to buy monters/guns/army stuff for a boy?

No one I think has said that girls can NOT wear any dresses or that they can't have pink stuff.
But one outfit so called 'girly' in a wardrobe is one thing. A wardrobe full of that stuff and more or less only that is another.

And no it won't transform her. But it will shape her beliefs as to what is OK to do.

blueberryupsidedown Tue 08-Oct-13 21:47:07

I think that when she is 8, she will think that pink is for babies and Little Ponies are for babies.

FreshCucumber Tue 08-Oct-13 21:49:53

misdee, you see I really like that dress and would no issue with that.

KaseyM Tue 08-Oct-13 21:52:35

The problem I have personally with clothes is for DS is that they are not colourful and always seem to have football or "I'm so much trouble" slogans which he doesn't like.

I think that girls have more freedom because it is more acceptable for a girl to wear a boy's t-shirt than for a boy to wear so-called "girly" colours.

misdee Tue 08-Oct-13 21:53:35

it is rather delicate looking dress. and really isn't a playing out dress. my only rule is wear when the weather is warm as its thin. it has survived the summer, so has been worth the £13 we paid for it in the spring smile

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 21:55:52

But the reason girls can wear boy things is that being a boy is basically aspirational. A boy being a girl is demeaning. Hence why there is no male version of tom boy (sissy is as close as it gets).

pictish Tue 08-Oct-13 21:58:49

Blueberry I agree. I am happy for her to enjoy this now, because it makes her quite happy, and it certainly won't last.

I have never bought Army themed stuff for my lads, no. They never wanted it.

Dd wears plenty of hand me downs from her brother actually. She's not perpetually in pink, or anywhere close to it. She just happens to prefer it at this stage, given the choice (which I don't always) and I think that's ok.

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 22:00:43

KaseyM - that's because it's okay for girls to aspire to being boys but boys would some how be lessened by being ' girly' . But people don't seem to realise that that's the message they're putting across.

KaseyM Tue 08-Oct-13 22:01:35

So true, Penguins.

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 22:01:46

KaseyM - that's because it's okay for girls to aspire to being boys but boys would some how be lessened by being ' girly' . But people don't seem to realise that that's the message they're putting across.

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 22:03:27

Sorry for the double post - took ages for it to appear then appeared twice ...

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 22:04:32

And penguins had said basically the same thing but better <gets coat>

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Tue 08-Oct-13 22:06:54

No. I think your addition was important. People don't see that that is what underlies it. They see female preferential treatment.

KaseyM Tue 08-Oct-13 22:12:19

smile @ WoT. I feel the same whenever a (male) friend of mine bangs on about women having doors opened for them as if it's some kind of goddess treatment!

Sorry... I realise that's a bit off-topic ....

WoTmania Tue 08-Oct-13 22:18:19

Urgh, the doors thing, yes because being treated like a fragile little petal is a privilege hmm .

FaddyPeony Tue 08-Oct-13 23:01:16

Pictish, just thinking again about your MIL's reaction and trying to deconstruct it.

Is there a chance that she does the eye-rolly thing about the fancy dresses and the tutu not really because they are so 'girly' but because they are slightly 'grand' or 'outlandish' for everyday wear? As in, in her day, tutus and glittery stuff (and their small-boy equivalents, capes and swords) would probably have been confined to the realm of the dressing-up box -- special occasion wear. So the eye-roll might be rooted in a kind of disapproval re. things not being 'proper' -- maybe she feels that children should know their place and dress appropriately and not get pandered to when they want to wear something 'unsuitable'? She probably has no clue that it the tutu costs £6, for example.

I just wonder because I've heard a few grandmothers friends of MIL grumble vaguely about this kind of thing but they don't quite know what they're grumbling about...because otherwise they love nice little dresses on their grandchildren, soft cardis, the works.

Could it be that?

comewinewithmoi Tue 08-Oct-13 23:06:06

I love pink .....so do my three daughters!!! Woohooo

tethersend Wed 09-Oct-13 13:54:55

I think we have to be careful- like it or not, (and I don't), in our society, pink and sparkly does signify 'girls'; pink in particular is used to denote gender.

In addition to this, there are activities traditionally associated with girls- hair plaiting, making daisy chains, skipping, handclapping etc.

What I am noticing more and more, particularly on MN, is a 'climbing trees' mentality- by this, I mean, climbing trees, getting messy and playing with trains is seen as the best form of play and something which all children should do. It is often used almost as a badge of honour by posters describing their DD's play. Where does this leave all the play traditionally associated with girls? Is getting muddy and climbing somehow better than skipping? Or do those activities have a higher status because they have been traditionally associated with boys?

I think we are in danger of inadvertently communicating the opposite message to the one we are trying to when combatting gender barriers: pink=girly and girly=bad.

We should not be encouraging our girls to eschew any form of play, colour or toy- instead we should be encouraging boys to play with pink sparkly things too.

20wkbaby Wed 09-Oct-13 14:00:23

I think the problem really lies with anything traditionally female being perceived as a 'lesser' thing. Being a mother, cooking (rather then being a chef), sewing etc. All things that are seen as 'female' and all arguably as useful as anything 'male' - they just traditionally have a lesser status.

Denigrating a love of pink, as so often happens, could easily send a message to little girls that their opinion doesn't matter. Little boys are just as likely to be influenced as girls so perhaps we should try and work on bringing them up to see the value in 'female' things.

There have been a couple of occasions where I have been shocked to see very young little boys displaying contemptuous behaviour towards little girls their age and younger and I wonder where that is heading in a few years time.

WoTmania Wed 09-Oct-13 14:36:48

tethers - I would say that is an argument made frequently on the FWR board (that rather than stopping girls from doing 'girly' things boys should be allowed to do both too. And it is a case of allowing as many parents/Gparents try and steer their boys away from the 'girl' toys) but unfortunately it's not accepted in many other places.

WoTmania Wed 09-Oct-13 14:40:16

Interestingly I also have two boys and a girl and have definitely noticed a difference in the toys DD is given by relatives and different behaviour expectations. DD isn't overly pinkified but she's definitely been pushed towards it by other people and has had access to it in a way my DSs haven't (well, apart from from me)

pictish Wed 09-Oct-13 16:07:05

Tethersend I could not agree with you more!!

FreshCucumber Wed 09-Oct-13 17:58:47

Tether I think you have explained much better than me what I am trying to do with my boys.
Instead of focusing on 'protecting' girls and women to get equality, I want to teach my boys what being equal means and that starts with the fact doing 'girly' things such as cooking is a good thing to do.
And also for me to avoid vying into the 'boys are strong' paradigm.

FloraFox Wed 09-Oct-13 18:04:09

tether "It is often used almost as a badge of honour by posters describing their DD's play."

If you're talking about FWR, I would say not more so than that DSs play with dolls, reject guns etc. Feminists challenging culturally-imposed sex-based stereotypes which, relation to toys and childhood, are getting worse. Who'da thunk it?

grimbletart Wed 09-Oct-13 18:19:18

I believe that as girls and women are getting more independent, free and able to choose their lifestyle the stereotypes have got stronger. It was hardly there when I was a child, not bad when my DCs were little (they are now in their 40s) and, to my mind, pretty horrific now. It's not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with pink (it's just a colour) or camouflage (for boys for that matter) is just the sheer amount of the stuff in many stores and the way slogans on e.g. T-shirts are directed in a sex specific way. Even toddlers' books are coming in pink or blue covers FFS.

It's almost as if there is a backlash against children just being children and society (or more probably marketing) deciding it's time we put girls (who are getting far too uppity for their good) and boys back into their boxes.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 09-Oct-13 18:37:18

TBH I'm not sure that it was deliberately driven by an anti-feminist agenda - just that we live in a more consumer-driven society with (up till relatively recently) credit/excess income that allowed people to buy toys in pink and blue, lots of impractical/'fun' clothes rather than what a kid needed (if s/he wasn't mainly clothed in hand-me-downs anyway).

FreshCucumber Wed 09-Oct-13 18:52:33

The thing with marketing is that it is in their interest to do gender specific stuff. It does put consumers into boxes very early on and these consumers are then much easier to talk to because they are so stereotyped.

And tbh it's working. Everything is getting gender specific, not just with children but also with adults.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 09-Oct-13 18:58:54

The Radio4 comedy on at the moment is Bridget Christie who was just now satirizing bic's biros specially designed for women. Catch it on Listen Again.

WoTmania Wed 09-Oct-13 19:02:45

I've just finished listening to her too Errol (was coming to post on here, again, about a R4 programme) she was brilliant.

FloraFox Wed 09-Oct-13 19:39:28

Making everything pink or blue also makes it more difficult for families to reuse or hand me down clothes or toys from boys to girls or vice versa. Most families are smaller now and could very conceivably only buy one set of most stuff and reuse most of it. There are lots more selling opportunities if everything is divided into "for boys" or "for girls". This is expanding into things kids don't even interact with like pushchairs and nursery furniture, all of which would "need" to be replaced if DC2 is the other sex.

BasilBabyEater Wed 09-Oct-13 22:18:23
WhentheRed Wed 09-Oct-13 22:31:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Janet12345 Wed 09-Oct-13 23:28:27

I say let her follow her heart and go with whatever she likes to wear smile

Although I do agree with bonsoir's first post.

FloraFox Wed 09-Oct-13 23:37:48

Weren't you advocating banning gossip mags on another thread? hmm

5madthings Thu 10-Oct-13 00:03:51

If she was that is relevant how exactly?

Pictish you know how I feel on this issue, the whole girl/boy divide in otys, clothing etc really pisses me off!

The kinder egg thread is relevant to this, some of us trying tlk explain how oi think this culture of pink/blue is actually damaging to our children, stereotypingy them and putting them in a box, as you know my ds3 likes all things pink, purple, sparkly and fairies, he still plays with them etc and wears his purple t shirts etc but he has def moderated himself and even tried to make himself play football etc as he feels the need to fit in. Thankfully he has a few good friends who are not 'stereotypical' boys iykwim and he so freidns with lots of girls as well, but as heahs got older its been a niggly issue and he knows we think the gender marketing etc is crap but like most children he wants to 'fit in'.

Ds4 at five is has very muched swalowed the whole pink is for girls and will say that so girly or that is for boys, despite us telling him NO that is not the case, it started at pre school but def by the end of reception he had got the pink/blue message loud and clear sad dp thankfully agrees with me and the other evening when ds4 kicked up a fuss about having a 'girly' plate at dinner time, he made a point of using a pink, flowery plate himself (those plastic kids plates, we had some nice rainbow ones but mil bought pink, flowery ones for dd...)

My dd is too young to be bothered to much by clothes but she has recently got really into dolls and carries one about with her and there have been lots of comments about how she is 'such a girl'..no she is a toddler, who likes dinosaurs amns train track and dolls and crafty stuff, very similar to her brothers at that age, but so many people have said to me how girls innately like dolls. It will be interesting to see how her own taste and choices develop as she gets older, I get comments from how she will be a 'tomboy' as she aha four brothers, to people saying she will be a real 'girly girl' for the same reason.

Pink/sparkly etc is fine but it needs to be fine for boys as well! Yet time and again on mnet you get posters asking as they a re concerned their five yr old son wants a 'girly' bag or lunch box and poster say encourage him to have something diff so he doesn't get picked on etc, and we should not let them like it or steer them in other directions so they don't get bullied... NOO we need to deal with the bullying.

It baffles me that at a time where we have equality laws and we are supposedly moving forward and vale equality ie in the workforce etc we have actually gone backwards with regards to our children and these outdated stereotypes are being reinforced on our children more than they ever have been. It's got worse since I had ds1 (14) there was not so much of the pink/blue divide when he was little.

I guess you keep on as you are, letting her k ow she can choose and giving her a variety of choice and making sure as she gets older she understands your views.

Spiritedwolf Thu 10-Oct-13 01:30:58

Right pink dinosaurs we can do, certainly in the states and for a bit more money than I'd like to spend, but they do exist, maybe there are UK sites like this one? http://www.amightygirl.com/clothing?clothing_themes=156

I'd personally not get the "Girls Like Dinosaurs Too" one myself because its a bit about making a point rather than just having a pink dinosaur but there are others.

I loved dinosaurs as a child, I loved all kinds of animals. I find it a bit weird that bugs/dogs/dinosaurs apparently for boys, and butterflies/cats/owls for girls. Meh, I like them all and I'm certainly going to encourage my child/ren to as well.

My DS is just small (14 months) but I try to think about these issues now to best support him in a variety of interests and to let him choose from as many colours as possible. smile

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 08:33:40

I agree with tethersend and others who suggest the problem lies largely (on MN and in RL tbh) in that "conventionally female" products and activities are seen as "lesser" (*20wkbaby*).

Also, the consumerism thing is true IMHO. Retailers can sell mo of a doll/ kitchen/ BBQ if there are two versions (pink and blue) of the same thing.
It's a tough one for parents (well, for me anyway) because it is complex. And I think the fact that I am an older mum (in my 40s) means I'm possibly more influenced by the old fashioned ideals of the 70s.
My DS is older than my DD. she wears lots of his clothes. Some ppl have remarked how it's ok "that way round" but that if if he had come second, it we, it wouldn't be ok for him to wear her old clothes. I find myself both agreeing with and being troubled by these statements.
So much of this is about "choosing" from the available. I am prty "feminine" My clothes are definitely a woman's clothes but I don't wear pink jeans and pink coats. I don't have a pink car or a pink televisioj.
I think there's a real difference between a sparkly pink party dress or tutu and a pink law mower (well, apart from the obvious, that they are different things entirely). Some things a sort of meant to be sparkly and pink.
Anyway I am waffling. Sorry.
We can only choose from what's available. And also, my DCs are a bit young to choose freely in a shop (although ds has chosen a pink car as his favourite recently, which was fine of course) It would take some real deliberate determination to go to the girl section to pick him out some clothes to choose from, and vice versa for my dd.
I admit that when I see a little girl who is always and entirely deluged with pink, all the time and seems unable to have anything that is not pink I do find it a bit.... Contrived? Icky? I don't know. It doesn't sit well with me. Because I don't truly believe that all those things are her choice, other than her choosing to choose the girly thing.
A pink and glittery BBQ is in some ways "lesser" than a grey or black BBQ because it sort of says "this is for a girl, it needs to pretty"
<befuddles self>

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 08:34:34

Oh, and please could someone recommend some powerful princess type stories I can introduce my DCs to?

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Oct-13 09:28:06

Zog by Julia Donaldson has the princess becoming a dragon doctor, and refusing to be rescued.

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 09:38:56

Thanks noblegiraffe

pictish Thu 10-Oct-13 09:47:03

The Paper Bag Princess. Zog and The Worst Princess are all good empowering story books.

5Mad - I agree entirely. I think it is dreadful shame that boys are not encouraged to indulge sparkle and fancy and shake off tradionally boy expectations, in the way that girls are urged to shake off traditionally girl things. It is most definitely the case to my mind, that the pinker side of life has become somewhat of a taboo. That is why I started this thread.

I thought equality was supposed to be about choice, not social trends.

FloraFox Thu 10-Oct-13 10:07:23

I don't think women's liberation is about equality or choice.

Equality is false if (e.g.) equality is about sameness which leads to women should not get maternity leave because men don't get it or "why can't I punch a woman if I can punch a man?".

Choice is false because it is constrained by our cultural, social and personal expectations and obligations.

We make choices based on what is presented to us (pink vs. blue for kids) and also based on things outside our personal benefit, particularly when it comes to our children and family.

pictish this thread annoys me because I don't think we're necessarily that different in thinking that children should be free to be themselves but you seem to be positing that feminists/feminism is the problem and can't accept that.

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 10:07:42

Thanks pictish
<adds books to list>

pictish Thu 10-Oct-13 10:09:08

but you seem to be positing that feminists/feminism is the problem

Do I? Where?

FloraFox Thu 10-Oct-13 10:13:53

In your OP you say: "I sometimes wonder if, in the quest for equality, we sometimes go too far the other way, and heap scorn upon girls who want to be girly?"

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 10:17:17

Zog is brilliant. "Dont' rescue me, I won't go back, to being a princess. And prancing round the palace in a silly frilly dress." Not because there's anything wrong with the frilly dress, but because she wants to be a doctor .

5madthings Thu 10-Oct-13 10:18:44

I don't think Pictishis blaming feminism, and I have picked up on the same feeling that pink/sparkly etc is to be sneered at. And there is a 'my girl likes...(anything precoeved as male) to be good attitude.
The pink princess cultireis derided, people complain about 'pinkification' and there is the pinkstinks campaign etc.

I don't actually like pink that much ,myself and we I had dd (after four boys) I made it clear I did not want to be inundated by pink! Dd does wear some pink and so does ds3! But we dotn have many pink toys tbf, we do have my little ponies actually, gifted by a friend as her dd had outgrown them. And I a sure as my dd gets older she will make her own choices. But I get lots of comments still about how my house will now end up filled with "pink tat"(not my words) etc and there is a general feeling that all things pink are seen as less than and inferior. Hence why its not OK for boys to like them.

I would say that lots of toddlers naturally like pink and sparkles, the magpie effect but then its conditioned out of boys, girls carry on with it, hell its hard to avoid! But it is not seen as a positive thing, but it is seen as positive for a girl to like 'boy' things.and then the converse is true that its not OK for a boy to like girls things.

See the thread entitled 'booby barbie' re a swimming teacher giving boys a barbie doll as the booby prize of they are bad at swimming...

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 10:26:14

Hmmm, see I moan about 'pink tat' for my girls. But in two specific regards:

1. There is a certain strand of retail which thinks you can make a product as badly, as insubstantially, as shonkily as you like, but if you stick a princess on the front you'll be fine. That annoys me.

2. The assumption by certain female relatives that, if it is pink and princessey it is perfect for a girl. Any girl. Mine don't much mind if a rucksack is pink with princesses, but they aren't into princesses. Dressing up outfits are a waste of everyone's money. But somehow it is assumed that, it is pink and covered in princesses, it is the perfect present for any girl.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 10:29:05

Sorry, there is a third point. In some ways, a pink-ified product is often worse for being pink.

A pink globe is bloody ridiculous. The boys get blue, green, brown. You know a globe. The girl version is a fake pink globe. To me, that product has been made worse by pinkifying it.

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 10:42:09

Yes penguins I agree with that.
It's the fake girlyfying of things that I don't like (I think). Which is (IMO) all about: a. Selling more stuff and b. saying that being a girl is about being decorative.
My DM bought my DS that "stories for boys" book when he was tiny. I was a bit hmm and then I read it and it was great and terrible at the same time. The knights were better than the princess stories I had as a child. There was a sense of adventure and self determinism (possibly not an accurate historical depiction) about the knights rather than the "waiting to be rescued" activities of a princess (young girl) or bitter twisted old witch (older/ past it woman) options for females in fiction.
So I am really pleased to have these other options now for my DCs. I will get them for DS so he can set the standard for miniature feminists in our home. Then read them to DD too.

Spiritedwolf Thu 10-Oct-13 11:54:45

I own a pink toolset. It was given to me by my parents or perhaps stolen borrowed from their house at some point, I can't quite remember. If I had been buying a household tool set for myself it wouldn't have occured to me to buy pink as its not a colour I prefer, and I resent the implication that girls need things to be pink to use them.

That said, I blooming well use the toolkit as I am the person in this house who likes to diy (DH not interested) and its what we have. Some of the tools are a bit rubbish - the level for instance, but the hammer and screwdriver are really good. I don't think it a little bit rubbish because its a pink one, its just the price range its in. I now have bought myself a (green) drill and other bits and pieces.

I can't decide if I'm annoyed that they make pink tools for ladies, or whether its a shame that 'serious' tools come in so few colours.

pictish Thu 10-Oct-13 12:59:10

In your OP you say: "I sometimes wonder if, in the quest for equality, we sometimes go too far the other way, and heap scorn upon girls who want to be girly?"

Yeah...it was a general comment. The generic 'we'. It wasn't aimed at feminists or feminism.

My dd used to love pink, sparkly, girly stuff. She grew out of it (encouraged by me!) at about age 6 and is now (age 8)very anti-girly stuff and very aware of her right/ability to do anything boys do. I'm glad that phase has gone, and proud that she already has that assertiveness, but I sort of feel a little guilty about the fact that I nudged her quite vigorously in one direction.

BasilBabyEater Thu 10-Oct-13 15:45:01

I think the phrase "too far the other way" is never going to be positively received tbh. It smacks of "it's all gorn too far..." And earlier on in the thread there was a really unpleasant sneery tone (possibly not from you Pictish, I can't be arsed to go back and see who from and I don't think that would be a particularly constructive/ interesting thing to do anyway as I'm not interested in personalising this sort of stuff) which implied that nasty feminist mothers are denying their DD's the chance to be themselves while those who glory in their DD's pinkness, are much better mothers because they're accepting their DD's real selves. It disgusted me tbh.

Feminist mothers are incredibly conscious of how limited the prescribed gender norms are for both their sons and their daughters. In my case, particularly for their sons actually - I personally have found that my DD has more opportunities for self-expression than my DS, precisely because a girl who does "boy's" stuff trades up, while a boy who does "girl's" stuff trades down and gets laughed at or actually bullied, because girl's stuff is shit, because girls are shit. I remember my uncle (OK he's an arse) demanding that I hide a toy ironing board from DS when he was about 2, presumably because he thought he might "catch the gay" or something hmm. Wanker. So when goady posts imply that anyone feminist is somehow denying their child self-expression when actually it's the people around us who gender-police our DC's - and particularly our boy's - behaviour most, it is incredibly offensive. Just putting that out there in case anyone might is interested in finding out how they might inadvertently offend someone without meaning to.

Having said that, I do think there's an issue with the shitting on girl's stuff - I have a slight problem with the pink stinks campaign because although I agree with its aims, the immediate tone of it is that girl's stuff is shit - you have to look a little deeper to see that that's not what they're saying, but most people don't look further than the headlines.

And also Penguins is right - there are some instances where pinkifying something is making it shit, also-ran, othering - the real mccoy is not pink and the real mccoy isn't for little girls, here, look, have this second-class pink version.

But I agree with Spiritedwolf as well - there is no reason tools shouldn't be made with pink handles - or red, purple, turquoise with flowers on etc. But why aren't they marketed at men when they are?

BasilBabyEater Thu 10-Oct-13 15:45:18

Oops, sorry for the essay

mysticminstrel Thu 10-Oct-13 15:51:04

My Mum raised me like this - wouldn't let me have dolls, Barbies, wear pink, I hardly had any dresses.

Did it affect me? I think it fundamentally undermined my feelings of feminitity, actually. Being told all the time that I shouldn't try to look 'nice' meant that I still feel stupid now when I get dressed up.

My DDs are allowed as much pink princessy stuff as they fancy - one embraces it, the other couldn't care less. I see it as a passing stage, tbh.

I won't buy them Barbies though!

SinisterSal Thu 10-Oct-13 15:53:10

Becuase tools are serious men's stuff for getting the job done, not not silly girls posing and giggling and making a bit of a stab at it. fair play to them for trying!
They don't make ironing boards in dark steel with chrome finishes with Crease Beast written on them either.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-13 16:09:39

>I won't buy them Barbies though!

someone else is bound to buy some for them - just wait till they have birthday parties aged 4/5/6.

SinisterSal Thu 10-Oct-13 16:19:01

Not buying them Barbies is the same kind of thing though Mystic

I don't deny my kids anything. I just don't join in the chorus pushing them at them, family and friends will do all that. In much the same way I don't buy sweets, plenty of relatives will so they are not deprived. they will get enough opportunities from the world at large to indulge their tastes for pink sparkes and chocolate

Grim humourless mummy gives them the opportunity to indulge their hankerings for broccolli and worthy ecofriendly sustainable wood gender neutral brain development toys.

mysticminstrel Thu 10-Oct-13 16:23:34

I don't care if someone else buys them Barbies, I'm just not spending my money on that tat - same as I won't buy them 'doggy doo' even though they've been asking for 18 months grin

WoTmania Thu 10-Oct-13 16:30:42

'My Mum raised me like this - wouldn't let me have dolls, Barbies, wear pink, I hardly had any dresses.' Where is anyone advocating that on this thread (or on the FWR board?)?
All that I'm seeing from the 'usuals' of FWR is: let's treat all of our children equally. Let's tell girls and boys that they are as good as each other. No one, so far has said 'ban them from having pink clothes, barbies, dolls and dress and force them to climb trees'

MomentForLife Thu 10-Oct-13 16:31:09

I have a 5 year old pink princess. She used to be obsessed with Thomas. Yes tv probably has influenced her a bit, but she does have other interest and used to go to foootball training.

I've embraced what she likes but she definately doesn't get it from me. She doesn't wear much pink because she chooses clothes that are like Mummy.lol.

I am just pleased she still likes toys really, some kids we know are only interested in computer games.

mysticminstrel Thu 10-Oct-13 16:31:27

hmm where did I say anyone was advocating doing that, WoTmania? confused

WoTmania Thu 10-Oct-13 16:35:27

sorry, left off the last bit: it's not saying deny them certain toys/colours but allow girls and boys access to all the toys and books and games.

WoTmania Thu 10-Oct-13 16:36:33

That's how I read your first sentence (the one I quoted).

mysticminstrel Thu 10-Oct-13 16:37:38

Um, why did you read it like that? I was relating an experience - not commenting on anything the 'usuals' on FWR (whoever they are?) have said.

Not sure why you launched into that, actually.

pictish Thu 10-Oct-13 16:39:09

I'm not sure why anyone is taking this thread as an attack on feminism really.

mysticminstrel Thu 10-Oct-13 16:42:29

Me neither, Pictish, all seems a bit touchy round these parts.

Ironically - I hadn't even bothered to read the thread and was only responding to the OP, which makes it doubly amusing that I was apparently commenting any anything the FWR 'usuals' had said.

I'm buggering off back to Style and Beauty before I get a bollocking here though!

WoTmania Thu 10-Oct-13 16:45:21

I think we're probably talking at complete cross purposes: you said that 'that' was how your mother raised you - i.e not being allowed those things in a way that seemed to say it was detrimental and I read it as saying that other posters on here were advocating it and you disagreed with it.
I didn't 'launch' into anything - just queried it based on my interpretation.

WhentheRed Thu 10-Oct-13 16:47:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think bonsoir is posting as bonsoir likes to post.

But I didn't take pictish as heaping blame on feminists, possibly because I think I have had similar experiences to her and my mum is probably quite like her MIL. My mum would not call herself a feminist, she is one of those 'oh, but really it's all pretty equal now' types and she would see it as part of that, that she'd mock 'girliness' and 'pinkification'.

It is a problem - not because it's bad for women to be equal (!), but because mocking stereotypically feminine things isn't really helping.

BasilBabyEater Thu 10-Oct-13 16:54:22

Well I made an attempt to explain why Pictish.

Anyway, moving on, I think one thing to be borne in mind is that lots of "boys' toys" actually teach more highly regarded life skills than those taught by "girls' toys".

There's been quite a bit of evidence to suggest that boys' toys teach more hand-eye co-ordination, problem solving skills, spatial awareness, maths skills etc., while girls' toys teach story telling, role play etc. So when they get to school, guess what? The skills that many of them have developed, conform to gender stereotypes, leading teachers and parents to declare that "it's just naycher innit, it's there even when they're 5 and haven't had time to be indoctrinated (er... hmm)". And they don't make the connection that guess what, they've already had 5 whole years, a number of life-stages in the life of a child, having their skills developed by the toys they're given and the behaviour they're socialised towards. The adults then put it down to inherent ability (blue brain, pink brain) and as they get older unconsciously nudge them towards the subjects they're good at, believing that they're good at them because of inherent ability, not because of having been socialised into being good at them.

That's far more of a problem than what colour they are IMO.

pictish Thu 10-Oct-13 16:55:47

Ok well...the third comment down which is mine, was referring to Bonsoir saying

"It is more than fine for your DD to enjoy being a girl and woman."

To which I replied 'that is what I think Bonsoir, and I agree". I didn't say it in response to her comment on feminists on MN.
Just to clarify.

BasilBabyEater Thu 10-Oct-13 16:56:08

Sorry, what colour the toys are to be clear.

I think maybe others read that (and I did too) as you agree with her that MN has a distasteful strand of radical feminism.

But I am probably reacting to the usual clever stirring-stick option Bonsoir takes.

BasilBabyEater Thu 10-Oct-13 17:05:11

Yep that's how I read it.

It was a bit of an unfortunate start to the thread.

But we're past that now, aren't we? grin

5madthings Thu 10-Oct-13 17:08:30

basil its not that the color is a problem, its that the colors signify girl/boy and then children won't play with stuff that is seen as for the 'wrong' gender. And I think girls at least can get away with playing with 'boys' stuff and it is seen as OK or even a good thing when they do. Yet a boy who plays with 'girls' stuff is often ridiculed, likely to be teased.

5madthings Thu 10-Oct-13 17:09:07

Bloody autocorrect defaulting to american spelling...I need to change that in my settings..

5madthings Thu 10-Oct-13 17:10:03

And I can see the confusion over your reply to bonsoir

SatinSandals Thu 10-Oct-13 17:21:41

If you stop them having a free choice, and impose your ideas, you are only going to make the pink etc far more desirable. Much better to let them work through it. I know some women who are OTT 'girly' purely because they were denied it when young.

DalekInAFestiveJumper Thu 10-Oct-13 17:37:36

On a side note, does she watch the My Little Pony tv show? One of the ongoing themes of said show is that there are many ways to be a girl, and that as long as you're a good person, all of those ways are equally good. It's good stuff.

WhentheRed Thu 10-Oct-13 17:38:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 10-Oct-13 17:45:11

Yes, yes WhentheRed. I was ranting earlier on this thread about how 'girly' - which, when you think about it can only mean 'like a girl' - means a girl who likes pink and sparkles and princesses and dolls. My girls are just as much girls whether they like trains or dolls and I really resent language telling me that they aren't.

Liking pink should mean liking pink, not 'being girly'. Tom boy gives me the rage even worse. DD1 is not a pretend fucking boy. She is a girl.

It's a circular process though, isn't it?

At the moment, a little girl has to grow up in the world we have. If you do what my mum did, and say 'you don't like pink! Pink is bad!' you are effectively teaching that little girl that what everyone else associates with being a girl, is bad.

I think it also depends how men in our lives act (well, duh, I know). But I've seen my friend's little girl's dad explain seriously that daddy's favourite colour now has to be pink, and daddy is completely happy wearing the sparkly tiara.

That's a dad who is making it easy for his daughter to enjoy what she enjoys, without making gendered connections.

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 18:23:25

I don't like the term "tomboy".
It's all a bit "George - out - of - The Famous Five" hated being thought of as "like a girl" because she was "just as good as a boy"
So where does that leave poor Anne? Hmm?

ThisIsMeToo Thu 10-Oct-13 18:39:08

The reality is that treating our dcs in the same way is very very hard. There is so much that is coming out from our own attitude, wo even realizing. The fact that we are insisting perhaps that little bit more on how pretty a little girl is with a costume or how clever a little boy is for climbing on the top of the frame.
On the other side, a little girl in my family has never being 'allowed' to be a girl. She has 3 brothers, two of which are older and canbe bossy. She had her brother's toys to

SinisterSal Thu 10-Oct-13 18:45:10

It leaves poor Anne washing up, iirc

ThisIsMeToo Thu 10-Oct-13 18:47:10

Sorry ...
She had her brothers' toys to play with but no dolls etc 'because she doesn't like them' (well she never had the choice !). As a toddler and young child, she had hand me downs from her brothers but no skirts etc because she doesn't like them and it will be impractical to play out in the garden.
She was never given the opportunity to be different from her dbs. And she certainly struggled with it as she doesn't 'fit' and her mum despairs she is a tomboy...

You can't have it both ways. Girls need to be let to be girls but not the weak female version that we are all sold. Not the one that needs her dinosaur to be pink if she wants one.
But one who is happy to wear a dress, run around in a garden, go and do some DIY with daddy and some cooking with mummy (or even better some cooking with daddy and some DIY with mummy)

LadyRainicorn Thu 10-Oct-13 18:58:23

I need a crease beast. Sounds swanky.

I can't say what I want to on mlp because I love the show and want to rant about the horror that is the movie they made of the back of it.

I agree that the general feeling is pink=girly=lesser. It's a shame. I think it links in with the devaluing of work traditionally associated with woman - cleaning, caring.

I would like one day for people to be able to choose what they like, for them, and for the only judgement to be - did they do it well? Is the person concerned happy?

I'd like that day to be today. I'll keep hoping and acting like it will be.

Coupon Thu 10-Oct-13 22:23:38

I don't like the word "tomboy" either. A girl who enjoys toy trucks and football isn't "like a boy", she's a girl who likes those things which are in fact just as much for girls as they are for boys.

Threalamandaclarke Fri 11-Oct-13 06:24:03

Please may I be excused from DIY? grin

20wkbaby Fri 11-Oct-13 08:34:20

Thinking about it we should all take a leaf from the books of 3/4/5 year old girls who worship pink precisely because they identify it as a girls' thing - they certainly don't see it as frivolous and silly - until we or someone else teaches them otherwise.

I truly believe that whatever influences your child is subject to the ones that come from family - mainly parents - are the ones that really 'stick'.

If my daughter shows a preference for anything - other than swearing, being unkind, refusing food without trying etc etc - I try and be supportive and applaud her choice. She needs to know her choice matters and she has a right to it no matter who tries to deny it to her.

Ev1lEdna Fri 11-Oct-13 09:42:02

It is a choice. I am a feminist (I would say hardline) who happens to like nail varnish and glittery nail varnish in particular, however I have a number of other interests.

I agree with the other posters, it isn't about curtailing her freedom to choose but questioning the choice retailers and marketing allow for girls (all girls). If she likes that then so be it, she like a lot of girls enjoy the 'girliness.' The problem occurs when another girl doesn't WANT to wear pink or be a princess and prefers a science set to a baby doll and is scorned for it. The problem is when boys WANT the pink lunch box or to play with the dollhouse and is subject to ridicule because pink is a 'girl colour'.

I have no issue with children choosing to like what they want, my issue is when they are forced to like a certain interest/colour/toy becasue society (and most likely marketing people) dictate that they SHOULD.

So let your girl revel in the pink - it doesn't mean she will grow up with a princess complex - like someone else said upthread read her books where girls take the lead, where they can wear pink and still adventure and be boss and discover things. I'm sure she is quite capable of asserting herself in a tutu and glittery shoes. wink

pictish Fri 11-Oct-13 09:48:23

So let your girl revel in the pink - it doesn't mean she will grow up with a princess complex - like someone else said upthread read her books where girls take the lead, where they can wear pink and still adventure and be boss and discover things. I'm sure she is quite capable of asserting herself in a tutu and glittery shoes.

Yes indeed. That is exactly how I feel about it. I DO buy empowering story books (I make a point of it actually), and am determined that my daughter should be assertive and capable, and confident in making her own choices, unmolested by the expectations of society owing to her gender. She can do all of that in whatever clothes she likes.

78bunion Fri 11-Oct-13 09:48:36

Indeed. I am a feminist too and the important issue is not to curtail choice. Our oldest was just married, beautiful dress etc. She knows that what I value is what is inside and not surprisingly she is very fit, on nearly £100k, sees women's careers as important, does loads of physical things and has a nice rounded happy life.

That did not preclude her looking how she wanted to look on her wedding day, although even there we had important feminist elements - female speaker, no being walked down the aisle, no asking for permission to marry her. I am absolutely delighted at what has emerged from her feminist upbringing.

Ev1lEdna Fri 11-Oct-13 10:26:37

pictish I just bought my friend's daughters a book I read to my boys called 'Who's a Clever Girl Then?' by Rose Impey. It is out of print but you can get it for a penny plus postage (so £2.81) on Amazon. I love it because it is about pirates kidnapping the young girl to do all the sewing, cooking and cleaning on the ship and she refuses and just takes over becoming captain. I read it to my boys because I think the message is a good one for them too! grin I strongly recommend it.

pictish Fri 11-Oct-13 11:16:30

Sounds good - will deffo check it out!

Threalamandaclarke Fri 11-Oct-13 12:22:21

Ooh. I have just been to the library and picked up "Zog" and "the paper bag princess" can't wait to read them to DCs tonight.

improveprofy Sat 12-Oct-13 01:36:08

You might not have gender stereotyped, but I bet she picks up on the stereotyping at school from other pupils who have been fed gender stereotypes

Threalamandaclarke Sat 12-Oct-13 06:43:22

It's unavoidable IMO.
Gender differences in behaviour are seen in children as young as six months. Arguably a mix of biological/ inate differences and (even subconscious) socialisation.
I personally think it's ok to celebrate these differences. But I also thin it's important to appreciate that we've influenced some of them, that some are contrived and some even need to be challenged in order for our daughters and sons to experience fairness (for want of a better word).

So when primary teachers tell us that all the boys do play with cars and all the girls do play with the dolls, this should be understood within the context of early socialisation(as someone else said here).
Also, it 's important to attribute value to all these different qualities. (competitiveness/ nurturing etc.)

I was intested to read the comment above about the differences in toys, with those that are conventionally boy's toys actually being more developmentally 'useful' and I'm keen to encourage friends and family to help us not pigeonhole my DCs too much with gift choices.

pictish Sat 12-Oct-13 08:29:39

Improveprofy - there is no doubt about that. What would you have me do anout it. other than what I am...which is to educate her in choice?

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