Friday, December 23, 2011

Princess Wars

So, this morning I read this article, regarding daughters and gifts

I have to say that I’m pretty torn on this topic.  While I consciously choose to buy “gender neutral” toys (I’ll discuss more on that definition later on), I don’t like the idea of withholding gifts that I might not choose.  Maybe it’s just because I haven’t actually been given anything I wouldn’t necessarily want Miss A to have (except maybe that giant dog her great-grandmother got her for Christmas….but that’s entirely because the dog seems bigger than my living room).  And maybe it’s because I grew up as a Barbie fanatic.  The thing I loved most about my Barbie’s was dressing them up, doing their hair, etc.  I knew they had boobs.  But I didn’t know they had “big boobs.”  Or maybe I did but didn’t really care?  And, not all of my Barbie’s were blonde.  And I had at least one Ken that I could remember too.  I don’t recall idolizing her as a woman – she was a toy doll I enjoyed to play pretend with.  That’s it.  I didn’t go to bed dreaming to be like her.  I mostly went to bed dreaming to be like Ariel in the Little Mermaid swimming in the ocean. 

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I do try to choose things that are gender neutral – and by gender neutral, I typically mean in color only.  So I look for things that are bright colored, with a variety of color.  For instance, Santa is bringing Miss A a play kitchen.  I didn’t want to get her a pink kitchen because, first off, pink is horrendous, and second, kitchens in real life aren’t pink.  And, if we have a boy the second time around, while I don’t care if he likes pink things, I don’t want him to feel like he can’t play with it because it is pink.  Regardless of what we will try to teach our kids, there will be a lot of outside influences on them, and at some point, they will learn pink = girls, blue = boys, whether we want them to or not.  And, when it comes to things that tend to be gender specific by nature (dolls vs. trucks), all I can do is let Miss A have equal exposure to all types of toys, and let her decide what her preferences are.  I don’t feel like I ought to limit her choices or exposure to different types of toys.  I mean, they’re just toys!  And while this may sound contradictory, there will be limits – like if something is not age appropriate and potentially dangerous, or if say she does get a doll or any sort which is dressed totally risqué (which, may not be farfetched these days), then I may intervene.  If she’s old enough, we’ll have a conversation about it.  But just because I may have preferred she got a wooden puzzle over a plastic Barbie doll doesn’t mean she can’t still engage in meaningful play.  I mean, I loved my Barbie’s and I wanted to be a princess.  But, I grew up.  And while I am a blonde with big boobs, that’s purely a genetic coincidence.  But I certainly didn’t let that define me and tell me to be a ditzy bimbo with a sugar daddy.  If anything, I’ve had to work HARDER to be where I am because, you know, pretty girls can’t be smart.  *eyeroll*  But, that’s a topic for another day…  

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