Monday, July 26, 2010

the aspirations we have for our little girls... depressing

Girls book of Glamour. A Guide to being a godess..
(Girl in the tub scrubbing her dainty, surely 'fiercely' polished toes...)

The Boys Book of Greatness, how you can be the best at everything... (boy playing hockey)

This in the tween section at Target.

Ugh. This makes me crazy, but doesn't surprise. Anyone who has been shopping in the traditional toy stores see "girls" items: dress-up princess clothes, "heel-highs" as M calls them, slutty looking dolls, make-up kits, spa-play, tiny compact mirrors, cell-phones. The most active her make-believe roles might get is to make-over animals at the puppy salon, or be a contestant on American Idol...

I am out of town... Will try to reply to comments when I get back...

Boys on the other hand can be fire-men, police, work in construction, sports, rockets, etc. (OK, so there isn't really the accountant or MBA action figure, but their roles and fantasy lives are not encouraged to be based solely on their looks and outer appearance.)

It seems to be getting worse, it seems unstoppable. It makes me sad. It makes sense that most tween girls are dieting when they have been fed a steady intake of body-image damaging and distorting garbage from birth it seems... Sorry for the rant.


  1. When I was taking a sociology class, one of the studies we learned about involving gender roles was about just how early society, people the child knows and even their parents will subconsciously start treating kids differently based on their gender.

    The subjects were 18-month-old babies and their mothers. The people doing the study saw a definitive pattern: at 18 months, mothers already let male children play more independently, go further away to explore, hold new things for longer, make louder sounds before they would be reprimanded, and be 'rougher' with things while mothers were already keeping their girls much closer, shushing them for 'being loud' much earlier, chastising them for being rough long before boys would have been... it was pretty enlightening. From birth people also start up the "Your girl is so PRETTY" vs. "Your boy is so strong!"

    Kids pick up on that pretty early and will work really hard to fit the gender roles that society appears to be assigning them. It can be pretty rough. There's a lot of little girls out there that start hating themselves way too young because the message they're being sent is that there is never going to be a way to be delicate, feminine, skinny, or quiet enough.

    I think the best a parent can really do is to be living proof that that isn't the only way to live, and encourage their kid to be whoever they want to be, whenever they want. A lot of girls go through the puberty gauntlet (when all this stuff is at its worst) and come out the other side, but a lot of girls don't, and I think support networks have a lot to do with it.

  2. Yes, it sucks. It does seem worse than when I was a kid in the 80s, but I could be wrong. Thanks for speaking up.

  3. My daughter, despite our best efforts at providing toys from both the "girl" and "boy" categories, is a girly-girl. She loves tutus, ballet, playing endlessly with dolls, and--argh!--everything princess. The princess thing is relentless, Disney has tie-ins to every conceivable product. Princess stickers, books, clocks, backpacks, lipsticks, toys, face-paint, stationery, dishes,'s endless! I can feel my mother, who marched for equal rights in the 60s and 70s and was involved with the ERA movement until her death, rolling in her grave.

    The day, not so long ago, when my daughter decided that Wonder Woman was cooler than Cinderella was seriously one of the best days of my life. Even in a hoochie outfit (which I heard has just been updated to something much more appropriate) Wonder Woman is so much more empowered than any princess. Bullet-deflecting bracelets! Truth-inducing lasso! Cool invisible jet (that strangely doesn't make the pilot invisible)! Awesome!

    In spite of my memories of my own father drooling over Linda Carter in the TV show, I'm sure my mother would approve of this change.