She Can Wear Blue Too.

We found out on Monday that we're having a girl. A baby girl. Holy shit. It's a girl. And then I got excited and thought about all the different things I could do to her room. This is so going to be fun. After telling the West Coast grandparents, I went onto my registries to add a few more clothing items - that's when I realized as soon as you type in or search "girl," everything comes up pink. Literally everything.

Um, I'm not a pink ruffles kind of woman myself. I prefer black to pink actually. I don't wear a lot of dresses and my favorite outfit would be jeans, a t-shirt and some flip-flops. Comfort over fashion, for sure. After some intense searching I did find some items that weren't drowning in pink. Is this my fate? Is this her fate?

I read some time ago and loved Peggy Orenstein's book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter. It's fun and funny, but above all speaks to those of us who champion a world where little girls aren't sexualized and where women are taught that their power does not come from physical perfection. Who says girls have to wear pink? My daughter (can I just say how weird that was to type) will most certainly wear pink, it's inevitable, but she can and will wear blue too. My instinct is to fight, vehemently, against the princess-obsessed girl culture we live in. Life is complicated and if the goal is to raise a confident, independent and well-adjusted young woman, can that, should that, involve the inundation of pink, princesses, and rhinestone-studded words across her ass?

Clearly I've got some time before I have to figure this all out and before she starts to ask questions and has the capability of pointing out a poorly proportioned Barbie doll with over-sized tits, teeny-tiny feet, and a gap in her thighs ten miles wide, in the store, so I'm going to start my own crusade to raise a healthy young woman with what I know best: books.

For a while now I've been compiling lists of books for both boys and girls that represent each gender in a healthy light. Here's what's on tap for our little miss:

  • Pippi Longstocking
  • Madeline
  • Suki's Kimono
  • Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
  • Princess Smartypants
  • Grace for President
  • Harriet the Spy
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Little Women
  • Ramona Quimby
  • Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
  • Amelia to Zora: 26 Women Who Changed the World
This little one will also know that she will not be the best at everything she does and that's perfectly alright. Trophies and medals are reserved for the best for a reason. I can't stand our current culture's trend to acknowledge everyone, even for the smallest accolade. They don't hand out "participation" medals to all Olympians. I'm not interested in doling out reward after reward. Dangling a reward like a carrot will only motivate her to get the reward; what about developing her intrinsic nature to motivate herself? I'm not saying that the occasional bate isn't useful, and no doubt I will have to employ that tactic more than once, but when that's the only incentive then that's when I believe it becomes a problem.

She'll skin her knees, she'll come in last, she won't get the boy (or the girl if she so chooses), she'll fail a test and she'll be alright.
She'll be stronger and better for it.

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