Raising a Feminist Daughter
So, the other day I was reading comments on the black dolls article and Angélica mentioned that she encourages her daughter to play with trucks and other toys that might be considered gender specific by most parents. This got me thinking about my daughter and the way we try to raise her both “girly” in some respects, and in others “tomboyish”. I was a tomboy growing up…hated all things “girly” and I always hated being teased about my clothes and choice of toys and activities because of it. I was the little girl with short cropped hair, a baseball cap, jeans and a tee-shirt. I played football and basketball with the boys and was repelled by Barbies (Sorry Barbie…you’re not welcome en mi casa!). It wasn’t easy when I was young, but of course, my parents didn’t really know how to support my choices either. I think that parents today are much more aware of gender issues than they were even 20 years ago. A lot of that probably comes from the development and availability of information on the internet, but I’m sure that civil rights movements have also given us privileges that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
I have to admit, hearing other parents talk about their journey to be more inclusive of out-of-the-box ideas makes me smile. =) We’re a generation that thinks critically about parenting. We analyze every decision and we research every technique before putting it into practice. Parents are becoming conscious of health, gender, race, socioeconomic status, green living and so many other elements that promote positive and thoughtful parenting.
In my own journey I’ve made sure that my daughter has monster trucks, karate gear, princess costumes, dolls, remote controlled cars and My Little Ponies. She sleeps in our bed, nurses, scrambles her own eggs and picks out her clothes. She has a diversity of bilingual and multicultural books and toys, and she makes friends without prejudice. I wish that I could say I had grown up with such diversity and open-minded ideas in my childhood. I’m sure that sometimes my decisions are based on prejudice (I can’t stand pink!) but I always try to challenge myself to question why that prejudice exists and then break down those barriers. This website, for example, is all in pink! ;) Strange for a person who hates pink, right? But after I had my daughter, I realized that I could learn to love pink and that it wasn’t the color of oppression, as I had believed it to be before. When I was a kid, I was pushed to conform with traditional “femininity”, but as an adult I don’t have to worry what anyone thinks. For my daughter, she can be girly or not…that’s entirely up to her. :) Let’s do her one better…she can be both, como su mami! ;)
Just for fun, I thought I would include some cute photos of my daughter in her adorable “Karate Princess” costume. Yes, it’s really a Kimono, but don’t tell her that! ;) My mother was a missionary in Japan and I can’t help but sneak in bits of the culture here and there. More on that in another post! ;) I’ll leave you with the above collage of some seriously cute Halloween photos…that’s my tough little “girly” girl! ♥
This article was previously publish in April, 2011.