Friday, June 24, 2011

How to talk to little girls

I just read this article from the Huffington Post.

This has also been much discussion around our house simply because we have been on the hunt for baby items, and it seems that everything tends to be gendered, or at least color-gendered. Our friends have been gracious in donating their baby stuff to us. Between purchases on Craigslist and donations, we are almost set with the basic stuff: crib, bedding, car seat, jogging stroller, outfits, etc. I am accepting any and all hand me downs whether it is "boy" or "girl." I mean, who really cares if a boy or girl sleeps on blue sheets or is wrapped in a pink blanket. I don't care, really. A sheet is a sheet is a blanket. Why do we dress baby girls in overtly "feminine" clothing? And why do most baby boy items have emblems like footballs and monsters and dark colors?

Much of my response to those who ask why I didn't want to find out the gender of our baby so soon has been somewhat of a retort to this whole gendering thing: I usually quip "I don't want to subject this child to gender-limits before it is even born." Yeah, I know, I am being a smart ass, and my closest buds and family know that, but to strangers, they seem offended by my response. Of course little girls are adorable when they wear frilly things, but why can't my girl wear a blue onesie with a baseball on it?

Bloom's article seems to suggest that simply because we address girls by noticing their clothing or looks, we are dooming them to a life of self-obsession about their looks. I disagree. I think that part of the reason so many young girls seems to be so obsessed isn't because some stranger said they looked cute. I think it is about the massive amounts of media kids are exposed to now a days. My childhood role models were the Brady Bunch kids, and they were hand-me-down rough. Hannah Montana and the likes seem to be a bit more glamourized than Jan, Marsha, and Cindy.


Alex said...

Love your response when people ask why you're not finding out the gender! I read this article - I find it interesting. I so think that we spend too much time focused on looks with little girls, and sometimes boys. But it's so much more! I love that you're thinking about all this before your little one comes - you're going to be a great mother!

WannabeMommy said...

Love it! We're not finding out our baby's sex either, so I'll have to remember that "gender limits" response next time I'm asked.

erika said...

Knowing the sex before birth is overrated. I see too many people to get upset over this subject:
1. the baby is not revealing
2. the sex is not what they would have preferred
3. the sex at birth is not what the u/s suggested before
I mean I understand the desire to know, but it may also take away from the excitment at times, if anybody is biased already.
I would like to know, DH would not. We stay on team green.
Our families are driving us nuts, bc they have their orders in: his family is all boys, so they want a little girl. My family is all girls, they want a little boy.
I mean does the sex of the baby really matter that much? I wish people would leave us alone and let us enjoy this pregnancy and getting ready for the arrival our child.
You made the right decision for you, and I can totally relate - there is some magic in waiting for that surprise:)

Anonymous said...

Loved the article- I could not agree more. Have you read about the family who are raising their child gender neutral? I think perhap they are going a little to far, but I do find it interesting!

Ashley said...

I work with young kids and I have to disagree a little bit and I think part of it is just how they are. I have a friend who wants her daughter to sometimes wear shorts and things for outside play but the girl only wants to wear dresses! They don't watch TV. My kids share everything so we don't care about that stuff and my son wears necklaces and he loves to put on Ever's headbands and Ever plays with balls, but there are still things that they do that seem to be naturally feminine and masculine.

Jess said...

Very very interesting! You are right- people take on gender roles of children before they are even born. And then when they are babies- research shows that people talk and handle baby girld more delicately. Amazing, huh?