To say I was not a girly girl would be a grave understatement. I grew up in a patchwork family with four brothers. Also my cousins were mostly male. So my entire family was terribly excited for a “little princess” they could dress up and do all those girly things with. I was a dire disappointment. I was wild, loved climbing up trees, getting dirty, doing sports, and hated dolls or wearing dresses in which you have to behave. When I was four ,I cut my bright blond hair short. Much to the horror of my grandmother who was sitting me at the time. In short, I had a very happy childhood. And I still have the scars on my legs to prove it. As a result, I was branded a “tomboy” or even “not a real girl”.
When I got pregnant with my first and I found out it was a girl, I panicked. How the hell do I parent a girl? I know boys, love the toys, playing football or riding bikes, know how to dress them etc. And even worse what do I do later on and prepare my daughter for what is still very much an unequal world? What are even the values as a woman I want to give her?
So having a daughter actually taught me a lot about being a woman and myself as well. Turns out, I have very strong and utterly feminist opinions, which I will spare you ranting about. But in short I want her to be strong and empowered. I want her to be unapologetically herself and never to be hindered by gender stereotypes. As far as I am concerned as long as she has the right body parts she is a real girl, if that is what she wants to be. This by the way is also true for my son. Never ever should there be anything either of them cannot be or do because they are a boy or a girl.
But back to reality: society thinks in two ways/ two colours. There seems to be only blue or pink. Every time someone would call my baby a “little princess” I would cringe. Obviously, to my horror there was also the influx of pink clothes, toys and accessories. If you ask me, toys geared towards boys are far more interesting and have a greater learning effect. Girls clothes for babies or toddlers are at times just ridiculous and sometimes even impossible for them to move freely in. So I dressed her almost entirely like a boy. Again much to the confusion and disappointment of my family.
Feminist rant over: I have mellowed a little bit now. Now that she can walk, dresses and the lovely colour dusty pink have found their way into her wardrobe. Also she has a doll that she loves by the way. Now that I have gotten to know her personality, I know I have no princess but a warrior queen. She is very wilful and has zero insecurities. May she always stay this way. I don’t think I had to worry in the first place. I am also sure she will rebel one day against me by wearing only pink dresses and nothing else. I will just have to remind myself to let her be who she wants to be, not I what I want her to be. And my little boy? I don’t know yet, but he might just be the sensitive one. He will also probably have to wear her dusty pink wellies one day.