I struggle with this. With a daughter + girly-ness. I struggle with wanting her to feel empowered and not be victim to the trashy marketing of “you’re just a girl” and “pink is the only color” and “math & science are hard for girls.” She’s a few months shy of four, but these thoughts really pound on me as she continues to grow into her own (carefully shaped by me to the extent I can) interests.
Despite coming from a family with four girls and then one boy, we weren’t girly girls. I didn’t shave my legs til I was 20, around the same time I got my ears pierced. I never learned to apply makeup or shop for my body type. I still struggle with “doing” my hair. And I’m the fourth girl! My older sisters weren’t complete tomboys but were more interested in academics & athletics than shaping their eyebrows.
So when I look at my little girl, I think oh gosh, I need to teach her how to be feminine and powerful in her femininity. I need to teach her how to dress for her shape, perform basic female upkeep, and all the while battle away the influence of early sexualization and imposed roles on her.
It’s on my heart a lot. I think I have a lot to figure out as she ages.
But one thing I can/do deal with right now is gifts. Christmas & birthdays–we love gifts in my family! Here’s my list of gifts for the 3-4 year old girl that’s empowering.
1) Terra, YOXO robot. Building with your imagination, my friend Jeff has created an incredible company! Because she’s into purple right now, this will be on her birthday list!
2) Barn. We got a similar one for Christmas and it’s been amazing to see all her enactments of what she thinks farm living is. Clearly she needs an education from Haley & her crew who are actually doing it, but it’s wonderful imaginative play, nonetheless.
3) Tri-Ominos. She plays this nonstop with my sister, Tia KK, and really gets into it.
4) Doll that looks differently than her. Promoting a little natural diversity beyond that provided by our baseball players. Yes, my son told me sister reminded me of Torii Hunter, so perhaps we’re still working on understanding ethnic backgrounds?
5) Tape dispenser. I am eyeing this for her birthday in April. I really fail in the arts & crafts department and think her love of tape could be satiated (and contained?) by this one.
6) Sewing machine. She fusses with hers all the time when we have “girl time” and sew “together.”
7) Puzzles in a box. She loves trucks & construction stuff, and not just because she has two brothers. It’s okay for girls to be interested in big machines, too!
8) Mercy Watson. We love this series so much and trust me, you will too.