Monday, April 20, 2015

A mama-bear Girl-Power! rant

Happy Monday, everyone.
I want to take a moment to introduce you to my daughter.

She bares many adoring qualities, so many that I doubt I could name them all in one blog post. Among them are strength, stubbornness, independence, orneriness, the love of play, and getting into trouble. 
She loves to read. She loves cars. She loves playing ball. She loves cats. She loves laughing.
She loves all things kids love. 

You've probably already noticed that she's wearing Batman pajamas in this picture. It was taken this morning after her nap. 

Shortly before this picture was taken, a nice lady came into the office and immediately took notice of her. 
How could you not? Her big, brown eyes are hard to resist.

"He's just all over the place!"
"How old is he?"

This wasn't the first time someone had mistaken her for a boy. I often dress her in clothes from the boy's department, mainly because I crave a variety of colors and print options that the girls section just doesn't have. You get pink, purple or yellow and that's about it. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and can find a teal blue shirt, but those instances are few and far between. 
The other reason is fit. My child is no string bean by any means, but the more the days wear on, the more baby fat melts off her precious face and she looks more and more like a little girl rather than a baby. Target [my favorite retailer and shopping destination] has a bad habit of making their girls clothes much too tight and short. Right now I'm having to buy her 2T in shorts so they're not riding up her butt every time she moves. She can easily fit into boys 12 month shorts and shirts. 

"It's she, actually, and she's 17 months."
I don't often correct people in passing if they get her gender wrong because it's an easy mistake to make when they're this young, and frankly I just don't care that much. But in this case she had asked me a question about my daughter and I wasn't going to intentionally call her a "he" in my reply just to avoid awkwardness.

"But she's wearing BATMAN!" 
And your point is....?

This is where the anger sets in. I knew the nice lady meant nothing by this comment. Not everyone is as annoyingly gender-equal crazy as I am. The reason is quite simple: not everyone thinks about it. To be honest, I didn't even think about it until I was pregnant with my daughter and I saw how these types of things could affect my child. 
But that doesn't make it any less annoying.

The kindest reply I could come up with was,
"Yes, she likes superheroes too."
and left it at that.

I can think of 100 questions now that I would like to ask that lady. 
It's similar to when someone says something mean to you but you can't think of anything witty to say at the time so you just kind of stare at them stupidly and then walk away. But later you come up with like 4,000 things you could say that would have made them feel like an asshole. 
That was me in this situation.

Please take a moment to think about what this lady said.
Let's break it down.

First off, she was a stranger. Assuming the gender of a baby or toddler is a tricky business unless they're wearing a shirt that explicitly says, "I'm a girl!" or "I'm a boy!" or their parents straight up tell you. If you're not sure, don't assume. You know how that saying goes.

Secondly, and most importantly, why can't my daughter wear Batman pajamas? That's a pretty simple question when you get down to brass tacks, isn't it? Why in the world would it not be okay for her to wear these particular pajamas?

Is it the color?
Is it because Batman is a man?
Is it because Superheroes are a "boy thing" and girls shouldn't be allowed to like things that boys like?
Is it because this lady is an unnerving prat who doesn't know her ass from her elbow?

The problem here was not that the lady assumed my daughter was a boy. Boys are cool, too. It's not offensive to say she was a boy, just like it's not offensive if someone mistakes a boy to be a girl. They might feel weird for doing it, but I don't think it's a big deal. 

The problem in this situation was that this lady didn't think Batman was for girls. If she had been wearing a pink hello kitty nightdress, I'm sure there wouldn't have been any doubt in her mind that my daughter was in fact, a girl. Because girls wear pink, right? 
Unfortunately this is just how our society sees boys vs. girls.

If my daughter wants to like Superman or Spiderman, that's her choice. If she wants to like Hello Kitty and Barbie, that's her choice, too. Neither of those things make her any less of a girl. If my nephews want to haul around a baby doll in a shopping cart, that doesn't make them any less boys. They all play in the same dirt, throw the same tantrums, and poop the same, smelly poop. 

Why are we deciding for our kids what it is or isn't okay for them to like? Why are we setting these limits to their play and their wardrobe? Why are we concerned whether or not that they're dressed "girly" or like a "boy"?
Who gives a shit?

Let them play!
Let them be their own person.
Let them decide what they like or don't like.
Let them be kids.

A sample of awesome Addi's wardrobe:

I hope you don't find this opinion annoying or offensive, as I know the whole feminism thing has gotten trendy as of late, but this is a discussion that needs to happen. 
This affects my children just as much as it does yours, boy or girl, young or old.

It's time to change the way we think.

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