Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pirate Princess?

My daughter had to visit the Ophthalmologist today for a check up and we were told she has to do some patch therapy on one eye to help strengthen the other. No problem, we've done it before and she is such a strong, adaptable and resilient little person that I have no doubt this will go as well as it has before and I'm thankful the problem doesn't require anything any more invasive at this point.

With that said, I get very annoyed when the med tech (a 20 something woman) comes back with eye patches for J. Bean to choose from and the 3 options presented are pink, hot pink and pink... all with princess, ballet slippers and the like on them. Had I thought about it, I would have requested a hand in picking her choices ahead of time, but once J. Bean saw them I felt I needed to let her pick what she wanted and that is better that I don't make a bid deal about it (though I am confident she would have likely chosen a red, green or even a pirate crossbones or something if given the choice). I feel this goes against the very message I am trying to present to her when I take her to a strong, intelligent, physician who just happens to be a woman. Maybe I should have suggested we go back to the source for more options... hindsight, as they say. It's only temporary and I don't want to over think it, it's just disappointing to find this being pushed by women in a female practitioner's office.

I am not "anti-princess" in the extreme, I just like to present valid choices that are not limiting. If J. Bean wants to wear a dress and be a fairy princess on occasion... fine, I have no issue with that as long as she was also given neutral and even (gasp!) "boy" options to choose from. When she does choose a pink princess thing, I just make sure I don't over compliment her on it or make a big deal about how "cute" she is... the danger it seems to me is letting your daughter think that these things are what her father (as the model of future men in her life) finds desirable or of extra importance. I know my daughter could grow up to be, or at least pass through, a very "girly" stage and I have no problem with her being a beautiful confident person in whatever form she chooses, I just don't want her to think that any particular ideal is what I expect from her. With a son on the way, I want to challenge myself to the same philosophy for him and in some ways I think it may be harder, but it will be as important for my daughter as it is to him that I practice what I preach when it comes to allowing these little people to dress and act in ways that do not conform to patriarchal gender roles.

A message to my children: "Be who you are... that is more than enough for me."

This child has the right idea:

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