Wednesday, February 01, 2006

all things pink and sparkly

As we head towards T's third birthday, our life has accumulated a lot of pink in it. She has always been fairly girly. At 13 months old T had a very strong opinion about what she would and would not wear and by 18 months, when shopping with me, she'd point out clothes in the stores she liked and say "How cute!" But I can't help but wonder if I'm doing her a favor or a disservice by encouraging her love for all things girly. Because now she is pinker and sparklier than anything we could ever imagine.

I suppose everyone is entitled to their own personal style, and when checking out the other 2-3 year olds, I see that pink tends to be one of the more popular color trends for girls her age. Though now, pink alone isn't good enough anymore. It needs to be dress (preferably pink). With tights. And buckle shoes. And ever since her cousin J, who cuts her hair, introduced T to the wonders of hair sparkles, she thinks that no day truly begins until she's covered with gold sparklies.

But it's not just the clothes. T loves fairies, jewelry (especially "tiraras"), loves to pretend she's a ballerina, and she adores, adores Barbies. Since she's got an older brother, she does undestand the importance of running super fast and having superhero powers, but she does not, in any way, share the satisfaction he gets for throwing a ball toward a hoop or pretending to be a race car driver or astronaut. She is all girl and she's happy about it.

And this is where I feel uncomfortable. I mean, I'm so glad she loves who she is. She's beautiful and strong and confident, and I hope she stays that way forever. But I feel guilty that I don't do more to make her environment more gender neutral. Part of me feels like she should never have to be ashamed of her pleasures ("It's fine you love Barbie, honey, but remember that she's plastic and her body dimensions aren't physcially even possible and you could never, ever look like her without a lot of disfiguring cosemtic surgery."). But by letting her indulge herself in things that are so specifically girly, am I limiting her potential for being an amazing ballplayer? Or will this encourage her to believe that her looks are more important than her brains? And mostly, do I feel guilty because I fully enjoy the same things she does (though, I tend not to wear tutus or hula skirts to work).

Or, is it enough to give her the support to love the things she loves, yet still expose her to other less superficial things? Who's to say a superhero can't wear a tutu?

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