Monday, August 20, 2012
Sometime in the last year or so, I read Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I'm glad I did, because my three year old daughter is suddenly choosing all things girly. Having read this book, I know that it's normal, and even healthy, for children around this age to identify deeply with their gender and choose the outward signs of their gender. Hairstyle, what people wear, and the things they like are the only gender identifiers that my daughter really knows. After a conversation I had with her today, it's clear that she really doesn't understand that boys do not have vaginas (or "ginas" as she pronounces it). So what makes someone a girl or a boy? Whether they choose pink or blue.
So a couple of days after choosing a Toy Story backpack, she told me that it was for boys. She wants to wear a crown and be a "queen princess." Every day last week she wanted to watch Cinderella--a movie she has seen one other time I think. And she suddenly wants to put on make up before she goes out. I usually put on lotion and chapstick. And if I'm getting fancy, I put on tinted moisturizer and curl my eyelashes.
As the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter learned, even if you try to cut out girly and princess stuff entirely, your daughter will find it and want it. Maybe even want it more if it's completely forbidden. (Between the preferences of my husband and myself, we already have no Barbies, Tinkerbell, or Hello Kitty in the house. And we haven't even gotten into the older age toys like Bratz yet--which will also obviously be off limits.)
We're only at the beginning of this girly girl phase. But I take comfort in the fact that she was still excited to play with the toy hammers in nursery class, wants to wear Cars band aids, and still loves her toy train set.