Bring on the Barbie and let little girls be girlie

Why not let your little girls be feminine. Picture: iStock
Why not let your little girls be feminine. Picture: iStock

GO ahead girls, paint your pouts with gloss in front of your wooden Kmart vanity, writes Sara Fitzpatrick.

Invite Snow White and Ken to Barbie’s Malibu mansion for fairy bread and cupcakes.

Make flower crowns and sequined bracelets, host fashion parades and tea parties.

Colour your tiny nails fluorescent yellow or fuchsia with lashings of glitter — I won’t batter my bronze-shadowed eyelid for a second.

Attach a yellow blanket to your head and hit me (gently) with a plastic frying pan as you pretend to be Rapunzel.

I won’t deny you your gender or devalue your femininity.

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My first born found Frozen, tutus, mermaids and unicorns with no help from me.

Her wardrobe housed hoodies and jungle green boots: she wanted rose ruffled dresses and strappy pastel sandals.

I suggested karate, she begged for ballet.

When the Elsa obsession took hold (for a good two years) I was mortified, but quickly let it go.

She knew right away who she was and what she was about. And why not indulge her, I thought — why can’t she embrace her femininity?

Feminism is fine — celebrated all the way — but femininity these days, not so much.

We can actually allow our girls to play with dolls, high heels and fairy gardens, and raise them to be interesting, capable, well-rounded young women.

So yeah – I buy my daughters fairy wings and Disney costumes on request.

I also buy them books and board games, instruments and slime. And when they’re not dollying up Skipper for the disco, they’re building elaborate Lego cities, inspecting insects and anthills, and collecting 24 gumnuts from the park.

They shoot balls into hoops, spot turtles in the lake and wrestle on the rug. Their preference however – at least for now – is glitter and rainbows, flowers and mermaids.
And that’s OK with me.

As a kid I obsessed over Barbie, dress-ups and Jem – as well as tadpoles, snails and Dr Who.

My mum fought to put me in dresses – I wanted shorts and leggings – and to this day I’m rarely out of jeans and a tee.

I love makeup and heels, perfume and chocolate, and I also swear, drink whisky and watch horror films for fun.

My girls may too find some sort of balance, but if they choose to stick to their feminine guns (or mini revolvers) then so be it.

Opinions are aplenty and emotions run high when it comes to raising our kids.

I’ll embrace my daughters’ in-built femininity thanks very much and I will also – God forbid – continue to call them beautiful.

Lists keep doing the rounds of words we must call our girls other than ‘pretty’.

Thank you ‘do-gooders’ for reminding us that looks are not a female’s only worth.

No shit we should be telling our daughters they are smart, spirited, kind and loyal but don’t tell me I can’t slip in a few “stunnings” here and there.

It might be off-trend to celebrate – and even recognise – a child’s biological gender, but I’m doing just that. I have two girls and I won’t feel guilty for raising them as such.

 

sara.fitzpatrick@communitynews.com.au

 

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