If you know me, you know I don’t believe in applying repressive gender roles to my daughter. She and I were shopping yesterday when I noticed two baby boomers staring at her. More specifically, they were staring at her ensemble.
My girl was wearing light pink corduroy pants with a pattern of sparkling gems at the hem and a rosy-pink long sleeve tee with an appliqued horse sporting pink ribbons in its free-flowing mane. And Iron Man sneakers.
She loves princesses, ponies, and The Avengers. My soon-to-be 5 year-old loves the trains and cars her older brother has handed down to her. And she adores the evenings when our little family is back together, and Pizza Super Hero Movie Night is unanimously declared.
When the boomers finished staring at my daughter, I couldn’t help myself—I had to comment. “We can’t wait for Iron Man 3,” I said, more than enthusiastically.
Back in early December, my daughter had already window shopped with her grandmother for her Iron Man sneakers, so she knew exactly where she was headed when she and I walked into that store. You’ve probably guessed the saleswoman immediately directed us to the pink, girly section. In fact, she nearly insisted. Then my daughter looked up at me with a bold confidence that instantly brought a smile to my heart. “We’ll be over there checking out the super hero sneakers. We’ll let you know when we’re ready to try on,” I advised.
I don’t know about you, but I cringe every time I see a little one suffering from Imposed Princess Syndrome. Don’t get me wrong; we love the princesses, too. We’ve had princess themed birthday parties and my daughter will often choose outfits from her princess-like wardrobe.
Our favorite park at Disney last year was Magic Kingdom, largely due to its plethora of princesses. But upon our return from Florida, my daughter immediately began asking to visit “Marvel” during our next vacation. To be fair to the super heroes she also loves, you know.
Children learn what they live. If we provide only ‘girl’ stuff to our daughters without thought; if we teach our daughters to choose only ‘girly’ things, then that she will. If we allow her to decide what truly interests her, well, she might wear Iron Man sneakers. And run for President of The United States.
As I’ve mentioned before, like you, I have countless dreams for my daughter. I dream about the lifelong possibilities in front of her. And I continue to reassure her the sky is the limit, and there will no longer be gender-imposed glass ceilings for her to break. I tell her she’s a girl, yes, and that means she can do anything she desires. Anything.
There are also days when you may see my daughter out in her mask and cape. Sometimes with boots, and other times with sparkly ballet flats. Why shouldn’t our daughters enjoy the best of both worlds?