Saturday, October 27, 2012

No sequins for you!

Here is my daughter:
Please note how she is the cutest thing that ever cuted.
OhmyGod.  She is so cute.
Please also note that she is not wearing sparkles, nor is she wearing anything made of tulle, and she is quite far from having flowing locks of blonde curls, and yet, she remains not only a girl, but an astonishingly adorable and happy little nodule of perfect cutitude.
Everyone can agree on this, right?

Now bear witness to the monstrosity that is gendered Halloween costumes.

I mean, are you kidding me?  We have to force our little girls to be pretty-pretty-princesses even when they are Muppets?

What IS this?!  And more importantly, how am I supposed to hide my daughter from it?

It's not that I hate dresses, or fancy shoes or glitter, (Well, actually, I do hate glitter but that's because it is impossible to ever clean up, not because I think that it holds some inherent misogynist bias).  But it is like we are suffocating them.  It is like there are two options: be a frilly, delicate flower (and apparently freeze you hiney off while trick-or-treating) - or be "alternative", a "tom-boy", a political statement.    Is it any wonder that little girls think that sexy = popular?
I mean, I am a big fan of this image, but it really only serves to prove my point:
She looks adorable, but people are mostly into this image because she is not fitting in with our cultural expectations.  She is rising above what we as a culture know we teach little girls to value about themselves: primarily their bodies: their hair, their make-up coated faces, their delicately poised hands, and their pointed little toes.
And what happens when these little girls get older and, as all children do, start discovering and asserting their own power?  Well, they use the assets they have been taught to value, of course.
And that's when it really gets ugly.
Have you heard of the twelve-year-old- slut meme?  It's totally a thing.  Using the word "meme" makes it sound like it is a new thing, but it is really not.  We have been shaming girls for using their sexuality since the Old Testament when most women were stoned for exhibiting signs of sexual awareness.  With the rise of social media and cyber bullying, the public reaction to girls asserting their sexuality has changed, it is more of a lateral move
These girls, experimenting with their own sexuality and immersed in a world where society has dictated as their strongest features are their bodies, are then publicly humiliated for experimenting with the only tools they have to gain approval and status.  It is sickening to me how our culture is both obsessed and terrified of teenage girls.  From Pretty Little Liars, and all the movies with those sexy evil girls, and every female pop star...ever: I mean, talk about mixed messages.  Because in our world there are two types of girls: submissive virgins, or manipulative whores.
How do I stop this?  How do I protect my playful, talkative, curious little spark from all this...terror that seems to be waiting for her in every toy store?
I am really beginning to see Rapunzel's mom's angle.


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