tripping the life unbalanced

Sunday, December 11, 2005

sugar and spice and everything nice

I have a holiday dilemma. My 2.5 year old daughter is rapidly advancing towards little girlhood and leaving her bewildered mommy in the Barbie dust. She is now all about the Barbies and the My Little Pony and the fantastically awful Bratz. This is the first holiday season where she has wised up to Santa and all the trappings of kids gone wild with holiday fever and believing that the magical man will be visiting us on Christmas Eve. She has started to request things - and at the top of the list are the aforementioned thorns in my feminist side.

I always said that I couldn't just wouldn't buy my daughter any Barbies or sisters of the Barbie. I also always said I would a) never get married and b) have a child until later in life. My life has adjusted as my choices have, and while I still have difficulty sometimes reconciling my earlier professions with the reality of my life, I have also come to accept that life is not a perfectly packaged box with a set of rules and beliefs that remain the same over the years.

And so, as I shudder writing this, I think a Barbie or Pony or some other girly item will make it under our tree this season. This is not to say that I will not still talk to Alice about the ways in which girls can kick ass and do other things then look pretty and play with pretty things. It is also not to say that I won't be getting her other things for Christmas - like paints and markers and an easel.

But I will give her the chance to start exploring this universe a bit more. As fucked up and small-minded as it can be, it can also be a place for her to spread her wings a little more and become her own person. Because if there is one thing being a mommy has taught me, it is that Alice will be her own person despite my good intentions and wagging finger. The best I can do is to offer her a safe space in which to challenge the world and all of its prescriptions.

(and maybe I can get away with chopping off Barbie's hair into a mohawk before I give it to her. That would be acceptable, right?)


  • I swore I'd never buy my nephew Disney movies and then for a while it was ALL. HE. WANTED. so I could hardly deny him. Don't fret, your daughter is going to have to face a ton of things that challenge your feminist beliefs, at least this way you can teach her as she plays and try to cement some core beliefs in her fairly early.

    By Blogger The Mincemeat Vixen, at 8:23 a.m.  

  • Compromise with vintage Barbies in non-slutty clothes? My little pony already has a mohawk!

    By Blogger Marla, at 11:36 a.m.  

  • I dread the day my 2 year old daughter discovers Barbie. Thankfully, she prefers less "pretty" toys so far. When we get there (I'm sure we will), I guess a good mix of Barbie and chemistry sets is in order!

    By Blogger Trista, at 12:08 p.m.  

  • Beautifully written!!!

    By Anonymous ceebee, at 9:47 p.m.  

  • I've been thinking about this, especially after Josephine bonded with a pound puppy at Zellers this afternoon. My advice is - hold out as long as you can. Innocence is too precious.

    By Blogger Marla, at 11:51 p.m.  

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