Mommyish Presents A Game Of Chutes And Ladders To Navigate Media Messages Aimed At Girls

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Parenting daughters seems to have never been tougher.

Despite efforts you may make as a parent to encourage your daughter to excel in school and pursue her interests, every time you turn around there’s a t-shirt telling her she’s too pretty to do math. If there’s not a follow up shirt listing “boys” as her number one interest, than there’s a Halloween costume making anorexia look sexy. Perhaps it comes in a package set with the children-sized shirt emblazoned with “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

So you take your daughters home, away from the mall and the stores with ridiculous shirts and you put on the TV. But the next time you look up, there is a four-year-old on Toddlers & Tiara’s with padded boobs dancing around to a Dolly Parton song. So you quickly turn that off and pull a book from her bookshelf to read.

But half way through the book entitled I’m Going To Be The Best Princess Ever!, you see that it’s all about a little girl acquiring endless dresses and being praised by princes for her appearance. So you ban that book from your house and resolve to keep your daughter locked in her room with math books until she’s 18. You make a solemn vow to never give her lingerie for her eighth birthday.

The sad thing is that for every effort Geena Davis makes to get more gender equality into your kid’s programming or for every Princess Elisabeth of Belgium who eloquently delivers a speech to a room full of adults, there are plenty of more “chutes” lying just around the corner.

Here’s to putting more “ladders” in front of our girls, in whatever form they may come.