10 Reasons I’m Happy To Be Raising A Girly Girl

raising-a-girly-girlI was really excited to have a baby girl; but not for the reasons that this title implies. My number one reason for being thrilled on the day that I found out the sex of my child is because I am short.

Really short. I am not even five foot. Being short is hard, but I always assumed that it is harder for boys. There is no science to back up this assumption, but I was still pretty jazzed to find out that I was having a teeny weeny sans peeny baby.

I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to the concept of gender after my initial celebration over my kid’s sex; I just assumed I would show her awesome stuff and she would like it and any concept of what was “for girls” and what was “for boys” would fall by the wayside.

I was wrong.

My kid likes girly stuff, or whatever it is that we traditionally conceptualize as “girly”, which I will add to make my gender studies professor proud. I don’t dislike girly stuff, but I am somewhat perplexed by it. I was perplexed by it as a kid, and now even more so because the girly stuff of my kid’s youth is not the girly stuff of mine. Still, it got to a point where I realized that if I was going to show an interest in what my kid liked, that meant getting on board. So now I’m raising a girly girl. Later, I’ll suss out the feminist implications of that. For now, we’re just having fun. Here’s why I love doing it this way:

1. I Can Show Her That It Isn’t Bad To Like This Stuff.

When I was younger, and even now, liking “girly stuff” was profoundly uncool and incredibly passe. It still is. If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “I was the girl who played with G.I. Joes instead of Barbies” or “I can’t be friends with women. I don’t like shopping and glitter” spoken in a disgusted tone, I’d have lots of money to go shopping for glitter.

All you have to do is look at the vitriol for Twilight and shoe shopping or understand that the phrase “stop acting like a little girl’ is a devastating insult to see that this is a problem.

2. Turns Out, Shopping Is Kinda Fun

I never liked shopping. I have big boobs and short legs and no money and everything I wore was too immodest according to the adults in my life, unless it was a big brown trash bag. I sort of love that my daughter loves shopping because it turns out, I actually like it too.

3. Being Crafty Is More Fun With Company

I actually learned to sew by accident. I was sent to detention and walked into the wrong room and it turned out it was the after school costume class. My mentor-to-be had brownies and said, “sew that button onto that shirt and I’ll sign your detention slip”. I never missed another session, and now I get to teach my daughter how to sew and crochet and swear when you poke yourself with a pin. We like to live dangerously, so we measure once and cut whenever.

 4. You Don’t Want To Have To Learn How To Put Makeup On As An Adult

Trust me. I never learned how to put makeup on so I went through some extremely interesting phases as an adult as I tried to figure out how to do it. And no, women don’t have to wear makeup but I like to because it is fun and makes my lips look amazing. So I’ll teach her how to do this, too. We’re already practicing with some stuff from Toys R’ Us that burns when you put it on your eyelids.

5. Apparently Getting Your Nails Done Is Fun, Too.

I was not allowed to paint my nails except for in neutral colors until I graduated high school, at which point I was so used to not painting my nails that it just kind of fell out of my brain as a thing that people do. Then, my daughter and I were walking past a nail place and she asked if we could go in. We did, she got her nails done and I got mine done and holy shit they looked amazing. How long has everyone been sitting on this secret?

6. Because Brownies.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that while I detest matchy matchy clothing for adults and kids, nothing beats a mother/daughter apron ensemble, except maybe raw brownie batter, which we will both eat, warning on the box be damned.

7. Tea Parties Aren’t Lame, They Are Amaze

I love tea partying with my kid. Mr. Hippo and Mrs. Hoity-toity always get into a sword fight over who put poison berries in the tea. I just eat invisible cucumber sandwiches and let the drama unfold, telenovela style.

8. Princesses

My child’s very favorite imaginary game to play right now is “freedom fighter princess” in which she is an amalgamation of her favorite Disney princesses, Princess Twilight Sparkle, and Princess Bubblegum. She has the power to make her hair grow into perfect curls, turn invisible, control the seasons, and smash the patriarchy.

9. There Are More Types Of Dresses Than You Know

I had always thought there was one type of dress: the dress kind. Wrong. There are summer dresses, winter dresses, sequined dresses, ballgowns, sun dresses, wedding dresses, dresses with shorts underneath, and a dress you can make out of a towel. My kid is obsessed with dresses, and it is starting to rub off.

10. I Get To Learn That There Really Isn’t Anything In The World That Isn’t “Girly”

Finally, my daughter does all manner of girly things like playing Minecraft, learning to skateboard, doing math problems for fun, and belching the alphabet. In raising my daughter to be a girly girl, I’ve learned there’s no such thing. My brother loved to paint his nails. My husband likes to cook. I was bested in costume design by some dude freshman year, and a man taught me how to do my makeup. I could have done pretty much all of this with a son, if I’d had one, as long as he was interested.

When she was young, I looked sideways and suspiciously at anything with frills or pink, and in doing so, I learned a very important lesson; the only one drawing a hard line between what was “for girls” and what was “for boys” was me, the one person who insisted such a line shouldn’t exist.

(Image: mangojuicy/Shutterstock)

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