07 August 2013

Girls, Girls, Girls!

When we found out that our baby was going to be a girl baby, I remember the great joy being accompanied by a feeling of great responsibility. Raising a healthy, well-adjusted, confident, curious, independent girl is a complicated operation. Not that raising a healthy, well-adjusted, confident, curious, independent boy isn't complicated, but there are fewer social forces working against you in that situation. Also, I happen to be much more familiar with the former given that I'm a girl myself.

Girls are subject to all sorts of stereotypes and assumptions, many of them quite unflattering. Take this t-shirt being marketed to young girls as just one tiny example. It doesn't take long for these stereotypes and assumptions to become part of the fabric of young girls' minds.

Madeleine's sponge-like qualities have become really apparent to me in the last week. Suddenly, she has started to be able to identify parts of her body that we talk about regularly (the feet that I'm always trying to find when putting on her pants, for example). She responds to my statements and questions appropriately, such as going to get a particular book or toy when I mention it. It hit me: at 13 months, she already understands much of what I'm saying.

How am I going to use what I say to help shape her into a healthy, well-adjusted, confident, curious, independent girl? Let's just say that I find myself filtering my thoughts more and more as I realize that she's understanding more and more. I'd like to share a few articles that have helped make me more aware of what I'm doing and saying.

No, I'm not perfect. For a start, I need to make comments about Madeleine's size much less often and expose her to science much more often. Fortunately, parenting isn't about perfection, but it is about doing the very best you can, trying a little harder each day, and being as aware as possible about the consequences of your choices. I think I can do that. 

*I'm not sure that I share the "shy" rant, but I definitely agree with the rest.


denayeb said...

I read that second article a few weeks ago and loved it, I have been sending it to all my friends that are having little girls!

Kendra G. said...

For starters, I have not seen that shirt and it infuriates me! Second, amen!

Janie said...

Great articles full of insight... where, oh where, are 99% of the mothers of daughters? You are a wonderful Mom.