Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Power of Pink

One of the other mommy blogs that I follow recently posted about how she has conflicted feelings about all the pink toys her daughter has, and in particular, a pink play kitchen. She struggles with the thought of how she might be teaching her daughter that because she is a girl, her role is in the kitchen. Her post was much longer and much better articulated than my above sentences, but that was the general gist.

(Edited to add- it later occurred to me that I should link back to the original blog- oops! here you go-

I typed out a response to her post but thought it might be good here too. If anyone else with a daughter has thoughts on this, I would love to hear them!

I have thoughts like this sometimes too with my daughter, although she's still an infant. I keep telling myself that it's important for her to embrace being a girl, because it will help her embrace being a woman. Being a girl isn't "weak". It isn't "lesser". It's just different. And I think helping my daughter embrace her femininity and learning how to be a woman is important in developing her confidence.

I don't want to send her mixed messages by having her grow up watching me clean and cook and be a homemaker, but then demean my job and my role in our family by insisting she do something else with her life or not letting her play with housekeeping toys. We will raise her to know she can do anything that she wants with her life, and if she chooses to be a homemaker like Mommy then that's great. If she chooses to be a scientist or a lawyer or a college professor, then that's great too. She will have a mix of toys, including "housekeeping" toys. It will be up to her what she wants to play with! 

But I refuse to teach her the attitude that my job as a wife, a mother, and a homemaker is something that I was forced to do solely because I am a girl, and I certainly don't want to teach her that I hate my job. I love being a homemaker and a mother, and I know she will grow up watching me in that role. If she wants to play alongside me with her housekeeping toys, then I will consider it a compliment. And I also won't be hurt if she chooses to play with race cars and trucks and play doctor kits. Because, after all, wasn't the whole feminist movement about giving us the choice about what to do with our lives? 

 I didn't say this in my blog comment, but I will also say that if I have a son in the future, and he wants to play with that adorable pink kitchen at the beginning of my post (and that I may be planning on purchasing soon because it's freaking cute), then I will be happy with that too. I think it's important for boys to have the freedom to play with whatever toys they want to, too!


The Good Wife said...

Hi Sarah!
First of all, I want to thank you for reading my blog. I am honored it inspired you to create your own post.

I don't want to in any way demean the time, effort and energy it takes to stay at home with children, keep a house clean and cook meals. It takes a special kind of person to stay at home and care for children. I know that it would not be a profession I would excel at.

I do agree that feminism gave women the choice to either stay at home or work in the corporate world. However, we still have a long way to come since it is still the norm to ask a pregnant woman if she is going to stay at home with the baby after birth instead of asking the father just as often.

I want her to know that she can peruse any job or hobby regardless of it is a "girl" job or a "boy" job. And I want her to know that I won't think any less of her if she became the most girly thing ever.

She can be anything that she wants to be. I have no doubt that she will get that message. I just wonder if the message that she will get from society - that still largely views women as housewives and mothers first - will be a stronger influence on her.

I agree with your point about your future sons. I actually think that men play a larger role in helping advance feminism than woman ever could, must to the ire of my fellow feminists. (I have almost gotten kick out of the meetings, ;) )

Thank you for reading and opening up this dialog!


The Good Wife said...

Oh, and that kitchen you posted is super cute.

Sarah said...

thank you! I love your blog :-).