Brave girls and Dresses

saraMy daughter is a GIRLY girl. She’s the kind of teenage girl that works each day like a fashion show. From shoes to hair, she plans out her outfits to match some sort of theme she’s going with for the week.

I love it. Even though it is as far from the girl I was at her age, I love that she embraces her feminine spirit and loves being a girl. She can’t help being girly even when she’s wearing her brother’s old sweaters and band t-shirts.

She’s always been a dress and princess kind of girl. Never afraid to be proud of being feminine, she wields her girlish charms like a fine sword. She is authentic and real, unafraid of what others might think of her. But sadly that’s not the norm for a lot of kids. They talk about parents who make them feel uncomfortable for the clothes they crave, the hairstyle they want to express themselves with, or for the friends that don’t fall into the taxonomies their parents understand. My daughter’s friends are creative, theatrical, and highly intelligent but all feel the pressure that society puts on them to “fit in” and be “accepted” even though they are still exploring themselves and the world.

All too often women are often too caught up in worrying about what others might think of them and lose something important, the ability to explore.

They stand in the mirrors turning from side to side, afraid of the curves of their bodies not being approved of by strangers. They make themselves sad when they step on the scale and judge themselves based upon what the media tells them is “pretty” or “normal”. And yet these are the same people that are often guilty of telling their children that they are being judged by strangers for the way they dress or play.

Parents are serious these days about trying to make sure everything is politically correct, gender neutral, and everyone is recognized for how special they are. Boys and girls are constantly judged for what they wear, who they play with, what toys are used the most, and sadly it is the adults that are most often the culprits of critical comments.

This generation of kids have been told since birth that they shouldn’t be too girlish or lean too far to masculinity, instead they should be modern children who stay right in the middle of the sexuality scale.

I have a wonderful little friend, E. She is just about the most adorable little girl I have met in a long time. E. knows exactly who she is at 4 years old. E. loves fire trucks and hot pink riding toys, she loves princesses and super heroes. E. has a great Momma who isn’t afraid of being real and true to herself and it shows in the confidant daughter she is raising. E. knows she can be who she wants to be because her Momma provides opportunities for E. to survey all of her options.

Today’s young people have a lot of options for exploration. They shouldn’t be forced into one box marked “Neutral” any more than they should be marked with “Girl” or “Boy”. But the more hubbub you make out of NOT choosing, the more confusing you tend to make things.

I have raised a lot of kids, my daughter being the youngest. They all knew that there were times when someone was going to tell them to stop crying or whining, stop being a bully or hitting, and yes there would be times when I actually had to talk to them about loving who they were no matter what sexuality they chose or who approved or didn’t. Each of the kids have had gay, straight, and Bi friends, and all but my daughter have grown up and figured out for themselves where in that circle they leaned towards. No judgment, just figuring it out.

The first time she "borrowed" my lipstick.
The first time she “borrowed” my lipstick.

My daughter knew from the time she was old enough to pick out her own clothes at 2 years old that she loved dresses that swirled around when she spins, shoes that sparkled, and couldn’t wait to be allowed to wear make-up. She’s the girl that everyone looks to when trying to figure out what to wear.

She’s unique and brave enough to go to school dressed like Alice in Wonderland one day and the adorable villain Harley Quinn the next.

Some days she rolls out of bed, grabs some sweats and a t-shirt and pulls her hair in a ponytail while other days she gets up an hour early and walks out of the house looking like a fashion team has just made up their model for the next shoot.

But being a girly girl hasn’t held her back from speaking her mind, standing up for who and what she believes in, and investigating hobbies like archery, shooting, comic books, and more.

In fact I think being brave enough to embrace her love of her own feminine goddess has given her the character and strength to be able to stand away from the crowd on her own and walk proudly in her own direction. She doesn’t need to be told she’s powerful, she just knows on her own that she’s confidant because she was allowed to figure out on her own which way her arrow points.

5 comments

  1. This is simply so cute. Besides, I love the way how you really comprehend the ideology of your daughter, and actually let her have fun, rather than being the ‘strict’ parent about it. Not that I am saying parents should leave their teenagers to do whatever they want, but actually seeing through these things and appreciating the creativity of a teenage mind is a better way to show off the love.
    I don’t really think the comment makes a lot of sense though lol

    • hehe.. I completely understood. Thank you. I think what most people, not just teens, need and want is the ability to explore who they are with love and support from the people they trust will tell them the truth. There are times when we have to tell our daughter that she might want to reconsider her clothes because of the weather, or for some other reason. But knowing that she will continue to come to us for support and feedback really helps our relationship.

  2. I was right there with you up until your fourth paragraph. Well, about half way into your fourth paragraph. While I definitely do wish kids weren’t judged so harshly by parents about what they like or wear (like that poor boy and the My Little Pony back pack), I don’t agree with this part: “This generation of kids have been told since birth that they shouldn’t be too girlish or lean too far to masculinity, instead they should be modern children who stay right in the middle of the sexuality scale. Boys are encouraged to act out their feminine sides with mothers who brag about their “pink boys” on Mommy blogs instead of simply allowed to explore freely without judgment. Girls are given lessons on gender equality and told that they need to be aware of biases, instead of just letting them figure out on their own if they want to be a firefighter or a princess… or maybe even both.”

    First, I think that sexuality and gender are not the same thing. Secondly, I don’t get the impression that my kids, or their friends, are being told to stay in the middle of both genders… instead I feel like the goal is to encourage kids not be afraid to check out each and all directions. I also don’t feel that by teach girls, and boys, about biases is contrary in any way to letting them figure out on their own what they are into or want to be. I actually think the opposite: by informing kids that they will have to work through and overcome obstacles like gender bias in order to reach their comfort zones, happy places, and dreams, that they are being prepared for their journey. I also believe there is nothing wrong with encouraging boys to explore their feminine side. Again, it isn’t counter intuitive to free self exploration. With today’s marketing and political climate, helping our kids remember that they can have/be/love it all isn’t a hindrance.

    It’s funny that you right this because I have been working on a blog about how the older I get, the more feminine I feel, or allow myself to feel, or whatever it is (not trying to actually write the piece here, on top of the novel I’ve already penned – yikes, sorry!), and the more I think about that, the more I agree with the rest of what you said, especially about your daughter being brave. What’s most impressive about her is that she found her courage so early in her life and she is lucky to have such supportive parents.

  3. Parents should support their children (both boys and girls) and let them choose their dressing by themselves. There are a lot of kids Clothes stores and parents can let their children choose a dress they like from the store and place the order.

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