Tiaras and Toddlers

Monday, Ali from Wardrobe Oxygen posted over on her baby (not really a baby anymore) blog, Me and E. Her post is brilliant! The post is dealing with the judgment of others when raising a stereotypical girly-girl. This is something I know a thing or two about myself....

A is a princess. A ballerina. A fairy. A doctor. An artist. A mommy. For some people, only a few items on this list would be considered okay. For me, they all are. If she wants to be soldier, a cop, a lawyer, a teacher, a baker, an alligator: these would be fine too! She is three, the fantasies of today will be the memories of tomorrow. I know people (not my people) but people, often feel like we are feeding the princess culture and raising our daughters as a detriment to society. How very sad it is to me, that you see my daughter, with a frilly dress, a bow, and maybe wings as a future brat, slut, or worse. Do you not remember your childhood? Possibilities were endless.

Who was your main role model as a young child? If you are a woman, probably your mother. What did your mother (probably) do everyday? She got dressed, did her hair, and did her makeup. Guess what A watches me do everyday? Get dressed, do my hair, and do my makeup. Guess what she wants to do?? Did you  guess the same three things? If so, good, you are getting it! She constantly asks me to let her wear makeup. I always say yes. We usually pretend to put on some mascara and powder, then finish up with lip gloss. She picks out her clothes for school. I open her closet, then she selects. 9 days out of 10, she will pick a dress. To be honest, I love this, it is so much easier!

A has so many dress-up clothes that I had to convert her dresser to a wardrobe. Does this mean she will be shallow and superficial? If I let her wear her plastic heels (of which she has 6 pair) to Target, am I automatically a bad mom? What if I let her wear heels while she hunts bugs with her bug kit in the backyard? Is it okay now? If she has a birthday party and all the boys get pirate outfits and all the girls get fairy outfits, have I reinforced gender roles and damaged 17 children? What if all the girls want to wear the eye patches with their fairy wings and halos, is it okay now?

A took ballet this year. She had a real dance recital. We spent an hour on Sunday curling her hair and putting on her "stage" makeup. J commented that it looked like a real-life episode of Toddlers and Tiaras backstage at the rehearsal. When I was young, I took dance. We had a recital. My mom would spend over an hour curling my hair and fixing my makeup. (She put me in a toddler beauty pageant too! Tsk-tsk) When my mom was young, she took dance. She had a recital. Her mom would spend over an hour curling her hair and fixing her makeup. We all turned out okay. A pre-k aide, a 2nd grade teacher, and a 7th grade teacher, not a real princess, or worse among us.

I don't think this is an easy thing to talk about. People feel very strongly about the way we raise our daughters. In fact, there have been books written about how Disney is trying to steal our daughters away from us. I think that I am rambling a bit, but I have a lot of thoughts on this. So instead of jumping from thought to thought, I am going to direct you to Alison's blog. She is a much better writer than I, and she has articulated these thoughts in a much better way.


  1. I think you have articulated it quite well. It's like either you're projecting your superficial values on your child or you're a feminist, there is no shade of gray. Little girls like princesses and fairies because they are pretty, colorful, sparkly. I would rather she watch Sesame Street, but I don't think her watching Snow White for the 500th time will turn her into a submissive female who thinks she needs a man to save her or make her happy.

    Growing up I had a dress up box of my mom's old slips and heels and I ADORED Barbie. However, I completely felt I could be a star on SNL, a fashion designer, an architect, a teacher, an editor of a magazine, a writer and all the other professions I desired from age 4 to 22. My parents let me wear pink and frilly dresses, yet made sure I realized that I was a strong human being who could do anything she wished on her own. I wish people would stop judging the exterior and dig deeper and find out the person, toddler or adult, under that pink dress. And women should stop judging and holding back their own.

    1. Thank you Alison! I agree 100% with your comment, I don't know why it has to be all or nothing. Thanks for your great post, which inspired this one.