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  1. #1
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    Default Avoiding the 'girlification' of little girls

    I'll start by saying I'm not even sure girlification is a thing. But anyway:

    I've always tried to avoid the obvious 'girly' stuff for my DDs in that I tend not to buy pink things or girly branded items or merchandise. And this has been ok so far, it can be avoided. But, as I prepare for DD1 to start school next year I'm finding it's becoming harder in that bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, shoes etc are all so girly. If it's not pink it's purple or still something obviously girly - flowers, princesses, typical girly characters of Frozen etc.

    I know I can still avoid this stuff but it's got me wondering whether my preferences are detracting from what would bring DD1, in particular, more joy?

    Does it really matter if I buy her a pink school bag, pink lunch box, Minnie Mouse water bottle or whatever? She would think that's so great! And she would be way more excited about it than a plain green water bottle for example. But does everything she interacts with have to be super girly just because she will think that's cool?

    I see her interactions with other girls where they are so proud to show off their Belle t-shirt or sparkly shoes etc. It makes me cringe for many reasons. But will my DDs feel like they are missing out without that stuff?

    Is it harmless, or is it perpetuating the stereotype?

    I'm having a bit of a personal dilemma with it all. Thoughts appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by YeahYeahYeah View Post
    I'll start by saying I'm not even sure girlification is a thing. But anyway:

    I've always tried to avoid the obvious 'girly' stuff for my DDs in that I tend not to buy pink things or girly branded items or merchandise. And this has been ok so far, it can be avoided. But, as I prepare for DD1 to start school next year I'm finding it's becoming harder in that bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, shoes etc are all so girly. If it's not pink it's purple or still something obviously girly - flowers, princesses, typical girly characters of Frozen etc.

    I know I can still avoid this stuff but it's got me wondering whether my preferences are detracting from what would bring DD1, in particular, more joy?

    Does it really matter if I buy her a pink school bag, pink lunch box, Minnie Mouse water bottle or whatever? She would think that's so great! And she would be way more excited about it than a plain green water bottle for example. But does everything she interacts with have to be super girly just because she will think that's cool?

    I see her interactions with other girls where they are so proud to show off their Belle t-shirt or sparkly shoes etc. It makes me cringe for many reasons. But will my DDs feel like they are missing out without that stuff?

    Is it harmless, or is it perpetuating the stereotype?

    I'm having a bit of a personal dilemma with it all. Thoughts appreciated.
    I have a four year old DD and I can relate. From early on we purposefully balanced out what she wore, minimised the frou frou.

    The reason is that I didn’t want her always receiving attention about her looks that really just validate the whole “look at her, isn’t she adorable in that outfit!!! So cute!!!!!... she’s going to be a heart breaker”.

    Turns out it’s also way more practical as dresses get in the way of an active child! So lots of jeans and primary colour tops and fun clothing, rather than girly specific clothing. Result - Didn’t receive that sort of attention. I know because the girly girls in my mothers group did.

    The upshot is that she’s a really well adjusted kid - I got her to pick and choose early on - which pajamas do you wanna buy? Pink unicorn or super hero? And you know what - she loves super hero’s and she loves frozen. She loves teenage mutant ninjas and she likes shimmer and shine. She lives playing with boys - confident - and loves playing with girls. She loves tea parties, and she loves kicking the ball with Daddy.

    I say go with what you’re comfortable and give your child space to choose.

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  4. #3
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    Thanks Phia.

    My efforts haven't diminished the girliness of DD1 to be honest . It became obvious quickly the limitations of our influence.

    I too feel incredibly uncomfortable with the constant comments on a little girls appearance. My DD1 responded to this from a shockingly young age, which just proves it does have an impact.

    You make a good point about choice though. And that's part of my struggle - if I indulge the super girly stuff, then it's not really a choice, it becomes more of a conditioning issue I guess.

  5. #4
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    My DD is much younger (2.5) so it hasn’t become as big an issue yet but I understand where you’re coming from. I generally just get DD a wide variety of stuff. She has very ‘boyish’ clothes that I’ve brought from the boys section, pink frilly dresses and everything in between.
    And toys are the same, trucks, trains, dolls, whatever.

    With lunch boxes you could get eg a blue lunch box with pink name label or something? Mix it up a bit.

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  7. #5
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    Maybe something like this for a backpack
    IMG_2117.jpg

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    I also tried to avoid gender stereotyping in clothing etc for dd1. But you know what? She loves pink and she loves frills anyway. While I’d prefer she wanted the gender neutral items, I’m not about to deny her her generally harmless preferences (within reason). So for my two cents, I’d let her choose her own backpack etc. I think if you maintain a hard line of no pink, no frills, etc then when she does get old enough to choose what she wants there may be a hard kick back the other way anyway. There’s nothing like a parent outlawing something to make it super appealing!

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  11. #7
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    Agree with BettyV. There’s going to come a stage where pink is not cool at all. I’ve neither pushed nor held back girlie stuff. They normally choose outfits that are comfortable but pretty. We’re a leggings house over stockings.

    They are happy well adjusted girls. Because I’m a solo mum when I’m at work my dad minds them. They can identify a hacksaw and love working outside with him.

    I see girlification more to do with how you treat them rather than pink and frills. Can they jump in muddy puddles? Are they allowed to rough and tumble? Can they do independent thought? Do they have confidence to stand by their choices?

    My DD is in prep and they had a horse racing themed day a couple of weeks ago. My DD was adamant she wanted to be a jockey. All the other girls were fashion on the field ladies and my DD snared best dressed for her jockey costume. I was proud of her for not following the crowd

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  13. #8
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    I always try to present alternative options to my daughters, but the truth is that they do make a beeline for the pink, the glittery, the frilly and super stereo typically feminine. I don't allow any type of impractical clothing (so clothing that is not suitable to play in, or footwear that is uncomfortable or flimsy). I model assertiveness, and respect being expected, and their father is a great role model in how women should be treated so I tend not to sweat the pink stuff. I understand the potential harm for being pigeon holed into one type of play or image, but if they are being offered the world of choice I think it's "ok" if they choose to go with the typical one.

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    My DD always had a mix, not because I have an issue with girly stuff or boyish stuff but because DH loves comics and pop culture. So on her 3rd birthday one party she dressed as rapunzel, the other a hobbit. She went through a phase of loving totally girly stuff in the young primary years and I happily got that for her.
    I get just as many comments on my sons looks as my daughters I don't think gender greatly changes that.
    Until he came along I didn't realise how much a kid could truly love cars, trucks, and machinery. But at the same time he also got a little boy doll at Xmas last year and carried that around for awhile. I don't mind whether he loves 'boy' things or 'girl' things or a mix of both.
    Is restricting her from the 'girly' items pushing a concept of gender (the idea that girls 'shouldn't' like traditionally girly things) on her as much as giving them to her? Just my thoughts

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    I don't think what style of clothes they choose to wear is the issue. Would you tell a boy he had to wear a pink dress to stop him from becoming too boyish? No, it wouldn't cross your mind to do that. You might avoid shirts that have sayings about boys being loud/dirty etc but you can easily avoid shirts that tall about girls being princesses etc. Kids styles change so much as they grow...I think it's important to let them be happy with what they are wearing.
    I had a couple of rules when my kids were little...nothing with princess on it and nothing with characters on them (because I think they're awful and hated the idea of my child being a walki g advertisement...if they got desperate underwear and pj's were my limit).
    You will never stop the 'beautification' of girls in society, but you can help...eg. If they paint their nails talk about what fun colours their nails are instead of telling them how pretty they are, set examples yourself so that beauty doesn't become the thing they obsess over (eg. Be careful with your wording about your own looks/clothing style. If you're the type of person who has to have a face full of makeup and hair done immaculately to step outside then expect the same from your kids etc). Open them up to all opportunities, let them experience lots, set examples with your DH (eg Do the non traditional roles in the house...like DH will be cooking dinner while I'm out washing the car type pf thing). For me, it's our actions that carry so much more weight over what clothes they choose to wear. One of my teenage daughters is torn between deciding if she wants to be a hair stylist (as she's super creative) or an engineer. This was my aim....for any daughter of mine to not feel pigeon holed in to picking 'girly' clothes/careers, but feeling confident enough in themselves to pick what will make them happy. The fact that my daughter had a pink obsession as a pre-schooler has had no bearing on her life (and she wouldn't wear pink if you paid her to now).

    ETA - on the beauty thing. I tell me kids how beautiful they are regularly enough. They are beautiful. Beautiful people inside and out. I just make sure I'm not only telling them when they are all dressed up, however body confidence has been a huge thing for me to teach my kids. Socoety basically says that girls/women are to be told how beautiful they are their whole life, but can't be happy with how they look. Stuff that! I want my kids to feel confident in their looks and not look in the mirror and wish for a smaller nose/bigger boobs etc. I want them to think 'this is me, and I'm happy with who I am.' I have made sure that their beauty doesn't define them, but they felt confident in who they are and how they look (eg they got to pick what they wore from a very young age unless it was for something really important like family photos or a wedding...they had some hideous combinations but if they felt comfortable and confident I wasn't telling them otherwise). For me it's not about not allowing them to wear pink/shave their under arms/enjoy dressing up etc...it's about making sure they know they have the options and letting them decide what they feel comfortable and confident in regardless of what anyone else thinks.
    Last edited by Full House; 15-11-2017 at 06:22.

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