Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sometimes raising a girl is TERRIFYING!

Last week, I came across the TV show Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC. In just the 30 minutes that it was on, I saw a 4 year old wearing fake boobs (as part of a Dolly Parton costume, but STILL), a 5 year old and a 9 year old wearing fake teeth, a 9 year old getting her eye brows waxed, and more. I could not believe my eyes. It is so hard to raise a little girl to find value in her personality, brain, humor, etc when society places so much emphasis on how she looks. A 2007 study by the American Psychological Association linked a premature emphasis on appearance with “three of the most common health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.”



On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are parents like the mother and father of baby Storm, who sent out their baby's birth announcement without stating whether the baby was a boy or a girl. They plan to raise their baby without a gender. Not even their closest family members know the sex of the baby. Although I think this is an interesting idea, this kind of choice is just not for me. 


Whether we like it or not, we do live in this society. There are parts of it that we can embrace. I LOVE being a woman! I LOVED being a girl! I loved barbies, princesses dress up, and all things girly while growing up. So, naturally, I share those things that I love with my daughter. I am not a mom that avoids "cutesy" girly things. My daughter wears tutus, bows and pink and her room is decorated in a princess theme. I do take the time to tell her each day that she is pretty. I think that while there are some extremes to avoid, such as a 4 year old wearing fake boobs, I think it is still important to build up my daughter's self esteem by letting her know how beautiful she is, because there are girls who go their entire life without their mother ever telling them that they are pretty. But, I also take the time to let her know that she is smart, talented, fun, silly, etc. I compliment her on all of the amazing things about her. I try not to have the focus be on her looks, but on everything that is great about her.


When baby M is old enough to make her own decisions about what she wears, what activities she likes, etc, I will let her be the one to decide. If she wants to be a tomboy, I will support it. So far, it seems like she likes to be girly too. She is always playing with my necklaces, she loves it when I put them on her for photos, she loves to play with her tutus when she is wearing them. Until she tells me she doesn't like it, I am enjoying dressing her up and having fun, just within boundaries. I think the extremes that are seen on Toddlers and Tiaras are taking things just a little bit too far. I think that children should NEVER have their hair dyed, eye brows waxed, teeth whitened, wear make up (unless it is halloween or for play time), wear fake boobs etc. The amount of attention that is placed on looks and beauty in the pageant arena are just a little WAY too much for me.

What are your thoughts? How much emphasis should be placed on feminine things when raising a girl? Do you avoid gender specific things all together? Does your daughter wear dresses and bows? Does your daughter do pageants? What do you think about baby Storm's parent's decision?

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21 comments:

{K} said...

Great post! I agree- toddlers in tiaras is a ridiculous show on
so many levels and sends the wrong message to little girls!
Like you, though, I love girly stuff and love being a girl. I've
dressed up my 2 yr old daughter in pretty dresses, bows etc
since she was born and she seems to love it. I don't see any
thing wrong with that.. I think it's all about balance. I also encourage
her to learn, be creative and more. We definitely don't focus
too much or only on appearance. The baby Storm issue is completely
ridiculous to me and I really think whatever point those parents are
trying to make could very well backfire down the road. Like it or not,
males and females are two separate genders and trying to pretend
they are one in the same is extremely odd to me. And that Storm kid
looks all boy anyway from that picture.

mrs.monica and family said...

I'm terrified of raising a girl! My son is energetic, but drama-free. I'm so afraid this little peanut will go through what I did growing up. Being a girl is even tougher now. I worry a lot! Thanks for the post! And if you think Toddlers and Tiaras is a mess, try Dance Moms on Lifetime! yikes!

Carli723 said...

I think in both cases, it is a matter of the parents putting the focus on them and not the children. The most important thing you are doing and will always do is show her that she is accepted by you no matter what! Yeah, raising a girl is difficult, but being a good parent and having a good relationship and being a good person to model will make all the difference! You should have no worries. Baby M has great parents dedicated to doing a fantastic job!

Debs Dealz said...

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Pam List said...

Great post and I am totally baffled by the non-gender raising thing for a child. Kindergarten will be rough. If the child shows signs of something different then that is the time to seek a specialist to see if they may be transgender.
I think general pretend play can be non-gender, but if a little girl wants a baby doll and you give her a truck what is the point?
If a little boy wants a doll, why not? I probably wouldn't by him a Barbie with sparkly but I am sure I could find something that could be a friend
new follower from the hop
Pam

Mommacan.com

Jamie L. said...

I've watched that show a few times and am always appalled. The parents have serious issues!

New follower from the thirsty thursday blog hop! Would love a follow back!

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Kay M said...

I agree on so many levels! Little girls wearing makeup during dress up is one thing. Wearing it to compete against other girls is just silly. I raised two adorable baby girls into wonderful women. They were and still are so different. One is down to earth, pragmatic, and thinks things through carefully before embarking on new adventures. The other flies by the seat of her pants, and is over the top adventurous. They are both great moms. I dressed them both in dresses, although I had to make sure the younger one had shorts on!

McVic said...

I think your post is great. Toddlers in full make up and boobs are way to much, and poor baby Storm's parents have made a huge deal out of something that didnt need to be at all... give the child ALL kinds of toys to play with, do not make the child feel that its sex male or female is something to be ashamed of and hidden. Thats scarry. You are Causing problems doing that. I had a brother and played with his cars, and he played with my barbies with me. Not a big deal- My girls are dressed like girls and my boy like a boy, and there are tons of toys and games that are not gender specific to keep them busy. Its just crazy.
kacee

Ashley said...

Hi! I'm your newest follower from the hop...GREAT post! Love everyone's responses, especially Kay M's response...lol!

I feel sorry for Baby Storm & for all the little girls in these pageants. I think the mothers are living vicariously through the children, & I don't believe it is healthy at all for the child to be subjected to those kinds of behaviors, attitudes, pressures. A child, boy or girl, needs love & acceptance, not to be paraded around inappropriately as the pageants allow an avenue for doing so, & the child's gender most certainly should not be hidden or ignored or squashed as if it were something bad. That, to me, is terribly disturbing!

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Working Mommy said...

Great post! I do see a difference between those glitz pageants - which you saw - and natural pageants, where they aren't allowed to wear ANYTHING fake or made up and are judged on their personalities and brains instead of their looks.

wm

Good Girl Gone Green said...

Gross that little girls are waxing their eye brows and wearing fake boobs! That is not for me! My daughter wears pink and every other color, like brown and blue.I tell her she is beautiful everyday too! And your daughter is very pretty!

Design It Chic said...

Totally agreeing with you that little girls wearing fake boobs, lashes, waxing and have their hair dyed is too much. It would be nice if the society will encourage families to help their kids be kids and live their innocent childhood in peace for a change, without interventions(aka fake boobs, lashes, and I've even seen Botox.. WHAT?!). Kids are beautiful in their innocence the way they are and we should encourage that, so I'm totally with you! Really glad I discovered your blog and I am now following you thanks to Friday Blog Hop, and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog;)
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oomph. said...

i think the show is ridiculous...i wont even watch it. i wouldn't want my kids to see it. my daughter is 11 and i still tell her she can't color her hair till she's 21, lol! and the whole non-gender thing is even more ridiculous! kinda makes me mad when i think about it. let the kids be kids!

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Rebecca said...

Cute blog! I'm a new follower and would love it if you could follow me back :)

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Kathryn Michelle Jenkins said...

cute blog and I love this post! It's hard for me to watch that beauty queen show and understand at all! it makes me sad. I want to keep every child's innocence as long as possible, not take it away with fake boobs, and lipstick. anyway, love the blog, haha and I'm excited to see future posts. I'm a new follower!

kathryn
www.thedragonsfairytail.blogpsot.com

corabeth said...

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Camilleta said...

I find that show horrible too. It's just going too far!

I am not really that girly and my daughter is extremely girly. Even at age 2, she knows what she wants. I want to buy her a cute purple short set, no! It's the hot pink dress with lace trim for her. I let her be who she wants to be and tell her she's pretty, smart, etc. every day. =)

I really don't know what to think about baby Storm! I think it's a great idea in theory but doesn't really work in real life. Plus I'm not sure if it's fair to the kid to grow up not being able to identify with a gender, he or she may never feel like they fit in.

Brae Craig said...

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Deals by Jason said...

I'm hopping tonight and am a new follower from GFC. I have two girls and they are going to stay little forever - a Dad can dream, right?

TigerEyes2001 said...

I've tried to give my daughter a good mix of everything. Her favorite color was pink until she was 7, when it changed to yellow. Now it's blue and she's 10. She's done pageants (NOT the ones seen on Toddlers and Tiaras! LOL) and she's played softball and soccer. She's currently a brown belt in martial arts. She isn't opposed to dresses, but realizes the restrictions they give her. She's very active (hyperactive, to be exact) so she prefers shorts over everything. She does like having her nails and hair done, and getting girly when the mood strikes her, but she's more likely to go play with the dogs in the yard and get dirty. I wouldn't have it any other way! :)

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Ama_La_Notte said...

I let my girls dress up and we play princesses. My oldest daughter started pretending to be a princess without prompting from anyone in the family. My 10 month old son already prefers the girl's "boy" toys like the dump trucks and helicopter to dolls on his own. I really think that they should be able to play how they want. Whatever makes them happy. If my son decides he likes dressing like a princess too that's okay by me :) I try to teach all three of my kids to love themselves and others no matter what.

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