Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gender roles & stereotypical beauty.

I'm mad as hell right now, so forgive the rant.

I've always shied away from forcing my kids into stereotypical gender roles. I don't give the boys Legos & cars, while handing the girls play kitchens and baby dolls. My girls need to be prepared to me more than just mothers & my boys need to be able to do more than just the typical testosterone saturated activities. I would like them to be more well balanced individuals. So, I have always provided my kids with a variety of activities & never labeled things as "boy toys" or "girl colors". Over all, I've noticed that the way they play is very much the same & doesn't seem to diverge too much from one another until they become tweens. Then, as the boys are reaching puberty & testosterone is doing what it does, they are changing, of course. So, I call bullshit on that whole "little boys will be boys". Kids are just kids & they learn what they live.

So...onto the reason I'm pissed off tonight...

It has taken me a while to convince Lil Sis that it's perfectly acceptable to play with what are usually categorized as "creative toys" or to play basketball. Apparently, in her previously placement, they were considered boy things & she was directed to Barbie & anything they could find in pink...the more obnoxious the shade, the better, from the looks of it. She still feels the need to label it, but she'll at least try some things that she thinks of as boy activities.

However, I hadn't realized until tonight, how ingrained the typical mainstream idea of beauty is in this poor child. Tonight, when I was parting her hair to braid it, she begged me to flat iron it. Apparently, when they would give her scalp a week off, in between braided styles, he would straighten her hair & go on & on about how beautiful it is straight. This, of course, was simply because he didn't know how to deal with her AA hair. However, she took from this that her hair can only be beautiful if it's straight. This led to a conversation, of course...Turns out she also wants to be blonde, with light skin...you know...she wants to look like a Disney Tramp (yeah, yeah...I know y'all call them princesses...but I never had much use for princesses. I'd rather not be helpless, thank you very much.).

I explained that she was beautiful just they way she is. She assured me that I have no idea what I'm talking about because you have to look like them to be beautiful. So...my question is this: Do people not think about the messages they are sending kids, or do they know & just not care?


  1. You're little darling girl, is quite fortunate to have you -- and you her.

  2. It's so ingrained in most people that they don't even know they're passing it on. No wonder so many people are unhappy in life. They can't ever love who they are/what they've got and they don't even know why. It's hard enough to love oneself in this culture even without someone sabotaging you from childhood. Good catch, mama.