Why Girlie is Okay + DIY Fairy Wands
As a child every clothing item I owned was "gender neutral" primary colors. I grew up playing trains and Barbie with my brother and sister. We built with blocks and put on musicals. I can throw a football and play the piano. This is the way I was raised. Raised to think that a girl can do anything. It most certainly helped to make me the mostly confident person that I am today.
Gender differences, however, are fascinating.
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They are a well researched reality. Boys and girls are different. Their brains and bodies are wired differently. On the other hand, although we look at the world differently, we are still able to do most, if not all of the same things.
Enter: gender neutrality.
I want my daughter to believe this as well. She can do anything and be anyone she wants.
If she wants to build with blocks or play with trains, great.
If she wants to flitter like a fairy or play with baby dolls, super.
The struggle for me is that there seem to be two distinct schools of thought that don't allow much wiggle room.
Option 1: you are a gender neutral fan and you dress your child in yellow, green, and boy clothes. You encourage your daughter to play with blocks and trucks, pat yourself on the back and celebrate her gender neutrality
Option 2: you believe girls are girls. You dress them entirely in pink, purple and bows. They have every doll accessory known to man and encourage ballet. Boys on the other hand are boys. They live in a cloud of blue trains and yellow construction stuff.
The trouble with these options:
*I don't like yellow, green or gray. Sorry if I'm offending someone here, but I don't. Babies truly look adorable in just about anything, but I just couldn't bring myself to buy a stack of gray onesies.
*I like sports, but I also love polka dots. Can't a little girl play princesses and learn to kick a soccer ball?
*Why is it acceptable to most people that a little girl play with blocks, but less so that a boy dance ballet?
*Why is a girl wearing blue gender neutral, but a boy wearing pink flowers weird?
*Why is accepting that your little girl loves pink and fairies make you not a believer of gender neutrality?
Being truly gender neutral means that we accept the interests of boys and girls.
We ask them their opinion and we go with it. We don't push them to be one thing or another. We don't force them to wear a certain color or design.
We are accepting of boys doing girl things, girls doing boy things, boys doing boy things, and girls doing girl things.
It would be false to tell my daughter she can be anything she wants to be….except a fairy or anything else that is predominately pink. When she decided around the age of two that she only ever wanted to wear dresses I said okay and encouraged tights or leggings in the Winter.
Gender Neutrality seems too often to come from women on the less girly end of the spectrum. I get not girlie. I am not girlie.
I wear a uniform of striped tshirts and jeans or workout clothes.
I am far better at batting a baseball than dancing.
I admit a certain level of discomfort with little girls and their obsession with princesses. The idea of a girl waiting around for Prince Charming who will somehow magically fix all problems with his strong jaw makes me cringe.
Although I wear the occasional dress, I would personally prefer to camp, hike, climb, and play sports in shorts.
I, however, am not my daughter.
My little girl is a strong willed person with adamant opinions.
She is strong, smart, curious, a fan of the colors brown and yellow and loves trains, especially Percy. She has also been dressing herself since 17 months, refusing to wear pants since 24 months, and in love with princesses since the first time she saw a ball gown. She adores all things pink, purple, and glittery. However, if I were to deny her that girlie part of her identity, I would be refusing to accept a huge part of who she is.
I am a strong believer that there are very few wrong ways to parent a child.
I know everyone has strong opinions about what they are doing, but in general, I think parents need to do what makes them feel comfortable. This can be said for most things;
*teaching children foreign languages
*order and timing of introducing solid foods
*amount of exposure to the arts
*whether your boy or girl plays fairies.
I am not writing this in attempt to convince all parents out there to dress their daughter in pink or give their boys princess crowns.
I am only trying to say;
the next time you see a little boy and a little girl running down the sidewalk with fairy wings on his back, just smile. His fairy wings are not hurting anyone and neither are hers.
Why His Fairy Wings are a Good Thing : READ POST
What Everyone Ought to Know About Gender Stereotypes : READ POST
DIY Fairy Wands:
Every fairy apparently needs a wand or so some opinionated three year olds explained to me.
Here are some simple directions for making your own fairy wands.
Stick (at least one per person)
Wire + Wire Cutter (found at Craft Store)
*Note: pipe cleaners or string could be used in place of wire
The shared supplies; the wire, wire cutter, and sticks are placed in baskets on the table.
Create a work space for each child. I like to define ours with placemats, but this is not needed. I gave each child a small bowl of assorted beads.
Invite your child to make a wand.
Have them chose a stick and cut a piece of wire with which to work.
Start by stringing beads onto the wire.
(Tip: loop a bead at the end of the wire if you are working with younger children to prevent all the beads from falling off)
When they are satisfied with their beads, help them twist their wire around the stick or in a loop on the top.
There is really no wrong way to do this. I used two separate strings of wire. One to wrap around the wand and a separate one for the top circle.
Send your child off to practice casting fairy spells, while you tidy up art area.
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