Monday, March 28, 2011

Ugghhh, I Have a Girl!

Before I knew my baby's gender I really hoped that I was having a boy. Now of course now that I have Nia I couldn't imagine having a boy, however I do go back and think about why I had this feeling to begin with. I am the oldest of four children - three girls then a boy. Watching my sisters compared to my brother taught me one thing: girls are DRAMA! I learned this from attending single sex schools from 8th grade through college as well. Honestly, I think I just wanted to avoid the drama!

There have been a couple articles in the news lately about the struggles of raising girls including one from WSJ which mentions how young girls are trying to be sexy and glamorous like the girls of The Hills, while their parents often encourage this behavior. 

The author of the article "Why Do We Let Girls Dress Like That?" addresses this question with her own theory of "how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, 'If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?' "

Now this article has caused a firestorm which I'm not surprised about in this age of double standards and our celebrity centric culture.

Another author who's been getting a lot of attention from writing Cinderella Ate My Daughter, discusses how the obsession with pink and princess culture is a flip on the feminism of the 60s and 70s. It's almost a reversal of what that generation fought for, but most importantly she emphasizes it's just a phase that young girls go through. {You can read the full NYT book review here.}

I definitely didn't have a princess phase - I disliked all things frilly and girly, but tolerated them for the sake of my mother. I had a pink bedroom and was dressed in crinoline, bows and ruffles. This was the #1 reason why I chose a very simple wedding dress with no decoration! 

I wonder if Nia will have a princess phase and if she does I don't want it to be from the things I push on her. I want her to develop her own likes and interests. She doesn't have many toys now, but walking by the toy aisle I cringe seeing how everything is pink and frilly for girls and blue and gray for boys. So annoying!

In contrast to these secular viewpoints is the author Dannah Gresh featured on Focus on the Family who advocates a movement on allowing girls to be little girls. She wrote Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl. She champions modesty, manners and allowing girls to blossom with as little pop culture influence as possible. I really like this approach, but I do no want my daughter to grow up naive as I felt I did. This is where living in NYC comes into play. I'm not sure how long we'll stay in the NYC metro area, but I definitely know kids here are more cunning and have more street smarts than kids from other parts of the country. However part of me loathes thinking I'm raising a NYC little girl. I don't want her to be snooty and precocious like many of the kids I see out and about who demand Starbucks and act so entitled!

I was searching for what others had to say about the topic and came across another blogger at Clover Lane who has a very long post about this issue. She's raising an 8th grader and laments:

Sexy, sexy, sex, sex, sex.  Everywhere. Walk by any teenage store.  Half dressed pouty sexy models with hardly any clothes on, or worse yet are the giant posters with boys and girls laying all over each other with hardly any clothes on.  The TV shows I hear these girls talk about watching.  Parents letting their children watch!  Have you paged through Seventeen magazine lately?  It's not our Seventeen magazine that's for sure. TV, Hollywood, the music industry...oh barf.  Pure barf all of the time.  PG-13 is the new R, what a scam.  Why would I want my 13 year old to see such trash let alone my 16 year old?  Once it's in their minds, it's never out.  It makes an impression whether they or YOU, are conscious of it or not.  Every image, every act, every word, it's in their brains forever.  Why would I want my children's minds filled with trash?  ALL these little impressions...day in and day out...add up to a difference in the way girls view their purpose, their bodies, their sexuality.  (If you have time, watch this on advertising and women....and just a tip of the iceberg.)

Like I said, I'm willing to fight the fight but it's a weary, sometimes lonely battle.  I dream of a revolution.
I fear what the future holds.  Can it get worse?  Oh, yes it can.  It seems the trickle down effect is moving at a faster and faster rate.  High school girls look, dress, experience what college-aged girls did in our generation, junior high seems like high school,  these little 4th and 5th grade girls all read, see, hear, dress like girls growing up too fast. Childhood ends now in what?  First grade?

There are over 200 comments on this post and many of them mention the same challenges. What do I have to look forward to in 12 years? I know each generation wrings its hands about how bad things are, but our culture is increasingly hyper-sexualized. For one thing I know I will be praying hard! My mother prayed a protective covering over me and I believe it worked.

For those of you with little girls how have you fared handling these challenges? Any tips on what I have to look forward to?

2 comments:

  1. Its a hard world to grow up in now thats fore sure. be confident in the parent that Gods made you and using His word as a guide I think will be what gets me through the next 18yrs! Good post

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  2. I share your concerns. Even though my daughters are only 4 and 2, I already some things coming out of the 4 year old that I am leary of. I can only confront issues the way I know how which is to try to talk about issues out in the open with her and her little sister. I hope it goes well.

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