Taking Back "Girl"


It's no secret that I'm a feminist. I'm an imperfect feminist, because I'm an imperfect human. But I'm a feminist nonetheless.

Raising a girl sometimes feels very high stakes for that reason, especially after the 2016 election and what that has meant for American society. 

I worry about people buying her only pink frilly clothes, but also about giving her the idea that something is inherently wrong with pink frilly clothes. I worry about teaching her that she can do anything, but also giving her the idea that she is therefore responsible for everything. I worry about teaching her that she can be strong and tough but also that no one person should be expected to be only strong and tough without every having doubts or worries.

Maybe all parents have this fear. But I definitely heard many times that having a boy is just easier. I'm sure not all boy parents feel this way- but there's definitely a vocal group that seemed to breath a little sigh of relief when their baby developed a penis. There's something about girls that is just better to not deal with.

However, something happened the other day that made me decide to reclaim the word "girl." 

I was getting Babycakes dressed for daycare, and she didn't want to wear the outfit I picked out. She wanted "Princess, Mommy, Princess!" My MIL bought her a sweatshirt with the Shimmer & Shine princesses on it. It's pink with a tutu. Now, I personally abhor the tutu thing...it's just impractical. But for some reason she's into this particular shirt at the moment. So I somewhat reluctantly got the "Princess" shirt and put it on her.

And she was so happy. Then we put on her grubby high-top Converse and she was also happy. And I realized something.

She's gonna go do exactly the same thing in that princess shirt that she would in any other shirt. 

She doesn't have any preconceived notions about what that shirt says about her. She's gonna climb those playground slides and fall  and stand back up and hit other kids and hug other kids and be exactly herself in that tutu just as she would in flannel or cotton or other damn material/style/color.

I don't know when "girl" became diminutive and offensive (or boy, either, for that matter). Girls are friggin' awesome. They are unencumbered by culture or society or expectations. They express a wide range of emotions. They are curious and questioning and always learning.

Girls are fucking amazing, and I hope I can live up to the label.

BREAKING NEWS: They aren't princesses! They are genies. We've never actually watched the show and I had to turn to a mom's group online to help me even figure out where the characters were from. Sorry guys. Anyway, my kid will not stop calling them princesses anytime soon soo...you get the point anyway I hope.

She also got this shirt for her birthday, and will be just as awesome and uniquely herself in it.


  1. Barely related, I had this super awesome Genie sweatshirt (like Genie from Aladdin) that made it into school photos one year because we forgot it was school picture day. #Win

    But to your post, I agree. I was with you the entire time and then you were like, BUT IT DIDN'T MATTER and I'm like, woah, she's right! Why didn't I think of that?! Because I am anti-over-pinking little girls but this made me realize that it only matters if you LET IT MATTER. +10 interweb points.

  2. LOVE THIS. When I worked at a preschool, we had this one little girl who HAD to wear her tutu and dress up shoes EVERY SINGLE DAY. Then... she'd go outside and play in the dirt. Sometimes eating the dirt. I told her mom one day that she was basically the image of feminism. She could run around in the dirt and do what she wanted - but BY GOLLY she was gonna be cute while she did it! Cause if you want to be both, you totally can be. Her mom loved that!

  3. I don't really worry about what I am putting Zoe in or what what types of toys I buy for her. She has some of the girliest of girly things...and she also has balls and cars and I see her playing with the group of boys at school just as much as the girls. I am not really sure why there is so much worrying about these things these days. They are going to do what they do, no matter what color they wear. You are right about that!