In a few weeks, there is pink coming to my house. A little girl, Olivia Grace. She looks perfect, delicate, cute on the ultrasound. We watched her kick and squirm and suck her thumb, much we saw her brother doing two years ago.
In between the looking at the pink furry blankets, checking out the sweet baby dresses, and making lists of what I will need for her, I sometimes sneak a peek at my future–the older girl’s clothing section. And then I decide that my future, and Livie’s future, does not involve the wearing of sweatpants with the word “Brat” emblazoned on the butt. Or a skimpy two piece bathing suit at the age of seven. Or anything having to do with Justin Bieber.
This is what frightens me about raising a girl. The world is going to try to sell her so many lies, just because she is female.
It’s going to tell her that she has to look a certain way in order to be pretty.
It’s going to tell her that she can’t be too smart or boys won’t like her.
It’s going to tell her that boys liking her is the most important thing ever.
And I’m going to be here, telling her, you can do anything. You can be anything. You can be a stay at home mom and raise beautiful little grandchildren for me. You can be a teacher, a nurse, a journalist, an engineer, you can work in any traditionally male field you want–even emergency medicine or firefighting.
Boys are not all that important, especially until you are at least 25 and maybe then you can notice them.
A “nice guy” who mistreats you or others in any way is not a nice guy, and should not be in your life. (Also, if you have problems telling him to leave, call me. I’ve never had issues telling people what I think of them, especially when it concerns my children.)
How you look is not nearly as important as how you behave, no matter what the world tells you.
You are strong. You are smart. You matter.
But those are hard messages to get across in a world of Bratz and Disney Princesses waiting to be rescued. It’s a hard message to get across in a world where little girls are sexualized in beauty pageants and the tween aisle at Walmart. I have hope, though, because I know Olivia’s world will be filled with strong, solid female role models. I know she will see the women in her life making choices that are not always traditional, but are right for them. I trust that she will grow into a strong, capable woman who does not rely on peer pressure and modern culture to tell her what she must be.
But until then, no, there will be no emblazoned-across-the-butt sweatpants in this house.