Rogue (as I call her on this blog) is not even a year old, and I am shocked at how much she has changed my point of view on life. When we had Superman (our son and first born) my world was forever changed. He made me a mother, I learned SO much about myself, my husband, our relationship, babies. I grew into this new role of motherhood and it changed my life. However, I was completely unprepared for how much my daughter would change me, and what issues would be brought to light as important to me, just by giving birth to her. Because of her I have a new appreciation and passion for feminism.
When I was growing up the term “feminist” painted a picture in my head of some b*tchy lady hating on men. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I understood what feminism is really about. It is EQUALITY between the sexes, not women getting MORE than men or men being considered bad guys. In fact a lot of men (my husband included) are and should be feminists themselves. It’s simply about wanting equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their sex. What I realized when I had Rogue was how important being a feminist is. All of the sudden I saw inequality (even in young girls) everywhere. It was in the countless movies that didn’t have a single strong female character. It was in the clothing that told her she was “too pretty to do homework” or that she was “training to be batman’s wife” when most of Superman’s clothes boasted lines of being a genius and a strong – both physically and mentally- person. This just didn’t sit right with me. I want my daughter to grow up knowing she can be whatever she wants to be, and yet I am shocked to see how many messages out there tell girls that this isn’t really so. It might not sound like a big issue, if you haven’t noticed it. I sure didn’t before I became mother to a little girl, now I see it and I can’t ignore it.
I want to see more strong women in the movies my daughter will watch. I will say, though, there are some great movies out there that are giving the lead to the ladies. The Star Wars franchise (a personal favorite set of movies of mine) showcases wonderfully complicated, strong and intelligent female leads! We all know princess Leia made great strides in being a strong female roll model. More recently The Force Awakens and Rogue One have introduced two more characters that are women who are more than damsels.
Clothing can also be a culprit for pigeonholing our little girls. Honestly most of them aren’t too bad, but you hear about some of the phrases retailers come up with (and yes the “I’m too pretty to do homework” one really happened), and you just shake your head. While Rogue wear’s her fair share of “I’m cute” shirts (because she is cute, gosh darn it! ) I make sure to balance her wardrobe with outfits that also speak messages of strength and intelligence. Most of these come from shops involved with Clothes Without Limits. Haven’t heard of them? I’ve added some links below. Check them out and be forever changed!
Along with balanced messages in clothing our house always offers a balance of toys for any interest. Really I never gave this sort of thing much thought until people looked at my husband and I strange for getting Superman a play kitchen. I mean really. Even the lady we bought it from asked how old our daughter was (hint… she didn’t exist at the time). It never struck us as strange to let him play with any toy he wanted to play with. Dolls included! One of Superman’s favorite toys is the dollhouse my husband gave him from his own childhood. And I tell you what, nothing helps a toddler grasp skills like potty training like playing it out with a doll house.
Food toys and dolls are usually grouped into the “girl” section of some of the more antiquated toy stores. So girls play house and boys play with action heroes, trucks and trains… there’s no middle ground? Why the divide? Target getting rid of their gendered toy aisles is an excellent start for retailers. Boys and girls can play with whatever interests them, and it’s a step in the right direction to break down labels that tell girls and boys what they are “allowed” to play with. We will be just as supportive of Rogue playing with trucks and trains… actions heroes or tools, it doesn’t matter! I’m happy to see so many other parents out there doing the same for their kids.
I’m so grateful for this new and broadened outlook -all thanks to Rogue. Really it’s amazing how having kids changes you. This sort of thing was never much of a concern in my mind pre-kids, even pre-daughter! And now… well let’s just say we love girl power in this house!!
The outfits pictured: