In our Daddy Issues series, a father of a young daughter seeks guidance, hoping to raise a strong woman. He looks to you, dear readers, for insight.
It amazes me to think there was a time when young girls weren't dominated by the color pink.
This wasn't all that long ago, relatively speaking. Does the line "Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes" ring a bell? If Maria were singing about her favorite things today, it might sound more like "Girls in puffy pink cotton ball something something ... sashes." (I know, I know. I totally missed my Broadway calling.)
And then there's the early Disney princesses. The original color of choice for Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella? Blue. Go back even farther, back when clothes had to be boiled and bleached, and pretty much every baby — boy or girl — wore white.
I found all this pink princess evolution fascinating while reading a review the other day of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, but what really stuck with me was the far-reaching impact of breaking up everything — clothes, toys, sports equipment — into the colors of today's gender roles. Blue for boys. Pink for girls. In the end, the two sexes don't learn to play well together very early on because of these divisions.
The review quotes from the book about what could happen: "This is a public health issue. It becomes detrimental to relationships, to psychological health and well-being, when boys and girls don't learn how to talk to one another...Part of the reason we have the divorce rates we do, domestic violence dating violence, stalking behaviors, sexual harassment is because the lack of ability to communicate between men and women."
I try to be aware of breaking through gender roles when playing with my daughter — not just playing pink princess dress-up all day long. But I can't help thinking the above is taking things too far. Is it really dangerous for boys and girls not to play with one another? This is one book I'm excited to read.
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!. He had no girl buddies at a young age.
Image by Lauri Apple.