Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Our Daugthers Are MORE Than Just Princesses!

Have you seen the ad buzzing around the internet that turns gender roles on its head? This commercial simply nails it. It illustrates why our daughters deserve more than pink tutus, mani/pedis, and tiaras. This is exactly the kind of messaging I hope more and more toy and animation companies come to embrace. The original video which has since been removed from the internet had lyrics such as these:

"It's time to change. We deserve to see a range... We would like to use our brains!
Don't underestimate GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!"

Sure, this isn't to say little girls should no longer play with dolls or wear pink, but it means we have to change the stereotypical story. For too long we've pigeonholed kids into two categories: blue & tough for boys and pink & pretty for girls!  Beyond that simple but almost standard belief something deeper is at play. Somewhere along the way boys are harold as crafty engineers designing trucks and cars with legos while little girls are praised for being pretty princesses playing dressing up with crowns and gowns. Engineer versus princess is a huge disparity if you ask me. Of course this might not be the intention of most parents, but I've played into it plenty and sometimes without even realizing it. 

Every time I'd dress up my daughter and as I was done doing her hair, I'd say "go show daddy!" It was just something I always did. But wait, why did daddy (a man) have to validate her? Why should his usual response of "ohhh and ahhh" over how pretty she looked matter so much? I didn't stop doing this, but I did change the messaging. Having a son 16 months younger made that easy. Now, I also ask my son to run and show daddy when he's ready. Both are equal in this daily ritual and daddy doesn't get to play into either side's "role". He's simply admiring his children as equals. And that moment is no longer about a "daddy admiring his princess." So we try to stay away from image-limiting statements i.e. "so pretty" for her and "so tough" for him. 

Ultimately we praise our children for their hard work. We admire most what they can control (their effort, not looks) and what they can become in spite of male/female stereotypes. They can both work hard, wear pink, be strong, strive to become engineers, wear blue, become scientists or whatever their great big hearts desire. They are capable human beings regardless of gender just like the three kiddos in the above ad! 

What's your take on this ad? 
Do you think there's a need to change the messaging in gender roles?

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