It's been a balancing act, trying to raise a strong little girl without letting my anti-princessy bias overpower her childhood. Last birthday, Grandma gave her two giant Barbie heads with make up kits to apply on them, and a Barbie horsewoman. Inwardly I cringed, but Zilla managed to spend her 1st 5 years on earth Barbie free. And we had the "Not Chicky" coloring book to counter balance.
I survived having Barbies as a child, and grew up to dismember them and use the parts to make giant Feminist artworks on canvass with titles like "For Women With Pointy Little Feet" and "With Fully Opposable Limbs and Realistic Eyelashes". Sometimes you have to experience a negative cultural stereotype before you can grow up to overthrow it.
When our other Grammy gave Zilla a craft box of Disney Fairies last week, I encouraged her to say thanks, but she wrinkled her nose in disgust and said, "Yuck. Disney fairies." The Barbie Grandma was over as well and in surprise exclaimed, "What? We don't like D.I.S.N.E.Y.?"
"Her MOTHER doesn't like..........." my own Mother declared, while my MIL nodded knowingly.
"I like woodland fairies and stuff from nature. Disney fairies are lame," my pint sized punk rocker declared. I backpedaled and justified all over the place, explaining that I just had an issue with images of girls imprisoned in towers or sleeping their lives away, waiting to be rescued by prince charming.
I reassured the Grandmas that I'd rented all the princessy classics once, so Zilla wouldn't have a total disconnect from her Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Tinkerbell, Ariel obsessed classmates. But, I explained to them that we OWN strong, independent girl films like Matilda, Harriet the Spy, and a whole host of excellent films by Hayao Miyazaki like Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away.
The day after the Tinkerbell craft, I had to grit my teeth again. We went to see The Chicago Blackhawks play and met up with a whole Ice Crew of Barbies who gleefully urged Zilla to come pose with them and excitedly chirped about her being a future Ice Girl. Of course, my husband thought that was hilarious and eagerly snapped off a few shots, because he knows how I feel about "The Shovel Girls".
My otherwise supportive husband loves to tease me about my aversion to the shovel girls. I just think it's demeaning to have them skate around in skimpy little shorts, doing a token bit of ice scraping, while fat former frat boys wolf whistle at them mercilessly. I'm all about girls having choices, and sure nobody forced them to be Ice Girls, but cultural stereotypes that value that kinda thing.
The ice shoveling guys are old farts in full jumpsuits. I just think the Shovel Boys should be Chippendale Dancers in g-strings or the girls should get to bundle up. Fair is fair. My husband argues that women fans get to see all the guy hockey players. Sure, I like to see an excellent athlete in action, but they're in full pads and helmets, so what's to see. And even the hot ones are mostly missing their front teeth--and not in cute little kid way.Still, I think I'd rather have a goalie for a daughter, than a shovel girl! Girls are not Chicks is available in Chicago at Quimbie's Queer Store and at etsy.com.