My daughter is sometimes mistaken for a boy by strangers. Occassionally it upsets me but to be honest, her outward appearance at-first-glance can be “boyish” because she loves wearing jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes (with Transformers, Cars or aliens on them), her curly hair is usually down and she is rarely ever in pink. Sometimes, she does wear clothes that are pink or with flowers or hearts, but they tend to be subtle and not scream “I’m a girl!”
These days it seems that gender roles are played upon heavily. All of the toys on television are really catered to either boys or girls. Rarely is a toy for children over the age of 2 gender-neutral. Girls should wear princess costumes and play with dolls, and boys should all want to be superheroes and play with trucks, right? Not true. Nothing is set these days. I say let kids be who they want to be. All of my daughter’s baby dolls have boy names. She doesn’t care if they are wearing bright pink with butterflies – that means nothing to her. I tell her that people, kids and adults, can wear whatever makes them happy. Lilah loves being around boys, but she also loves to take care of a younger little girl at her school. It’s the reason she is excited to go. What does it all mean? It means she is who she is.
I’ve read articles suggesting that many girls act like tomboys because they have only older brothers or are the child of a single male parent. I’m sure that can be a factor. I am an only child and was at times a tomboy (still am). My dad taught me about power tools and yard work and my mom taught me how to sew and clean the house among other things. I hope to pass this all on to Lilah, and also hope that her daddy will pass on his gardening and cooking skills. Is that why? Maybe, but it could be simpler than that. My daughter is incredibly physical and active. When I ask her why she likes “boy things” she simply explains that boys have more fun, meaning they tend to run, jump, and climb which are all of her favorite things. She’s told me she doesn’t like dresses because it’s harder to do those things in them. The few times she has worn a dress to school, her friends that are boys give her positive compliments and tell her she looks beautiful. She certainly likes it, but she is not willing to wear dresses regularly for more compliments.
I just want my daughter to be confident, have a good sense of self, and not be afraid to show it. If that means she wants to play with a lightsaber and dress like Spiderman for Halloween then so be it – if not, I’m happy with a girly girl too. I just feel lucky to have this perfect, smart, funny and gorgeous child in my life.
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