My daughters had two incidents this week where other kids asked them why they had boy stuff. The first time was when my nine year old daughter was in ski school and another girl asked her if she had a big brother because she was wearing boy clothes. My daughter was wearing a black parka and gray ski pants. My daughter told me that she lied to the girl, saying she didn’t have a big brother but she had a boy cousin who was older. The girl was wearing white ski clothes and her skis were covered with a pink design that my daughter thought might be birds.
My husband told my daughter, “Just say to her, ‘Did you eat something pink? Because it looks like you threw up all over your skis.”
I kind of like that. I need help from you about how to respond to kids like this. I know exactly what to say to adults but I don’t want to get all intellectual on kids. I also don’t want to shame the kid, even though part of me does. Here are my three daughters, learning how to ski, being brave, taking risks, trying something new, and some little kid makes them think about how they appear? How they look? ARGH.
Have you had similar experiences and what has your kid said or you said that you felt good about?
The next event happened to my six year old daughter. Usually she gets school lunch, but that day, she brought a lunch bag to school that is blue and gray. A boy in line asked her why she had a boy lunch. A boy lunch?
Again, the last thing I want my daughter focusing on is how her lunch looks.
The focus on appearance starts so young with girls, and I hate watching it get programmed into their growing brains. Kids are resilient but girl children get so much attention for what they look like, you can literally see them learn “how I look = attention= love.” Unlearning that message, when it is reaffirmed everywhere for a lifetime, is challenging to say the least.
If there were any way to win this battle of appearance= happiness, maybe I could get behind it. But there is no way for females to feel good about themselves when their identity and power is shrouded in how they look. Even if a woman spends all of her time, all of her money, and all of her mental energy on looking good, say she’s Kim Kardashian, people will still call her “fat” and “a hairy Armenian.” No woman who is in public on any level will escape being called ugly to insult and degrade her. But even say, magically, some woman were so perfectly “beautiful,” she was immune to ever having a bad photo on the internet. That woman will age and then she will be “ugly.” There is no way for a woman to win the “beauty” game. That is why I hate that tiny baby girls are taught by parents, doctors, and teachers that their bodies are valued for how they appear and not for what they do. And one of the saddest things ever is watching little kids do this to each other, because you know who has taught them this– us.