I think it’s fair to say that geeks treasure being different. We relish in our weirdness and take great pride in the fact that we’re different, that we aren’t average. Being a geek is a source of pride for me, and when we found out we were having a girl we decided that our daughter wouldn’t look up to damsels-in-distress, our daughter would be told she was “good” or “smart” or “brave” – not “pretty” and no one would call our daughter “Princess”.
And then Princess Kitty was born, and that all flew out the window.
You see, kids are little people. As much as we’d like to think that it’s through our gentle molding that they become who they are (and a lot of it is) there is a whole person in there with their own ideas about what is cool that has nothing to do with what mom and dad planned.
Kitty has access to Lego, lots of Lego. She has a microscope and her own computer. She has superhero action figures and Matchbox cars, and she loves them all. But she doesn’t nearly love them as much as she loves Tikka Tikka, her baby doll. Or as much as she loves to dress her American Girl Doll in frilly dresses, or as much as she loves to BEG me to paint her nails.
She loves superhero movies, and we have a DVD library full of them. If you asked her what she wanted to watch though, she’s more likely to tell you “Beauty and the Beast”. She plays her Disney Princess video game in a hand me down blue Nintendo DS, but she has told me on multiple occasions that she wishes they made a pink one (she is unaware that they do).
You may think a lot of this resistance to the things we have steered her towards is due to the media. That may be partially true, there’s no escaping that. But we don’t have broadcast TV, she never sees commercials and the programs that she does watch are closely vetted by SD and I to make sure that they fit our criteria, one of which is the way the show handles gender-issues.
I tell you all of this because I have come to the following conclusion: some girls just like pink, and that’s okay.
I think this is harder for geeks to accept than the general public. Many girl geeks were shunned for their lack of interest in the girly pursuits of their peers. My guess is that most of the geeky moms reading this were the only girl who played DnD with a group of boys, or the only girl on the block who could beat Mortal Kombat 3. I was there, too and it was a lonely place. Now as moms our job is to protect our girls from those mean girls, to let them know that it’s okay to like math and to want to be an astronaut instead of a fashion designer. But what we really need to be doing is telling our girls that it’s okay to like whatever you like. That it doesn’t matter if you like Barbies or video games or princesses or Pokemon or all of those things. That it is important to be comfortable with whoever you are, and to respectfully and compassionately let other people be who they are.
How did I get on this tirade? Because some people on the internet have their undies in a bunch about Lego putting out a line of building sets that are targeted specifically to girls. The opponents of Lego’s “Friends” line seem to think that somehow by making a line that is being marketed directly to girls they are negating that girls can play with their other lines.
They are LOTS of girls out there who like the Lego sets that are currently available. They aren’t suddenly going to be banned from continuing to buy Lego City or Star Wars or Harry Potter because Friends has come out. The girls who don’t care about things being pink and “girly” are already Lego customers. But they realized that there are some girls (and boys) who do care about things being pink and pretty. There are some girls who would rather play house than act out a podrace. There was a market that they were missing out on. It was a sound business decision as evidenced by the fact that Friends has been sold out at all the stores I’ve been to since it was released.
If the Friends line gets one girl interested in Lego who wasn’t before and that girl goes on to discover a love of architecture or design or engineering, that’s a great thing.
In the little fantasy world I had before Kitty was born she looked more like the little girl in the great ad that Lego published two decades ago:
But in reality this is Kitty:
|To be fair one of her favorite things to do in this outfit was a “Zombie Ballet”.|