Thursday, November 21, 2013


It's been ages since I've posted on here, so there's probably no one out there anymore, but today I had a thought.  This is a thought that's taken some developing, so here it is, ready to come, ready or not.

The idea of "smashing gender stereotypes" is so old that it appears to be new again.  I was reminded of this as my 2-year-old daughter listened to my Strawberry Shortcake record from 1983 or so, which made fun of the boys wanting to help the girls carry their heavy baskets.  Strawberry Shortcake was the strong, independent girl who didn't need any help from boys.  And then I just saw this video, advertising the new "engineering" girls' toy, Goldieblox.  Aside from the fact that none of those 8-year-old girls know what a record player is, let alone who the Beastie Boys are, I think I get the message.  Baby dolls and pink things are for dumb girls who are stuck in the past, while smart girls want to be engineers.

Growing up I was one of those girls in that advertisement.  I liked science, and did not do dolls.  Every one of my heroes, from Strawberry Shortcake to Orphan Annie to Rainbow Brite told me that this was the way to go.  Even Barbie taught me that, way before Goldieblox.  In college I went into a scientific field where the men outnumbered women at least 10:1, sometimes more.  However, somewhere in there, I realized that I missed out on something.

God made me a girl, and there wasn't much I could do to change that.  This left me, at base, with an insecurity that needed to be dealt with, and I wasn't at peace until it was.  It wasn't until I realized that I could be a geologist, rock hammer in hand, smashing things in the field and be a lady at the same time that I was really secure in who I was made to be.  I wish someone told me you can be both: you can train to be a godly wife and mother, loving your femininity, and at the same love science, building, being dirty and outside, etc.

That's the problem with marketing to little girls the way Goldieblox does.  We've all been here before, and what we're doing is teaching girls that in order to be smart and brave they must despise being feminine and maternal.  This is not an either/or decision.  My little girl loves pink and babies and Disney princesses.  However, she is also intelligent (at 2 years old she can assemble simple Lego sets) and loves books, and I don't see any reason for teaching her that those desires are in competition.