The Pernicious Pink Princess Plot

Anna
I have a confession: My daughter likes pink, and princesses, and pink princesses. This isn’t something I forced on her, but I don’t discourage her either.

According to Kat Arney of The Guardian, I’m turning her into a passive pink princess:

The increasing separation of toys into “for boys” and “for girls”, strongly coded by colour and reinforced by highly gendered marketing, is depriving girls of active toys and games that encourage the development of their spatial and analytical skills.

Instead, they’re pushed towards being passive princesses, surrounded by fashion dolls, kiddie make-up and miniaturised vacuum cleaners. And at the same time, boys are denied opportunities for more social and imaginative play.

In a society that is fighting hard for equal rights for both sexes, it seems a retrograde step to be increasingly forcing our kids into these pink and blue stereotypes. Isn’t it about time we stemmed the tide of pink?

There are many adjectives I would use to describe Anna: smart, funny, cute, playful, imaginative, energetic, verbose, stubborn, defiant, and independent. Passive? No, she’s not passive.

Sometimes life would be easier if she was, but I’m glad she’s not.

She calls herself a princess, though, but I think that to her princess is another word for girl. That’s why when she’s in ballet she’s a ballerina princess, when she’s in gymnastics she’s a gymnastics princess, when she’s playing pirate she’s a pirate princess, and when she’s playing superhero she’s a superhero princess. It’s all a variation on fill-in-the-blank princess, with the blank being filled by whatever game she’s playing.

Because as much as she loves princesses, she loves other things too. Like superheroes. We thought she would be a princess for last Halloween, but instead she chose Supergirl. She still has her Supergirl costume in with her dress-up clothes, including several princess dresses, but also a vet coat and a firefighter coat—she loves to wear all of them.

And as much as she loves pink, it’s not her only favorite color. As she will tell anyone listening (or even not listening) “I have three favorite colors: red, orange, and pink.” Red actually came first, perhaps because girls have a slight preference for reddish shades (as mention in the linked article), or perhaps because she was two and was obsessed with Elmo. Pink and orange soon followed, and she has loved all three ever since.

She also reads books and plays with stuffed animals and dolls, and building blocks and balls.

In other words, she is a complex little person with her own likes and dislikes. Nobody’s forcing her into anything.

Anna as Supergirl

Who you callin’ passive?

Where I’ve Been

It’s been a long two-and-a-half weeks. Now that I’m back, here’s what kept me away for so long:

I Caught a Cold

It started on Fat Tuesday. Nothing but a cold, so I thought no big deal. As you’ll see below, I was quite wrong.

Lent

We celebrated Ash Wednesday as a family at the Carmel of Maria Regina. A simple, beautiful mass with the sisters and a small group of lay people. We tried to talk Anna into receiving ashes, but she wasn’t interested. Maybe next year.

Structural Editing

With the first draft finished, it was time to start rewrites and the first step any rewrite is to tear the original draft apart. I got through 241 of the 317 pages (just over 57,000 words) in a week’s worth of intensive editing. The rest of the draft needs more work—including a different ending—but I’ve made a good start.

The Rite of Election

The penultimate step in joining the Catholic Church. We drove up to Corvallis and Julia presented me to the archbishop who signed off on me. All that’s left is my First Reconciliation and my Confirmation in the Church at Easter Vigil. My dad is flying up to support me. He’s not Catholic and as far as I know he’s never been to an Easter Vigil. He has no idea what he’s in for.

My Cold Turned into a Sinus Infection

Everything above kept me bust for the first week I was off the blog. As for the second week, well, just as I though I was getting over my cold, I woke up last Thursday with with a 102° fever. My first thought was flu (so much for getting a flu shot) but as my fever came down and my now-constant headache focused onto my left cheek, I realized I had a sinus infection. I went to the doctor on Monday and am now on antibiotics.

Anna’s Ballet Show

Julia picked up strep around the same time I got my sinus infection. With Anna’s first show with Ballet Fantastique coming up on Saturday, we feared that she would get sick too and miss it. Thankfully, she didn’t, and she got to dance a simplified version of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Little Swans with her classmates. So cute.

Recovery

It’s taken a few days for the antibiotics to take hold, but Julia’s back to work and I’m back to my normal routine. Already thinking about what to post tomorrow . . .

Link

Ballet Dad

Julia Proverbs describes herself as a “fully-fledged ballet mum” in the Bay of Plenty Times (New Zealand):

“I have done the hair and the make-up. I have done the rehearsal drop-offs and pick-ups. I have gifted the Ballet Barbie on opening night in lieu of flowers. And I have mopped up the meltdown tears. Yep, it’s show time. Pre-school style.”

A fun story, much of which rings true. I’ve been a ballet dad since the spring. Makeup, though? The most Anna gets is a french braid and pink fingernails, and my wife takes care of that stuff.