There was a lot of chuckling when I found out I was having a daughter. If you are a woman, but not girly, not traditionally feminine, it seems that other women especially are eager to have you pay in some way for that. How dare you be different? A lot of people broke out the pitchforks, eager to poke me in the thighs so that I would dress my daughter in pink.
My mother gets an exemption for this. That poor woman walked over all of creation trying to find dresses for me without frills. Or ruffles. Or lace. Or adornment of any kind. That were not pink. In Iowa. During the 80's. Yes, I wore a lot of sailor dresses. And yes, she really does love me.
But everyone else seemed to think that I would have to start liking dolls and lace and decorate my kid's room in pink. And I didn't and people fretted and harpied me and wow, do people need to butt out. I have been bitched at for dressing my child like a boy and painting her room aqua and for not putting bows in her hair. Our definition of girlhood seems sort of stupid to me--there is nothing wrong with any of those things but it seems sad to me that those are the only things that should matter.
Secretly I didn't think this would matter. My girl would wear track pants and Ramones t-shirts and Converse sneakers. And she DOES. But there are also dresses that twirl a bit and the way she demands hair cream after her bath and her obsession with her mary jane shoes.
For the record my daughter has a doll, and a doll stroller. She has bears and books and blocks and toy kitchen. I bought many of things for her or bossed some one else into buying them.
And for the record she wears pink! Hot pink, usually, because she is pale like me and pastels aren't her colors.
And she wears dresses. Though this is her choice. Because my girl loves dresses. If given the choice she will always choose a dress. I usually put them over pants because this is the northwest and it is usually rainy or chilly and also girlfriend has enough bruises without going pantsless all over the universe. But her love of dresses is enough that I have bought half a dozen in the past couple of weeks--I don't want to do too much laundry.
I do this not because I have to but because she loves them. Because they make her laugh and beam and smile. And I will keep cruising the sale racks, finding fun and funky dresses I know my girl will love. I do this because I want to.
I don't have to do anything.