Pinking sheared

Itching for a fight, Dad grinned and declined when I suggested he eat at least part of the dinner roll on his meal tray to soak up his two small cups of coffee.  He might just as well have said, "who's gonna make me?"  We compromised on a third cup of coffee with two creamers stirred in, and then a fourth cup with two creamers and half a sugar packet.  That was his nutrition for the day.

Norton the Rabbit did better.  He munched on fresh cilantro, mint, and oregano.  I took him out to the patio.  He went right to his favorite place behind the a/c unit.  There's only one skinny route to this spot, and no room for a wide, elderly bunny to turn around and get back out.  That means a wide and middle-aged preschool teacher was standing on her head trying to lift a fat rabbit out of the gorge.  Norton snorted his tough guy snort, but I still hauled him out of the tight spot and back into his cage.

The outcome was never in doubt.  I'm wearing my "Fight Like a Girl" t-shirt from Cary's race against ovarian cancer.  I am Rosie the Rabbit Lifter!

Read part of Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter:  Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture while Dad recaffeinated.  I'm enjoying her personal debates about raising a daughter in this consumer culture.  So, so thankful to have raised sons!  I only had to deal with guns, wars, army, Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, karate chops, paint ball, laser tag, contact sports, knights with swords, and camouflage pants.  I spent many years in the Olive Green Aisle at Toys R Us, and only entered the Pink Aisle as a tourist.

When I talk to my sons about discarding childhood possessions, they unanimously demand I not touch the "good wood rifles".  Playing with these guns did not turn them into criminals.  One son now works at the U.S. Institute for Peace, threatened by Republican budget cuts for heaven's sake!

How did playing with guns influence their imaginations?  Along with silver plastic swords, the good wood rifles let the boys play all the way from the Crusades to the Gulf War.  They were inspired to read, studied strategy, role-played, negotiated, and crept through the bushes getting fresh air and exercise.  They built model tanks and ships.  They survived the journey west on the Oregon Trail.  They blasted into space and figured out baseball statistics.  They developed the visual observation skills to identify aircraft flying overhead, while considering aerial maps and secret codes.  They tried to play beyond the range of grown-up eyes.

How do girls play in a tiara-filled, pinkified culture?  The preschool girls are distracted by their nail polish and sparkle blush.  They play princess, ballerina, butterfly, fairy, and occasionally branch out to shopping, mermaids, manicures, Dorothy, and practice for their post-princess attitude of cool/sassy.  They do not play history, sociology, geography, cooperative dramatic play, or problem-solving.  They talk about skin moisturizers and own more pairs than Prince Charming ever shoe-horned.  They hover nearby, looking constantly for adult reactions, recognition and approval.  I am worried.  Maybe none of them will grow up to style hair or trade their voice to meet the perfect guy...

 © 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

Glad Norton is eating well. Sorry about your dad, although he and I seem to agree that coffee is the perfect food.

Kim said...

Coffee with cream...breakfast of champions!

I am raising a girl that likes to look like herself. Not immune to advertising by any stretch of the imagination but she does filter it. Having an older brother might be a help...he pushes her to be a good athlete. But I have to say I think she came into the world with her own fully formed personality and for that I am blessed.

Collagemama said...

In a study of 5000 three-year old girls, girls with an older brother had stronger spatial skills than other girls and boys with older sisters.

Your daughter knows the best use of lip gloss is making ant traps!


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