It pisses me off that toys are separated into “boys” and “girls.” Not all toys, I suppose. Puzzles usually have “boy” or “girl” themes but the puzzle itself isn’t considered to be “boy” or “girl.” But if anyone is at all unsure if gender is indeed a social construct, visit the toy department of any store or drive through McDonald’s and order a happy meal. The latter galls me so much that I’m liable to go off on the next McDonald’s employee that asks me if I want the “boy” or “girl” toy. And for me, going off looks more like the socratic method than an episode of Jerry Springer.
My cousin shared this clip from The Daily Show on Facebook and it got me thinking.
Does the Muslim practice of wearing a hijab oppress women?
The woman in the clip argued that drawing a connection between the garment and oppression was in itself offensive. Her argument is based on three assumptions. One, the hijab neutralizes sex appeal. Two, sex appeal is a reliable determinant of female empowerment. Three, we can objectively separate the garment from the custom.My initial reaction to the video was that she made an interesting point. But something didn’t sit right.
The day before yesterday, I met the most charming 10 year old girl, named Mia. (Really, her name was Mia. It’s just a coincidence that one of the Morrow Girls is also named Mia.) I was at the neighborhood park with my 3-year old daughter. Just to paint the scene here…everyday after school I pick my daughter up from the school bus, which is literally a stone’s throw from the park, and she begs to go to the playground. She’s obsessed with the slide. So, on this day in particular, I cave and follow behind my toddler, who really needs a nap more than she needs playtime. And who do we see swinging to and fro on the monkey bars? Mia.
Friday is generally my mommy day. From morning until night I’m 100% focused on my daughter. No writing. No checking my email. Nothing but momminess. So, this past Friday we watched Frozen. Well, actually I watched Frozen. She can only sit still for 30 minutes tops.
Some of you may know that I generally harbor nothing but disdain and frustration for Disney and their portrayals of “princesses.” There is the color/ethnic thing but also I’m sick and tired of stories that romanticize women who can’t take care of themselves. Brave was a breath of fresh air (but then they had to go and give Merida a makeover) so I didn’t have high expectations for Frozen.
Much to my surprise, Frozen was much better than I expected. Well, technically it came close to being as I expected but it missed the boat at the last minute. The “Prince Charming” turned out to be a conniving phony that preyed on our princess’s desire to finally feel loved. And the major shock came at the end when…wait for it…the princess saved herself! To put icing on that cake the princess danced off into the land of happily ever after with her sister.
Good job Disney!
My daughter is just about 2 years old. I’ve noticed that at times my instinct is to tell her “NO” more often than is really necessary. To avoid having to clean up after her or get some peace and quiet, etc. But that’s ridiculous. Kids play. They make a mess. They make noise. They get pissed and frustrated and they ask questions. How we deal with that will shape the kind of adults that they grow up to be.