"Mom, come see the mama of the doll house." Tessa called out to me.
"See, she's doing push-ups. Like your da mom and you do push-ups".
I am reading a book right now called "Cinderella Ate My Daughter", about raising daughters in a culture of the sexualization of young girls. I never thought about the possibility that Sleeping Beauty with her 12 inch waistline and impossible grace could be setting a high, glittery bar for my daughters to try to measure themselves up against. Then there is Ariel, who literally gave away her ability to speak for herself, all to win a man. "You have your looks, your pretty face, and don't underestimate the importance of BODY LANGUAGE!" The sea witch calls out to a not-good-enough princess with the shake of her ample bosom and rump. Eee-gads! What have I been pushing on my girls?
There was a time when I didn't allow pink into my vocabulary, let alone into my house. That was back in the days before I let toy guns and video games in, too. But somewhere along the path between the enchanted forest and my house, they started sneaking in. A sparkly gift from an aunt. A princess be-decked t-shirt in a bag of hand-me-down clothes. And now when I do laundry, I am not sure who I am folding clothes for; my girls or Walt Disney. When it all started my protests were centered in the lack of imaginative play that such single-storyline toys inspired (or didn't inspire). Now I am realizing I have overlooked something far more insidious. I am allowing things into my house that, in the most subtle of ways, tell my daughters they are not good enough as who they are, and that they need to change to get love.
It took a long time to move all those princesses in here.
It will take a long time to move them out.
Listen up, Your Royal Majesties!
This is your official eviction notice!
Most of them, anyway. I won't ditch them all, but what little girl needs six Disney Princess nighties? I swear, if my girls threw up, it would be pink and purple. And sparkly. And little blue birds would fly down to wipe off their chins.
In the mean time, I am thankful that my girls are also getting another message; take care of yourself, stay healthy, be strong. I hope that I don't also pass along to them the messages that were passed to me; you are a victim of your body type, you are what you weigh, and -the worst of all- : if you can't be smart, be pretty. If you can't be pretty, well, work on your talents or something. I want these young ladies to grow up with a firm stance in truth, an understanding of their divine worth, a belief in themselves and their potential, and an appreciation for their unique beauty.
I never imagined that just by exercising in front of them
I could send them that kind of message.
Sometime last week I asked Ellie to do a particular job.
"I'm not super strong like you, Mom. I don't work out everyday."
"Nice try, chika."
This morning Ellie worked out with us.
Lately, Tessa and Ellie both join in for a little while most mornings.
Follow, follow me.
Mommy-Daughter Night at church last month.