27 November 2013

No Damsel in Distress

Today I got another "Oh jeeze, your that kind of a parent" stare when explaining to someone (after they asked) that I do not allow my daughter to watch Disney princess movies or play with barbies. This look is something I am used to at this point in my very short parenting journey, as I have come to understand that Kev and I have many parenting ideals that differ from mainstream society. 

I often times don't feel the need to explain the way I parent; However, the last few months have seemed like a constant barrage of questions and insulting comments. 

"You can't protect your child from everything."
"One little movie wont kill them."
"Your children are going to hate you."
"Why is your three year old rear facing?"
"You don't force your children to be vegetarian like you, do you?"
"Your children won't be able to handle the real world if you continue to shelter them."
etc, etc, etc......

While I know I can't protect my children from the world around them, I do know that during this short period of time while I can I plan to give them all of the necessary tools to face the harsh reality of life. And just because I can't protect them forever doesn't mean I need to ruin their innocence now.

One very real fact of life for my daughter is that many mainstream girl toys, TV programs and movies go against everything that I believe in. From the moment she wakes up in the morning to the moment she goes to bed at night, her very young spongy mind is soaking up everything from the world around her. She is learning her gender role from the models in her life, discovering her place in society from the people around her, and creating an image of who she is and who she is "supposed" to be by the images she sees.

I, as her mother, refuse to allow her to mold her self image from the unrealistic body types of Barbie, Bratz, and Monster High Dolls; and I will not allow the pitiful Disney Princess characters help to define her role in society. 

My daughter at only 3 years old is pure. She see's the body images of her mama, her grandma and her aunties and learns how to define these body figures from what she hears. To her, mama's stretch marks are beautiful, they are something earned from the hard work and dedication of growing life; not something to get rid of with creams and oils as shown in the commercials on the Disney Channel. She admires them, she runs her fingers over the scars and creases and always says how she looks forward to having "mama stripes" someday. While most of mainstream society and all Barbies have long flowy hair, Kaydence is seeing the beauty of short unruly hair in her mama.She is learning her role in society from the hardworking people around her. With daddy being home most of the day and mommy going to work, she sees that gender roles are not defined by the anatomy that just so happens to sit between your legs. She is learning to love her herself, flaws and all as Kevin and I remind her everyday how beautiful and intelligent she is. Her perceptions of the world and the people in them are all based on the real life in front of her, not the fantasy shown in movies and on TV. 

So, while I am fully aware that I cannot keep my little girl wrapped in the bubble I have made around her for her entire life; I will make damn sure that when someone finally does pokes their grubby little finger in that perfect little bubble, she will be ready to face whatever comes her way. So that when she finally does watch Cinderella, Tangled, Little Mermaid or Snow White that she is already aware of the real life gender roles (or lack thereof); So when society is highlighting her economic status she understands that she is already rich with love around her and  knows that money means nothing without it; So that when girls in school are wearing makeup at twelve years old and the billboards are showing size 0 models half dressed, she is already secure in the person she is; So that when she has kids someday and she finally earns those mama stripes, she wears them with pride. Because she has already been taught that life is nothing like what is depict in Disney Movies and her body image is not defined by what society deems "acceptable." She will have learned these morals, values, believes and self images well before Disney princess movies and Barbies were able to corrupt her vision and mind. 

My daughter will be no damsel in distress; no Cinderella, no Snow White, no Ariel. 

So all of you "Nay Sayers" who think I am over-protecting and controlling can take your Disney princess movies, Barbie Dolls and opinions and shove it! I've got this covered!

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