Gender neutrality can be a good thing. Leveling the field for both men and women proves to be not only fair, but respectful to all individuals. Our generation is looking at equal pay for women in comparison to men in similar fields, women serving in military combat, and more and more foreign leaders being elected as women.
Yes, the barrier of gender breaking even slowly and gingerly is good.
But some in this age of “all things equal” take it to a different level, especially when it comes to children. We’re in an era that, while fair in it’s respects to men and women, is starting to dangerously blur lines in the world of our kids.
Boys can’t play with toy guns or army men anymore, because that will make them violent. Likewise, little girls can’t dress up in tiaras and sparkly gowns, lest they grow up to be cast members from Mean Girls, ripping apart any other person wearing anything not name brand or with crooked teeth.
All this stereotyped foolishness aside, please forgive me in my somewhat traditional view of my little girls. They are, from the moment they were born until they day I pass on to glory, my little princesses.
They love to dress up in dresses and high heels. They love to put on mommy’s lip gloss. They love frilly pinks and flowery purples. After all, they’re girls.
Don’t get me wrong; they have some tomboy traits as well. They love to help daddy work with my tools. They love digging for and playing with earthworms. They like (even for just a few minutes) to sit and watch whatever sporting event is on TV.
But see, no matter what they enjoy or don’t enjoy, no matter if they’re playing My Little Pony or building castles with blocks, they’re my princesses. Why? Because a princess is someone to honor.
Honor goes beyond simple respect, because it requires not just tolerance but a visible care and fondness for. I am in love deeply with my wife: she’s my queen. I am also in love with my girls. I honor them. I get great joy by simply being in their presence.
Our society has gotten some confusion in that we’re forcing baby boomer gender roles onto our kids by how we refer to them. My daughters being my princesses doesn’t make them into weak self-centered people. It doesn’t make them shallow, it doesn’t make them careless.
My girls wanting to wear bracelets and necklaces by the dozen doesn’t make them vain. It makes them girls. It means they see mommy wearing those things, and they really want to be like mommy.
My girls wanting to tote baby dolls around the house and feed them from fake plastic bottles and lay them down in pretend cradles doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent and one day be strong career women. It means they see mommy caring for them and want to do the same for something else, even an eight ounce baby doll with eyes that close and open.
I don’t have any issue with the little girls that want to be super heroes. The ones that want to play all the sports. The ones that shudder at the mention of wearing a dress or ballet or hair bows. They are all deserving of honor and love. Just like my little princesses.
My girls will often finish getting dressed in whatever outfit my wife has picked for them. They’ll run down the hall to see me. They don’t say anything, they just grin. They’re waiting for daddy to tell them they’re beautiful. They need me to tell them how cute their “piggy tails” are, or how pretty their neatly monogrammed dress is. They are yearning for, patiently waiting for me to honor them. Not from some preconceived notion or innate thought that they are somehow prettier than all the other girls, but because they need daddy to love them and give them affectionate words. They need to be daddy’s princess.
You know what? I need that too.