My Daughter is Not a "Pretty" Girl

Pretty Girl
The other day I put a perfectly lovely outfit on the girl child.  It was just a red top with black and white leggings.  Super cute.  Whatever.  
She was wearing the outfit for several hours before I noticed on her wrist a tiny little patch, almost imperceptible, a subliminal message of sorts.  You never would’ve noticed it if you weren’t looking.
The tiny little patch said, “Pretty.”
Ever since I brought my two-and-a-half year old son home from the hospital, I’ve been very conscious of how to deal with the gender role thing.  And, really, I’ve dealt with it by not making it a thing at all.  As a result, I think he’s a fairly well-rounded kid.  He loves playing in his toy kitchen and he loves playing with his train set.  He loves the movie Cars and he loves Princess and the Frog.  He loves a good apolitical tea party.  He pretends to put on makeup with a toy orange and then uses the same orange to scrub the hardwood floors (so maybe I need to focus more on hygiene).

But it’s not him I’m worried about.
Because when we go to buy him clothes, they say things like “Future Crime Fighter” or “Space Ranger in Training” or “All-Star.”
When we go to buy my daughter clothes, they say “Pretty.”
Why “Pretty?”  Why “Cutie Pie?”  Why “Sweetie?”  Seriously.  If you’re going to take the time to put an itsy-bitsy subliminal message on a tiny baby girl’s clothing, why not use the sartorial real estate for good rather than for driving home the message the Kardashian family shouts from the gossip rags every week?
What’s wrong with “Madam President?”  Or “Super Smart?”  Or “Future Starting 3rd Baseman for the Chicago Cubs?”  Or even “Future Crime Fighter,” “Space Ranger in Training,” or “All-Star?” 
Let’s not start defining our daughters by their looks when they’re still bald and in diapers.  The world will be more than willing to do the job for us once the girls get older.


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  • Fabulously put! This is exactly why i'm terrified of having a girl. I'm also sad to admit that we just inherited some kids books from a family with little girls, and I autopiloted to putting aside the really girly ones (Little Mermaid, Cinderella, etc.) until I realized what I was doing. Now they're on the nursery shelf with the rest of the books - where they should be. So thank you for this article, and congrats on doing such a great job raising the boy!

  • In reply to spontamyous:

    Thanks for the comment! When I was pregnant with my son, one of my relatives gave me a box of Disney princess books (I didn't know what I was having). I put the books on the shelf as well. My son has read them, but he doesn't seem to care for them very much. He does love his 'Tangled' Golden Book, however.

  • In reply to spontamyous:

    I absolutely love this post! With two daughters I can relate. I hope we're helping them build a strong foundation to be intelligent and independent women who know they can do anything they set their minds to.

    Great post!

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