A Letter to Bella, and Other Girls With Blue Shoes

Bella and her blue shoes.

Dear Bella,

Your mom told me all about your awesome blue shoes. I like blue. My little girl, Amelia, she loves blue because it is the color of the ocean. But if you asked her, she would tell you her favorite color is rainbow. Rainbows are so nice because they include all of the colors.

I heard from your mom that someone at school said your shoes were for boys. Maybe because they were blue or maybe because Buzz Lightyear was on them. At our house, we say, “Colors are for everyone.” Sometimes people get mixed up about that because they don’t think about it very hard. That makes me feel frustrated. All you have to do is look around the world and know that colors are for everyone.

But Bella, isn’t that silly! How could your blue Buzz Lightyear shoes be for boys if colors are for everyone and Buzz Lightyear is from a movie made for all kids and you are a girl standing in those shoes! I think people get confused about that, because they think something is only for boys because they never took the time to consider girls. I think people should consider girls.

Since you are four years old, you know a lot of stuff, and you know that girls can like or do anything boys can. And boys can like or do anything girls can. Things are kind of silly right now because grown ups keep getting in the way of kids, and some grown ups who are in charge of the companies that make stuff for kids like toys and clothes, they don’t have good imaginations like you and I do. These grown ups try to fit kids into little boxes that are labeled “Boy” or “Girl”, and then they only let certain colors or ideas into each box. They do that because it makes it easier for them to sell their stuff. Since boys and girls don’t grow in boxes, you can see how really goofy this is. But I have to be honest with you, there are a lot of grown ups who don’t question these pink and blue boxes, and then they teach that thinking to their kids, and then their kids lose their imaginations. Those are the kinds of kids who say stuff to you at school about your blue shoes.

Bella, your blue shoes are double scoop awesome, it is just that people have lost their imaginations. Little girls like you, with sparks in their eyes and fires in their hearts, you challenge what they think and expect from girls and they don’t know what to do. You make people think harder and that scares them.

The thing is, Little Girlfriend, that people have become so narrow-minded about what girls can do or what girls can like that real girls like you and like my Amelia don’t fit into their little pink boxes. You pop right out of them. Rip them at the corners. Knock the top right off.

And you should. There is nothing in this world that is off limits to you. There is no space nor dream nor challenge that you can’t conquer. There is no set of rules you must follow, no appropriate way to act. There is no person who holds the right to tell you what to think. You, Bella, are the great-great-granddaughter of a generation of women who fought like heroes to make sure there were no more pink boxes to stuff little girls into. Somewhere along the way, we forgot those lessons and grown ups let things get messed up.

Bella with your blue shoes, we really need girls like  you. We need you to remind people what real little girls are like. We need you to remind people that little girls can do anything. I’ll tell you a secret, and you can tell your mom, but I think if grown ups got out of the way of little girls, little girls would have the space to become so amazing and so powerful the Earth would shake right to it’s core and when the ground moves, all those people who lost their imaginations would fall right over.

So Kiddo, next time someone says something to you about something you like, or a color you are wearing, or what you look like, just politely remind them they have lost their imaginations. Rude comments will come your way and you just need to brush them away like a bothersome fly. The problem is not you, the problem is them and the limitations they do not challenge.

In fact, take a look at all of these girls, just like you, proving them wrong. Take a look at these girls, because you fit right in. You fit right in.

Make the ground shake, Baby Girl.

Love, Melissa.



  1. Robin Baker says:

    I love it. Aria was peering over my shoulders so I pointed out each girl and read the description for each. When I read Amelia’s, she excitedly asked, “Momma, just like me?” We just made dino print fossils today so dinos are very fresh in her mind. She told me that she thinks “this is really neat.”

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Love all the pictures of strong, intelligent, happy, unlimited girls. Thanks for including my “Sparky”. Sorry I’m too skittish to show off her beautiful face, but I hope Bella likes her Toy Story shoes. Before she had those gray ones, she had blue ones that are probably the same ones Bella has.

  3. Stephanie says:

    My 5yr. daughter says, “WoW! All those girls do that! Good for them! Can I hear that again?!”
    Thank you!!!!

  4. Way to go Bella!

    My Emma’s favourite colour is blue too! I like to buy her blue clothes because they make her so happy, but sometimes it is hard to find blue for her.

    Don’t ever let someone tell you that girls can’t do something. Anybody can do anything if they try, that is the truth.

    Thank you Melissa for reminding us to be encouraging of our children. Nobody’s feelings should be hurt because of the colour of thier shoes.

  5. L-O-V-E it!!

  6. beautiful. I love what you do, but this is probably my favorite post so far.

  7. Linda Long says:

    Dear Bella, I know a girl who loved blue too. She loved blue so much that she even made her hair blue and she was beautiful and strong with beautiful blue hair! Now she is grown up and saves babies and mothers in Africa. She is my hero and my daughter. So be bold and fearless and the world is yours!

  8. Thank you so much for your eloquent words! My daughters have been teased by family and friends alike for their ‘boyish ways’, but they are happy and fulfilled, and that’s what counts to me. I’d like to throw in a call-out for all the little boys (like my Nathan) who love pink and sparkles, and let you know that he loves his dolly, because babies are for everyone too!

    • And here’s a shoutout for my 3-year-old son, Simon, whose two favorite pairs of shoes are purple crocs and pink and white Dora the Explorer shoes that light up. More imagination and fewer limits, indeed.

  9. My son has light blue shoes with pink stripes. He gets told all the time that they are for girls. So the problem goes both ways.

    • It sure does! We’ll be doing a post for boys, so if you’d like to send in a pic of your son and the shoes, email: info (at) pigtailpals (dot) com.

  10. We truly need girls bold and strong enough to show the world all that flavors girls can be. I am so proud of my daughters, daughter-in-love and grand-daughter for coaxing the world up its evolutionary path. And for connecting me with this blog! Brava!

  11. I love this. My youngest girl, who is 2, loves the Paul Frank monkey. And by love, I mean, all out crazy love. But not the Paul Frank monkey marketed to girls {the ones that are pink and frilly}. No, she is crazy about the one marketed to boys. In fact, her favorite shirt is Julius the Monkey as a motorcycle cop. And I love that she loves it. That children are born without the gender defined attitudes that we push on them. When my oldest was born {a girl, aged 3}, I made {and still make} every effort to let her decide what she likes and doesn’t like when it comes to what is marketed as boy/girl. Currently, she’s very, very into dressing up like a ballerina and chasing dinosaurs. It’s awesome.

  12. ZOMG I LOVE the pictures! Are you still accepting blue submissions??? My Bella’s favorite color is blue!!! <3

  13. Scholasticamama says:

    Wonderful!! My daughter has Cars shoes (because they light up) and a Justice League backpack (she loves superheroes). This year she wanted cowboy boots for kindergarten and she chose the blue shaft/brown toe boots. They didn’t have any in her size, and the saleswoman kept bringing the all pink boots to her. The saleswoman says, “Honey, you don’t want those (blue) boots, they are for boys!” And my little person says, quizzically (wondering I’m sure at the idiocy of the above statement), “No, they are for feet!”

    She wore the blue ones that we ordered with a blue dress and brown shorts on her first day.

  14. I found this so inspiring it made me cry. :O) One day when my (baby) girls get a bit older, they will have a ‘Bella blue shoes’ day and I will keep this link to show them. It helps to have ways to explain such things which don’t label the ‘mainstream’ kids and their parents as ‘wrong’, so thank you for the thought that went into this post. It’s also my favourite so far. I look forward to the boys’ version. :O) It feels like we are changing the world, one pair of blue shoes at a time…

  15. Y’all. This just made my heart so very happy and I can’t wait to show my fierce little girl just how many people are in her corner. She is dead set against the shoes … for now. I’ve contacted her teacher and I’m going in to do a story hour. What they don’t know is that hour will be 100% teachable moments about gender and limitations and why girls can so wear Buzz shoes!

  16. You are awesome! About as much awesome as my beautiful five year old daughter, who plays with trains and dinosaurs, who wears black shoes, and says the most amazing things about what she learns because she says what she thinks and she loves living out loud. Thanks for making my day and reminding me to use my imagination a wee bit more.

  17. This was awesome!! But it does go both ways…I have 3 boys, 2 of which really love princesses!! They love to play with barbies, dress up in princess costumes and wear high heels!!

    • You bet it goes both ways! I would love pictures of your fellas for the upcoming post for boys. If you are so inclined, email them to info (at) pigtailpals (dot) com.

  18. This post makes me very happy, my (soon-to-be)four year old daughter loves Spider-Man sooo much that’s what my two year old daughter calls her. She gets strange looks from people while wearing her Spider-Man glasses, backpacks, lunchboxes, shirts, begging in the store aisles for Spider-Man stickers and books, skipping the baby aisle for the Spider-Man aisle (she still goes down the Barbie aisle) Her favorite colors are “red and purplish-blue” because those are the colors Spider-Man wears and my new name is not mommy but aunt May. AND even though she loves Spider-Man so, she still finds time to be a princess ballerina too, girls can do a lot and they can do anything!

    • OOOOhhh… I just posted a comment about my now 12 yr old daughter. She was just a little older than your daughter when her fascination with Spiderman started. 🙂

  19. Thank you for this! One of the other areas we need to encourage our girls is in focusing on their intelligence and not just their appearance. I have friends who’s daughters have been taught (by me) that when someone compliments them on their beauty in any way, thay say “Thanks! And I’m smart too!”. Wish someone had taught all these things to me as a child. I would have turned out to be a much more confident teen and young adult!

  20. When I was a child, I couldn’t play Little Leaque because…I was a girl.
    Hooray for Title IX!

  21. LOVE! It’s a moving letter, Melissa! Raising kids outside of the box isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it! I LOVE these STRONG, BEAUTIFUL, HAPPY, VIBRANT girls! Our world is in for a treat, isn’t it?

    Bella, how high can you jump in your Buzz Lightyear shoes? How fast can you run? I bet you are on the move while rockin’ those BL shoes! You are large and in charge of your life when you make choices that reflect who you really are, not what someone else or a whole society says you should be.

    As a mom of a 14 yr. old hockey-playing girl (who refused to stick with figure skating and begged to play hockey like her brothers at age 4), who is now running track on Varsity as an incoming Freshman…who is witty and caring and daring…and not afraid walk away with advanced math honor awards…I say to Bella’s mom…YAY! I’m sending you (and all of the mothers who support their daughters to be strong and follow their hearts a cyber high-five)!

    Postscript: Our town recently held a beauty pageant with the local fair. My DD was asked by several people to be a contestant. She never even told me. On the night of the judging, she told me that she had been invited to participate…and then added…”Why would I do that? I don’t see the point! Being judged by how I look? I don’t even get it!” Her dad and I were never more proud. Then, her 11 yr. old bro added, “Yeah, I don’t get it either. They don’t do that to boys!”

    Keep doing what you do, Melissa! Our girls….and boys…..are counting on you. You work tirelessly at changing the world for our girls…and in so doing….it changes it for our boys, too. Everyone benefits!

  22. As a mom of a six-year old girl who is proud of her muscles and a three year old boy who loves to be a princess sometimes, this post made me tear up. It helps so much to know that there are lots of other parents who are fighting as hard as I am to raise kids without artificial limitations. We made a huge step this year. My MIL got a ballerina puppet to go with the awesome puppet stage that my husband built for the kidlet’s birthday (which is fine, since she loves ballet right now), but she ALSO got a surgeon puppet. Woo-hoo!

  23. This is beautiful. My daughter is 4 and we dont limit her as far as clothes and shoes go. She is just as likely to pick up a teeshirt with robots, dinosaurs or ninjas on it, as she is to pick butterflies. She plays with her littlest pet shops and her plastic dinosaurs living together in purfect harmony. Its funny though how people see her and automatically assume long haired boy. All because of how she is dressed.

  24. Melissa,
    @LisaBloom: Thanks to you, tweeps, JC Penney has PULLED the “too pretty for homework” shirt. NICE example of citizen action making a difference. We need to voice our opinions when someone (even JC Penney) tramples on any progress that’s been made to dispel the “pretty & dumb” school of thought.

    There are some things that are just not funny.

    As a mom of three amazing kids (two girls and a boy born within three years – don’t ask) I was awed by their every accomplishment, savoring their own unique personalities and interests. It was an awakening to find out that some moms were not so inclined (to ooh and ah or even post their kid’s drawings on the fridge). I was horrified (when the first got to pre-school) to discover the depth of nastiness that some 3 and 4 year olds displayed. Was it too much unstructured/inappropriate TV time, no guidance re “the niceties”?? Whatever, Bella ( and all little girls) needs to know that blue is an awesome color and Buzz Lightyear rocks, whether you are a boy or girl.

  25. It’s cool that you are “anti-limitations”, however you seem to be limiting what a girl can be/like to typically male-oriented things.

    I am an intelligent, self-confident, army veteran……and I love pink, spa days and make up. But reading some of your stuff makes me feel like you deem it inappropriate for a woman to like (or at least admit liking, lol).

    I totally agree with you that society has gone waaaayyyy too far in the over-sexualization of young women (girls, really). But I don’t think the solution is to make girls who just may love princesses, pink and romance feel like they are less than their counterparts. “Girly” seems to be a dirty word these days. I guess I would just like to see….maybe a “mommy” t-shirt up there with the rest of your career t-shirts. It is a perfectly valid choice for a woman.

    Anyhoo…..that’s my little opinion.

    • Nope. That’s no what Pigtail Pals is all about. It’s about getting rid of limitations for all kids and about protecting childhood from sexualization and marketing.

      If you read more about Pigtail Pals you will see this to be true. The reason for this post, if I may speak for Melissa, is to show that girls CAN like “boy” things, NOT to imply that girls should only like “boy” things.

      And I quote: “The thing is, Little Girlfriend, that people have become so narrow-minded about what girls can do or what girls can like that real girls like you and like my Amelia don’t fit into their little pink boxes. You pop right out of them. Rip them at the corners. Knock the top right off. And you should. There is nothing in this world that is off limits to you.”

      Including blue shoes or pink shoes or any kind of shoes she wants to wear that doesn’t limit or exploit her.

  26. Just found this page- love love love it! Can’t wait to share it with my girls in the morning! It reminds me of when Haley (now 9) was about 2 1/2 and she was Spiderman. She was so proud of her Spiderman costume and thought it was the coolest thing. So it was Halloween night and a sweet little old lady said, “Oh look it’s Spider-girl.” To which Haley responded, “I am not Spider-GIRL, I am SPIDERMAN!” Good Stuff!
    Thanks for fighting the good fight, and being a great role model for the Girls of the World.

  27. Can’t wait to show my 6yo daughter Piper the pictures of these amazing little girls tomorrow morning!

    – Jen
    Mom to Piper
    (a 6yo ice hockey-loving, fire-fighter gear wearing Star Wars fanatic!)

  28. I absolutely adore this.
    When I was little I played softball, but I also played baseball with the boys. My room was Scooby Doo instead of My Little Pony. I love that people have parents like my mom. I’m a teenager (17) and I don;t have any children, but I love the people who are supportive of their kids. It shouldn’t matter if your little girl wants to be Cinderella or if she wants to be Batman.

  29. Very well said, love the tone and teaching.

  30. Cherie Natole says:

    This make me cry…because I have a 10 year old son who was told by another student, “he doesn’t count, he’s part girl anyway.” This occurred after he sat with a friend (who is a girl) for lunch and then had the table fill with other girls one of whom needed to point out the the table (which was empty) when he and his friend sat down was the girl table.
    I cry because how marvelous to have a group of women standing up for all of our daughter’s right to choose their activities, favorite colors and still be valued for themselves. And I cry because there is not the same support for boys who like the color purple or rainbows, who want to be a teacher when they grow up, who love gymnastics and are thought of as less.

  31. What a lovely letter! I have a 13 year old daughter – her name is Blue! Blue has always done what she has wanted to do – when all the girls at primary school were falling out over silly things, Blue chose to play with the boys as they played “better games”!

    Blue has now been playing football at Academy level for the past 5 years – despite being told many times that girls can’t play football (soccer to my American friends!)

    Blue’s 3 year old brother really likes the sparkly Lelly Kelly shoes, and I would be very happy for him to have a pair – but I can’t justify the price tag! He has to make do with dressing up in a sparkly fairy dress instead – he likes sparkles!

  32. This could have been written for my Bumblebee and Batman loving girl, Chloe. Well written, Melissa!

  33. Love this post!!! My little one LOVES blue and proudly proclaims it as she wears her blue shoes. My oldest is starting to discover that it is ok for girls to like “boy” things. I always tell her people can like anything they want and there is no such thing as “boy” things and “girl” things…I think this was a huge relief to her since she wanted a Buzz Light Year for her 5th birthday and was happy to know it was not strange at all. She now is planning a super hero 6th birthday and admits she likes blue a little too :o)

  34. Just found your blog today and I have to say that today my 2yo daughter is wearing blue shoes!!!! Even with pink pants, people ask if she is a boy. I wear blue shoes and no one asks if im a boy.

  35. Love it ! My daughter Samantha is 5 and has loved Lightning McQueen since she was 2…. He has been her only “obsession”. Her bedroom is decorated with all the lightning accessories, her Cars cap is her most worn one, her pj’s are lightning McQueen ones (from the boys section) and at book week at school last week she took in her Cars book as her favourite book and dressed up as lightning for the parade (I did a super job at the costume, if I do say so myself !!). She has only once thought she was different about liking Cars and that is when the girls at school said it was for boys. I assured her that everyone likes different things and she shouldn’t be afraid to say what she likes. We have just watched Cars 2 for the 12th time :))
    Samantha also plays soccer (her choice, there are only about 3 girls that play) but then on Wednesday dresses in her pink leotard for Jazz ballet. She loves everything and I am really proud of that.

  36. Love this. My son’s favorite color is pink. He is 3. He has no problem telling the older boys that he likes pink when they telling him pink is a “girl’s color.” He says he likes pink with a sense of authority. The other boys, regaurdless of their age, always back down from his confidence. Stay confident Bella!

  37. I love this post. My 8 year old twin daughters have already begun their Christmas lists and it includes remote control cars and walkie talkies! In our house being a girl is all about being who they were created to be and to heck with what society shows girls “should” be. Thank you for working to spread this message to the girls in the world!

  38. My almost 7 yr old was recently telling everyone that her sister (almost 5) was in her “boy period” because she was painting her castle blue and black. They both though it was funny. I am SO reading this to them tomorrow and showing them the pictures! They love superheroes too and both have supergirl costumes. You should see the SuperGirl barbie doll. She has the shortest miniskirt I have ever seen and a baby tee. So lame. Catwoman is at least better in her full length black jumpsuit…

  39. I just stumbled upon pigtailpals, where have I been. This site really speaks to me. I was a “tom boy” and will never forget when I was 10 and wanted to redecorate my Snoopy bedroom. My mom was trying to push me toward eyelet curtains. She said they were “dainty”, it made me push back even harder. “Dainty”, I didn’t want dainty.
    Now a mom of a 6 year old boy and a 2 year old girl, I don’t put limits on their likes and dislikes. My boy loves babies and baby dolls. When others look at me or him funny, I ask, “Is it not OK for a boy to be nurturing? I hope he keeps that quality, if only there were more nurturing men in the world.” My little girl loves Star Wars, Transformers, Woody and Buzz, Matchbox cars and Tinkerbell. She loves to brush her babies and dolls. It’s all OK with me.
    I am considering becoming a homemaker. Taking care of the children, house and doing some charity and volunteer work. I am grateful that financially we can do this. A friend told me it was anti-feminist to stay at home and not work. I told this person that it is anti-feminist to put limits on women. Nothing says feminism like a woman deciding what is best for her herself and her family.
    I love this post and I love this site!!!!

  40. This is lovely- I’m happy to have found this site and have shared it with all of my friends with children.

    This entry reminds me of when I was little, I was wearing a beautiful leather belt my grandfather made me. He was an artist with leather, though a car mechanic by trade. A boy asked me why I was wearing a boy’s belt. I said it was not a boy’s belt, it was my belt. He insisted it was a boy’s belt. I turned around, pointed to the back and said “Then why does it have my name on it, stupid?” (I still have about the same amount of patience for the patently ridiculous.)

  41. This is amazing. We have printed it out, and sent a copy to my 6 year olds first grade teacher.

    Last year, my fun-loving princess who wants to be a cheerleader, and a football player during halftime, picked out black Cars snowboots. And she came home on the first day, crushed, because some kids in her kindergarten class told her they were for boys.

    She told them that she LIKED cars, and that made them for her too, but she was so upset. She’s still thinking about it this year, even though all last year, she chose to wear those Cars boots to school, over the pink princess ones she also bought.

    I read this last night, and she says this year, that’s her catch phrase- You’ve lost your imagination.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    (My 3 year old will happily go out and dig under the trucks that her grandparents are working on, dragging the frilliest, pinkest, laciest dresses she can wear through the oil. And nothing makes her happier. However, if someone told HER she couldn’t wear something, she’d look at them and go “Oh, please.”. :P)

  42. Annthea Vining says:

    My 15yo cheerleader daughter used to roll in the mud, pee standing up, and wore tie-dyed boxer briefs because girl undies “climbed up inside.” She insisted on dresses, but they were never pink and 1 I can recall had dinosaurs on it. Oh, and her first words, I’m not kidding, were “dirt” and “tuck” (truck). She will still race barefoot to beat a boy to play in a muddy river.

    My oldest boy (13) begged for painted toes and insisted on dresses like the ones his sister wore. I accomodated every request and it brings me to tears that my youngest boy, 3, is now begging for “mommy toes.” He looks great in blue and red sequins.

    Grown ups do need to get out of the way as these little ones navigate this society. As they try to sort out the messages of “normal” and “OK” and “safe.” I’m pretty sure that what they wear today will not affect the way they treat those around them as adults, their likelihood to be happy, or the relationships they have with parents and siblings. I am certain, however, that they way people react to those simple choices they make about how to be comfortable in their bodies and in this world will affect those things.

    Shouldn’t those of us who have despised our life-long struggles to be happy and comfortable see what it would like to do things in a different way? I’m giving a wide berth, with great hopes.

  43. I loved this article. Remember you get to choose the person you want to be, down to the clothes you wear.
    This is a fascinating article from Smithsonian Magazine about when we started putting boys in blue and girls in pink (hint it is WAY more recent than you think).

  44. I just found this web site this evening. I love it! Such great writing and wonderful widsom that everyone could benefit from.

    I’ve raised 3 daughters to adulthood to be strong confident women with the knowledge that they can do anything they set their minds to. I’ve raised 2 sons to adulthood that are also strong confident men with the same knowledge that they can do anything. I raised them in an environment that it is okay for boys to play daddy, to cook food for their families and clean the house and that girls can farm, drive truck or build a house. They grew up knowing that pink did not just belong to girls and nor did blue just belong to boys. Raising them in this way, I took flack and criticism. The adults that they have become speaks for itself. My girls have a respect for “boy’s” and what they can do, just as my son’s respect women for who they are.

    Now, my husband and I are raising my step daughters 2 children whom are 5 and 6. We’ve done this for the past 5 years and once again I find myself teaching them these same things. And I find myself going against the stream as people try to put them in a box. Some people really are so uncomfortable with boys that like to practice being daddy or cook in the kitchen or a girl that likes to take care of animals or drive a 4 wheeler.

    Our five year old girl loves all things girl but she also loves all things boy. Often she will be in a dress up dress with a crown on her head and cowboy boots on her feet, driving a tractor and feeding the animals on her farm. She embraces dirt as much as she does her necklesses. Our 6 year old boy can be found cooking in our kitchen or carrying his baby around while he drives truck.

    I am going to print this article off just as I plan on doing so with a few others. I can’t wait to share your site with others! Thank you!

  45. Colors are for everyone… People have lost their imaginations… I love it! I loved every word of your post, which was passed along to me by a reader of my blog who read something I wrote today (http://reflectionsofamommy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/baby-doll/). Thanks for this incredible letter to Bella (and to all girls who are imaginative).

  46. My beautiful nine year old daughter’s favorite color is blue. It has been since she first could identify colors and she has never wavered in her choice. She doesn’t like pink and sparkles and refuses to wear clothing that is. I don’t blame her because I was never a glitzy girl either but it’s difficult to find girl clothing that isn’t pink, glittery and having so much bling you want to grab your sunglasses.

    She also like cars and trunks, Lincoln Logs, Thomas the Tank Engine, Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. She tells me that when she grows up, she is going to be a farmer or maybe a designer. I tell her, “Baby, why can’t you be both.”

    • Hi awesome women who are daughters and who have daughters.
      Thank you for your wisdom. We are raising two daughters aged 7 and 10. They like to play with barbies and do kids crossfit. They are content to be dirty in mud puddles, or girlie in dresses (if they choose to be). I love their strength and their confidence and I solemly swear never to suck away their awesome. In fact, I hope they have enough awesome to share with their “slightly less awesome” mother.

  47. I have struggled with this my whole life and am STILL – one week short of my 32nd birthday – frustrated with the ‘girl’ box. Because those same marketing people with no imagination also market women’s clothes. I want black running shoes and black sports clothes (though I will accept blue on the rare occasion it’s available). I HATE pink and am SO frustrated that sports clothing in particular does not allow me to dress as I want! 99% of women’s sports attire is pink or has pink on it. And is tight-fitting spandex, which is just unnecessary. Yet unfortunately, where a boy’s shirt will fit just as well on a little girl, this just isn’t the case for a petite woman in even an extra small men’s shirt or shorts. I hope your box-breaking works out for all girls, young and old alike!

    • Perrin, I’m petite too and I HATE wearing pink. After being unable to find anything that wasn’t pink I grabbed a box of dye and voila! Some lovely black clothing. 🙂 I recommend you use a bucket though. You don’t want to ruin your washer. And be sure to wash them with vinegar to help set the color. Oh…and don’t wash with other clothes either.


  48. I wish my mother still had that photo of me with my Mr.T kite while wearing my A-Team t-shirt when I was seven. 🙁

  49. My baby girl is 12 now, but from the time she was 5 until a little after she was 7, her favorite outfit to come home and change into to play, was her Spiderman costume. I would send her in to clean her room, and she’d be in there and quiet, and I’d go in to check on her, and she’d be pulling on her mask. When I asked if baby girl was going to clean her room, she’d tell me nope. Spiderman is. She had Spiderman shoes, and a costume, posters, and blankets. She looooved Spiderman.

  50. I love this, and I agree entirely. It makes me think of similar story from my own childhood. I was in pre-school and absolutely in love with the Ninja Turtles. I had a Michelangelo beach towel and brought it to the pool. All the other kids told me I had a boy towel, but my family all reassured me that was certainly not the case! Everyone can love the Ninja Turtles, everyone can wear blue shoes. 🙂

  51. In my first grade class on the third day of school I asked the children to share their favorite color at our morning meeting. Noah, a child in my class hurled his hand into the air to share first, but there was an already established order, so I assured him he’d get to share.
    When it was his turn, he said, “My favorite color is pink.”
    Two little girls giggled. I turned to them and asked what their favorite color was. They replied, “Pink.” I said, “Wow, isn’t it fun that you all have the same favorite color?” I turned to Noah then and said, “Noah, you’re a modern man. I heard that pink is the new black, buddy.”
    He smiled, the girls smiled, and our classroom became a more accepting place in an instant.
    I HOPE that some Buzz lightyear shoes show up in my classroom- I’ll ask, like I always do, when I see cool kids’ clothes and accessories– “Do you think that they make that in a size big enough for me?”

  52. christina says:

    Thank you for this. From a mother of a little girl whose fave color is pink, but that is where “girly” kinda ends…. This made me smile. My almost 4 year old wears Lightning McQueen shoes, favorite movie is Cars (one), enjoys Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder (LIKE DADDY!), but loves her dolly house and pink bike. I love that my little girl is full of “ungirl” qualities and I wouldn’t change her a bit. Bella, I think you and my daughter would be great friends!

  53. Awesome, awesome, AWESOME!! My 3 year old has blue shoes too but I have to admit I bought them because my favorite color is blue, they are washable and made by my favorite shoe company Simple Shoes (which unfortunately has decided to take a hiatus from shoe making 🙁 ). Her favorite color is red, she loves dinosaurs, Thomas, cars, trucks, baby dolls, books, dirt, running, climbing, cooking/baking, building blocks, Toy Story, singing, dancing, painting, play dough, Star Wars (because of Daddy), coloring, tea parties, animals, flying a kite…and the list goes on and I hope continues to grow! Thank you Melissa for all you do!!

  54. Bella,

    my daughter is three, and she loves her blue gumboots the very best. She splashes in puddles and sploshes through mud. She is full of awesome, and it sounds like you are full of awesome too. I sure if you met you would be friends!


  55. Awesome! My little girl is 2.5. She has the same shirt as Ivy in the picture above (Future Astronaut). She loves animals, LEGOS, trains, and especially the moon and planets. Just last night we were outside and she said, “The moon! I want to grab the moon! I want to fly up in the sky and touch the moon” I asked if she wanted to be an astronaut and go to the moon. She said, “Yeah”.
    Maybe someday you will actually touch the moon, honey. 🙂

  56. YES! Yes, I have nothing to add that you didn’t completely obliterate in this wonderfully constructive piece of art.

    Keep on keepin’ on, little ladies.

    Mother of four girls.

  57. What a great letter! My daughter is six and loves Super Mario, Transformers and Doctor Who. Her favorite colors are pink, purple and blue, but always seems to add that she loves all of the colors of the rainbow. She is a ballerina but also takes Tae Kwon Do, wants to shoot a bow and arrow, and owns her own bb gun, and want to learn to shoot deer. My boyfriend says she is “Dynamic.” People do not have to fit in a mold. Molds make people less Dynamic.

  58. It just occurred to me… That my favorite costume for Halloween one year was C-3PO. My parents got me Legos and Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs. They never pushed me into being a girly girl… Maybe that is why I won’t push my little girl either!

  59. Lora Cowell says:

    In the mid-18th century, The Blue Stocking Society was formed to promote women’s participation in traditional male intellectual discussions. For many years, the term “blue stocking” was used as a derogatory reference to women who were “too smart” or “over educated.” I am proud to have raised girls to be “bluestockings.” Wonderful that Bella is on her way 🙂


  1. […] happened at school. Her post was followed up by a lovely letter to Bella from Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals, which included several fabulous pictures of girls wearing […]

  2. […] I read a post by my friend Melissa.  She wrote a letter to four-year-old Bella, who loves her blue Buzz Lightyear shoes, but got teased for them.  (I'll wait while you go read […]

  3. […] written this post that I read the amazing post written by Melissa Wardy over at Pigtail Pals, “A Letter to Bella And Other Girls With Blue Shoes.” And I couldn’t have read it on a better […]

  4. […] loves the color blue. It’s her favorite. And here’s an awesome article about colors being for everyone. For ALL the little girls we know who love blue… Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  5. […] A Letter to Bella, and Other Girls With Blue Shoes over at Pigtail Pals, you’ll find sweet proof that girls can wear, do or be anything they […]

  6. […] She owns a clothing company for girls and writes an amazing blog to boot. Her blog can go from a kind, empowering note to a little girl who got made fun of for wearing “boy” shoes to taking a major retailer to task. That’s why I love it. But Waking Up Full of Awesome might […]

  7. […] Love ?:  My favorite color is blue and I love Melissa from Pigtail Pals: Redifine Girly‘s crusade to convince the world that colors are for […]

  8. […] maybe people aren’t used to seeing such awesome, long, blond curls on boys. He repeats the “colors are for everyone” mantra when somebody challenges his favorites of pink and purple. But still, it sinks […]

  9. […] maybe people aren’t used to seeing such awesome, long, blond curls on boys. He repeats the “colors are for everyone” mantra when somebody challenges his favorites of pink and purple. But still, it sinks […]

  10. […] what other people say about Ben’s pumpkin is none of his business. Kids can choose whatever colors they want. There aren’t rules to follow.” […]

  11. […] a great solution posted from Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals: A Letter to Bella and Other Girls with Blue Shoes. I heard from your mom that someone at school said your shoes were for boys. Maybe because they were […]

  12. […] Is there only one correct way to be a girl? Are there many ways to be a […]

  13. […] thing as girl shoes and boy shoes? I’m a boy. If these are girl shoes, why would I like them? Shoes are for everyone and colors are for everyone! And you know what, Mom? They said I was right! They […]

  14. […] I love the mom’s response! Yes!! Colors are for everyone. […]

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