Sparkle Shoes

Sparkle Shoes, sans 80% of the sparkles.

“Your shoes are ugly,” said the kindergarten classmate.

“No they are not,” replied the 6yo Original Pigtail Pal, Amelia.
“They are. Look how pretty mine are,” the classmate taps her toes for emphasis.
“They are the same pair of shoes. Like the exact same,” explains Amelia.
“They aren’t the same. Mine still have all of the pretty sparkles. I didn’t get them messed up,” boasted the girl, in full sparkle.
“Well, mine get busted up when I run and play. My mom said she doesn’t care but I gotta stay out of the mud because then she hollers like a lady. And she said we could glue more sparkles on so who cares,” Amelia shrugs.
“But they aren’t pretty,” insists the classmate.
“Listen, who cares about pretty? All I care about is playing,” retorts Amelia.
{I’m listening to all of this take place, wondering when it is going to get snippy.}
“Amelia, you should care a little bit about being pretty or you won’t get a boyfriend,” says the classmate.
“You should care less about being pretty and more about playing with us. My mom says there’s lots of different ways to be a girl,” Amelia informs her friend, bringing on the snippy with a head bob or two.
“I don’t want to mess up my shoes,” says the classmate, which is met by an audible sigh from Amelia, who sprints off to play in her busted up not-so-sparkly-anymore shoes.


  1. I’m really saddened to hear that conversation happening among 6 year olds – talk of boyfriends and already misplacing value on appearance? Good for Amelia – and I love the picture. Looks a lot like my 4 year old’s shoes, and this post reminds me that I shouldn’t be bothered when she destroys her shoes. She’s being a kid, as she well should.

  2. I think it is great that Amelia loves to run and play and isn’t concerned with her “messy” shoes. I also think it is great that the other little girl would like to keep hers sparkly and “pretty”… as long as that idea comes from within and is not placed there by someone else.

    • Gabrielle says:

      “Amelia, you should care a little bit about being pretty or you won’t get a boyfriend,” says the classmate. This is definitely the part that worries me. If she wants to keep her shoes pretty because she likes them that way, fine for her. But if she’s keeping them pretty to attract boys, at age 6, I just gotta shake my head.

  3. My daughter has those same shoes and they’re also busted from running around and jumping. I’ve never thought of such a conversation playing out, among kids at that age, -wow- my eyes nearly popped out of my head at the boyfriend comment, you know that doesn’t just come out of thin air for a little kid. Good for the OPP for standing her ground.

  4. That photo makes me think that someday, adult Amelia will rediscover her beautiful sparkly play shoes at the bottom of a box when she’s moving, and tell her own daughter, “My mom says there’s lots of different ways to be a girl.” It’s sad that young children are already having these conversations in these tones of voice, but I’m glad Amelia’s out there holding her own on the playground.

  5. My girls (ages 3 and almost 5) have those shoes too- different color, exact same scuffed up toes! Good for Amelia for having the confidence to stand up for herself! I’m finding it more and more difficult to help my girls work through the cultural baggage around femininity: I want them to feel beautiful, and I don’t want to demonize things that make us feel pretty (I like lipstick, they like tutus and sparkle shoes) but I don’t want them to associate their worth or value with pretty things or beauty. Hard work, parenting girls…

  6. Love this. I actually have a similar story, but with a much nicer tone. I had just bought my 4 year old new shoes since she got a hole in the toe with her last pair. One morning I asked her to choose which shoes she wanted to wear,and instead of the pretty new ones, she chose the pair with the hole. She then said that another little girl on the playground told her that they were still pretty, even if they had a hole in them.
    I wish I knew which girl said that to my child…I want to thank her parents. 🙂


  1. […] few days ago, Melissa at Pigtail Pals wrote about a conversation she overheard, in which her 6-year-old daughter’s classmate insisted that sparkly shoes are […]

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