These two conversations took place between me and the six year old Original Pigtail Pal this past week.
“Well, I just don’t know about that. That’s a real short dress. Mom, I think she’s just trying to be fancy grown up, but you can almost see her vagina!” -6yo Original Pigtail Pal, upon seeing some high school girls dressed up for homecoming in some VERY short dresses.
“Um, yeah. Those dresses are really, really short. I think they would be very hard to dance in. I would be worried my bottom would show.” -Me
“Yeah, totally. Or your gina could just pop right out. I sure hope she doesn’t sneeze or bend down to pet a puppy.” -OPP
I will always help her try to make sense of our sexed-up culture as it plays out in front of us. The truth is there are thousands of media messages and marketers waiting and wanting her to adopt, consume, and become a participant in the practice of sexually objectifying herself, and that is something I will continue to fight because my daughter has worth far beyond the sex she has to offer. I want her to come into her sexuality on her own terms, not someone else’s. And when she is a teen and wants to experiment with sexiness and being adult, I want her to understand that has very little to do with putting the private parts of her body out for public viewing.
“Mom, can I wear your bras?” -6yo Original Pigtail Pal Amelia
“You don’t have breasts, Smalls. Why would you need a bra?” -Me
“Just for fancy dress up. Can I wear it for pretend?” -OPP
“You can pretend to wear it.” -Me
“C’mooooooon. Can I get my own bras then?” -OPP
“I will get you a bra when you start to develop breasts.” -Me
“Can I get one tomorrow?” -OPP
“If you develop breasts overnight tonight, yes. Otherwise, no, that is something you can wait for until you are a bigger girl.” -Me
“How come you always say no to stuff?” -OPP
“I’m not saying “No”. I’m saying “I love you” in a way you’ll understand years later.” -Me
When little girls want to wear their mama’s heels, bras, jewelry, or makeup during dress up and pretend, I think it is a fun and safe way for them to be temporary visitors in the Land of Grown Up, and experiment and role play in a safe environment. I object to adult things being shrunk down and marketed to little girls, forever blurring the line between a girlhood of play, and a woman’s world of beauty and sexiness. Pretending to be adult during imaginary play is quite normal….having adult items meant to make a grown woman more sexually attractive turned child-sized = not normal. Or developmentally healthy.