Boys and Girls, This Isn’t a Zero-Sum Game

The "war on pink" is a war on limitations and stereotypes, not shades of a color that has become woefully gendered.I’m no mathematician, but I do not see advocating for childhood to be a healthier place for our children to be a zero-sum game. We need people supporting breastfeeding just as much as we need those who are focused on getting kids active and eating right. We need school and literacy advocates just as much as we need anti-poverty experts. Sadly, there are enough issues facing our kids to keep all of us very, very busy. Overall, we need people supporting girls just as much as we need people supporting boys. We don’t abandon one group in order to serve another.

So when an article came out yesterday telling people like myself and my colleagues to stop focusing on girls and Pink Culture because “what about the boys?”, I was hesitant to share it. I did share a quote from the end of it that I agreed with, but I suppose that was an odd thing to do because I disagreed with the rest of the article. Or better said — with the way it was written.

I advocate for both boys and girls, but my work does tend to skew more towards girlhood because that is where I see the bulk of the problems with children’s media. Maybe that is because I am female, maybe that is because I’ve been a parent to a girl longer than I’ve been a parent to boy. Maybe it is because I see some level of violence to be a natural part of childhood development (read “Killing Monsters” and “The War Play Dilemma”) and I see the sexualization of girls as completely unnatural and encouraged by the corporations who profit from it.

I will continue to write about, advocate for, and care deeply about our boys. But in so doing, I don’t have to abandon our girls. Neither do my colleagues. We wouldn’t think of doing that, not for a minute.

A must read on this:
( Rebecca Hains)

( Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker’s Operation Transformation)

Day of the Girl

I’ve been feeling badly all morning because I’ve been away from my desk and running like a crazy person since 5:30am.  I’ve not been able to really focus on or participate in any Day of the Girl festivities. I had to run a breakfast at my daughter’s school, drop my son at his school, dash to a doctor’s appointment, pick my son up from school, race home to make a lunch for Amelia, and then zip back to my daughter’s school to eat with her and her friends. I thought I would have time to write something this afternoon, but I have to grab Benny from a playdate, catch up on messages, pick up Amelia from school to come home for a rest before we have to go back to school to run yet another event. And, breathe……

And then I thought, maybe investing time and energy in my daughter’s education, giving lots of compliments to girls I encountered today, providing my girl with healthy food that will enable her to learn and grow, chatting with the school staff who does such an incredible job educating our students, and taking care of my reproductive health (free of threat or oppression) at the doctor IS the perfect way to celebrate Day of the Girl. Girls the world over should have the right to education and full agency over their bodies. Isn’t that what today is all about?

I wish I had had the time to write a beautifully worded blog post about the significance of today. Something eloquent and moving and inspiring. The kind of post that makes your heart feel warm as you sigh out loud and feel so proud to be female (or know and love one). But I just can’t get it done, not today.

And then I thought to myself, “Self, every day can and should be Day of the Girl. Every day is a good day to honor, celebrate, and hold up our daughters.”

So maybe that blog post will come, but for now, I just wanted to share this picture of my wonderful sister-in-law, who lives on the other side of the world, raising her two daughters in Madagascar. She is a photographer, and many times my brother sends us pictures of her as she works (when she doesn’t know she is being photographed). That is the case in this shot, where my SIL Lisa is teaching this toddler how to work the camera in order to take a picture of her visitor, and become a storyteller in her own right. Lisa is showing this tiny girl she has a voice and that her voice matters.

And it might seem so simple, just a moment or two in time, but teaching girls to use their voices and tell their stories of their view of the world is a powerful thing. It is a very powerful thing indeed.


My sister-in-law Lisa, traveling through a village in Madagascar.