My Wish for Your Daughter…

Yesterday was my birthday. Well, not my birthday, it was Pigtail Pals’ first birthday and we celebrated our first full year in business. I guess in a way it was my birthday, too. A year ago yesterday marks the day I turned from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mompreneur activist. It is my intention to bring about social change when it comes to how we look at childhood, and specifically how we think about our girls.

What was my birthday wish? My wish is for your daughter….and that she be able to enjoy her natural right to a girlhood.

The simple fact that she is a child gives her the right to live her childhood years free of messages that limit, belittle, sexualize, or harm her. My wish is that she have no other expectations put upon her other than that she be a little girl.

My wish, for your girl and for mine, is that they grow knowing every color of the rainbow belongs to them, that every dream the sky can hold can be theirs, and that every right we give to our boys is just as deserving a right we afford our girls. We need to change the way we think about our girls.

Pigtail Pals first birthday cake

"Let her dream in every color", Pigtail Pals first birthday cake

My wish is that people who come here to read this blog, who learn about the company Pigtail Pals, or otherwise hear my message understand that this isn’t just a parenting issue or a morality issue or a “thank goodness I  have boys issue”. This is an issue of social justice and I take great offense to the exploitation of our children. I take issue with corporations knowingly selling and marketing products to our children that undermine their healthy development and take away their innocence which should be a central part of their childhood. The evidence and studies showing the psychological harm that is coming to our children from hypersexualized childhoods is being ignored.

Children’s bodies may be smaller, they may be younger in years, but that doesn’t diminish their rights to health, happiness, and freedom from exploitation.

My wish is that parents and caring adults come together, and start to demand better options for our girls. Our children deserve better.

My wish for your daughter is a girlhood free of limitation, and full of

Music – Art – Storybooks – Exploration – Science – Imagination – Sports & Dance – Play – Pretend

Our birthday wish - fill your daughters' girlhood with all the world has to offer.

This week, aside from being Pigtail Pals birthday week, is also Girls Inc ‘Girls Rights Week’. Click the link for their Girls’ Bill of Rights. Print it out, discuss it with your daughter, and tape it up in a place she can read it every day. Ensure positive messages and media are an everyday part of her life.

Or grab your daughter and snuggle up next to the computer and watch this video by the Girl Power Crew and girl advocate Kelsie Morales, putting girls faces and voices behind the six rights from the Girls Inc Girl’s Bill of Rights. Listen very closely to Kelsie’s words at the end of the video. Talk to your daughter about what that means for girls and for parents.

*************************

Whether you are new here or have been with me since the very very beginning, thank you for the support, encouragement, activism, and excitement towards Pigtail Pals and the mission to Redefine Girly!

My Childhood Was Full of Childhood

{Guest Post by Kristel Gillies}

Being not only the youngest but also the only daughter of my dad’s four children one might think I grew up spoiled… doted on and showered with all things pink and frilly, treated with kid gloves and always made to feel as though I was different.

One might think wrong.

Instead, I grew up not knowing I was different at all.  I romped through fields with my brother, dug holes with the neighbour’s boy and put grasshoppers in my pocket… only to find them months later, having been too busy climbing trees, fences and hay bales to perform the critical task of removing them from their new home.

I was, quite simply, ‘one of the boys’.

And although I may have been, by today’s standards, a tomboy I was still a girlie girl.  I screamed upon finding grasshopper corpses and I loved my shiny shoes and pretty dresses… they just got rather scuffed and dirty when playing kick the can and hide-and-go-seek.  I even had a Barbie.  But I found her boring.  After all, she only had one friend, Ken, back in those days and his hair didn’t even move.   Barbie, herself, didn’t seem very practical.  Any time I attempted to do anything fun with the blonde-haired bombshell, like playing in the snow or partaking in a bath, her limbs would fall off, her torso would fill with water and her endless array of ball gowns and mini-skirts left little to the imagination when on a ski jump or diving board.

Guest post author Kristel Gillies, age 4

While Barbie may not have been my favourite I just so happened to be the Angelina Jolie of my generation.  Having adopted six Cabbage Patch Kids, my ‘children’ were the spitting image of their momma… adorned in grass-stained overalls and pace-setters (hey, it was the 80’s) so we could easily navigate farmer’s fields, city lots and everything in between.  And if we lost a shoe (or two) in a muddy puddle so be it, at least we had the good sense to take a mid-day break so I could grab a snack and Adrienne Lulu (not the greatest Cabbage Patch name for a child with a speech impediment) could take a siesta in the deep freeze, allowing her melted face a chance to re-harden after a long summer day of playing outside with the best toy ever invented…. imagination.

Back in those days there was no Hannah Montana.  Instead, I used my Fisher Price record player to rock out to the Mini-Pops, all of whom were fully clothed and provided clean-cut, non-sexual entertainment. LEGOS were the same for girls as they were for boys with shades of blue, red, yellow, white, green and black and nary a pink, fuchsia, magenta or rose to be seen.   And when I built a LEGO house I wasn’t told that woman belonged in the kitchen or it was lacking a walk-in closet.  Instead, I was complimented me on my craftsmanship and told that I might grow up to become an architect.

From thereon in I drew blue prints before creating my abodes.

"I’m glad the world I grew up in was painted every shade of the rainbow.."

Back in my day LEGO sets weren’t segregated between equestrian stables and Indiana Jones; pre-fabbed dream homes (which, frankly, pale in comparison to my own) and pirate ships.  I had the same sets as the boys (and girls!) in my class and my room was full of hospitals, airports, gas stations and, my favourite, space stations.  My LEGO men (and women!) were doctors and pilots; mechanics and astronauts.  And I grew up believing I could be those things too.

The lessons I learned growing up were no different from that of my brothers.  I learnt about camping, carpentry and oil changes instead of makeup, hair and flirting.  That’s not to say I didn’t teach myself those lessons later in life, when they were actually age-appropriate but, instead, my childhood was full of… well, childhood.   Somehow I don’t think it would have been the same had I been in an apron instead of safety goggles, if I had been told “don’t mess your hair” instead of “go outside and play” and had I been reprimanded for bending my bike tire instead of being taught to accelerate through corners when going so fast.

I’m glad the world I grew up in was painted every shade of the rainbow, instead of just blue and pink.  Not just for myself but also for my brother (because even boys should be given the opportunity to love a good doll or two!).  And while the world may have become a place where everything is gender specific mine sure hasn’t… last Christmas I got what every strong, independent and resourceful woman needs… a compound mitre saw, 2 blowtorches (because, frankly, one is never enough), bubble bath and the special wedding edition of Sex and the City movie.  After all, I’m still that same little girl…  I love my skirts, I just tuck them between my knees as I ride my scooter alongside all the Harley’s and sport bikes.  And, no, I may not be the astronaut I had once hoped to become but it’s never too late.  After all, I did get a Physics degree. And while I do perform my own oil changes I’m always very careful not to ruin my nails.

Yes, I may have been one of the boys but I was also a girlie girl.  And it was, quite frankly, the best of both worlds.  And it is the only world each and every little girl deserves.

No less and definitely much, much more.