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You know, whenever I read about or talk to my women friends… - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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[Jul. 13th, 2010|05:02 pm]
Zoethe
You know, whenever I read about or talk to my women friends describing their childhood, I'm a bit perplexed and intimidated.

"I never wore pink," they say. "I was always climbing trees." "I never played with dolls." "I was reading Shakespeare by the age of 7."

I wasn't like that. I loved my baby dolls. I loved playing house, and dress-up. I loved unicorns and fairy tales. I didn't like mud very much. I was content to read Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder and then Louisa May Alcott. I liked being a girl.

Now, that's not to say I didn't climb trees or play kickball or ride bikes or do many of those other things that my women friends liked to do. But my play along the spectrum tended toward the pink end rather than the blue end. My cousins and I dressed our dolls and walked them up and down the driveway in their carriages and looked forward to the day when we would have real babies of our own.

Hearing women talk about their childhoods of frogs and hammers, baseballs and dungarees, and hear the sneer in their voice at the very notion that a little girl should ever enjoy the stereotypical little girl pursuits, I used to feel embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn't one of them. My love for my dolls, and for playing house and dress-up seemed like a terrible waste of a childhood. Then last year I was talking to my sister, and she was reminiscing about when she was very little and I was in grade school. "You always thought up the best games," she said. "It didn't matter what was around. You'd find a way to turn two chunks of wood into a pirate ship, or a bush into a fairy house. You were the best at playing, and you always took care of all the little kids in the game."

And I'm okay with it. Being motherly, loving baby dolls and babies isn't something to hide. I may have loved pink, but I took everyone along on my adventures.

I'm Gini. I grew up playing with dolls, coloring in the lines, and reading Nancy Drew. And I'm awesome.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2010-07-13 09:06 pm (UTC)
I played a lot with dolls and stuffed animals too, though it wasn't so much anticipating being a mom as creating large group dynamics (which were, mostly, kind of dysfunctional).

I figure, hey, everyone should be able to play with what makes them happy, and if that's what made you happy, then more power to ya.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-13 09:42 pm (UTC)
My daughter went through what we called her "Barbie Bondage" phase. Barbies were continually tied to things, and sometimes being led around by Ken, who was holding the rope tied to their wrists. They were always being rescued by other Barbies, though. As a mother, you sometimes just have to hold your tongue.
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[User Picture]From: shydescending
2010-07-13 09:06 pm (UTC)
Good for you! I grew up doing all those things. I had a massive box of Barbies, *and* I went fishing and watched baseball with my dad. Now that I'm an adult, I'm still the same mix.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-13 09:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks! A healthy mix is great, IMHO.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-07-13 09:08 pm (UTC)
And I'm awesome. -- and don't you forget it!

I actually played with dolls more as I got older than I did when I was small - at 10 or 11 my cousin and I had an entire soap opera going on with our dolls that involved breakups, my one doll having leukemia, etc. My dolls were always teenagers. :P

I think part of what colored my childhood was my dad's insistence that I not play with "boy toys". Instead of being content with baby dolls and tea sets, I ended up making friends with the boys that had all the cool toys and playing with them at their house. :)

But I had barbies and my little ponies and pretended I was Laura Ingalls on my covered wagon and played Monopoly with myself (I don't know, I was a boring kid) but I was also digging around in the dirt and playing in the woods and helping Danny's G.I. Joe guys terrorize his sister's dollhouse.

If anything, I wish I'd been better at being a girl when I was young, because maybe then I'd be better at being a girl NOW.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-13 09:44 pm (UTC)
You are perfectly fine at being a girl! You are sweet, but you don't take guff, loving but opinionated, kind but willing to kick ass if needed. You, too, are awesome.
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[User Picture]From: saraphina_marie
2010-07-13 09:12 pm (UTC)
I hear ya!
I did both, though, I climbed trees and played in the dirt, but I insisted in doing it in a dress. I LOVED, and still love, my Barbies and baby dolls and frilly lace things and jewelry and perfume and faeries and unicorns. Could never abide pink, but oh how I LOVE lace and ribbons.
I enjoy being the girliest girl I know, but also being the tomboyest girl I know. I love driving my pickup with faerie stickers on it and prisms and beads hanging from the rear-view mirror.
I am excited to be a mom! And not so secretly, hoping to have a girl so she can have all the same fun I did, doing things however as girl or tomboyish she wants!
But I do agree that there is a lot of snide derision over having grown up girly, not sure why "feminism" as taken that turn towards anything that is on the "pink" spectrum is somehow evil. I think we women need to learn to love who we are, hockey games and gardens of lilies combined! ^_^
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[User Picture]From: kittyb90
2010-07-13 09:23 pm (UTC)
I agree. I think feminism should be less about one or the other being right or wrong and more about having the CHOICE to be either way or both at the same time.
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[User Picture]From: funwithrage
2010-07-13 09:15 pm (UTC)
For me, the divide wasn't nearly so much about feminine v. masculine as athletic and outdoorsy v. geekish. I liked dolls, books, computers, cartoons, and video games. Had no interest at all in sports, or indeed in most aspects of nature.

Oddly enough, I stopped wanting to have anything to do with kids around puberty or so--I think about the time that I grasped some of the realities of parenthood--and I've become more okay with outdoor stuff as I've grown up. Sort of. Mostly. For a very specific range of "nature" which I define as "around eighty degrees with no humidity, and sunny, and I don't have to sleep in it, and there aren't gross bugs."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-13 09:47 pm (UTC)
Now, see, I loved camping as a kid and as an adult, though it's been a lot of years now since I've been - I don't even have equipment for it, now.

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[User Picture]From: hooloovooo
2010-07-13 09:22 pm (UTC)
I think my childhood was a healthy shade of purple. I was just as happy doing pink or blue things, and had even more fun combining them. My Barbies hung out with my GI Joes, and both transformers and My Little Ponies were equally acceptable modes of transportation. I would climb trees to build fairy houses in the branches.

I'm skeptical of most who say they did nothing pink, and suspect that they too have some secret shame about their more girly pursuits.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2010-07-13 09:33 pm (UTC)
I'm skeptical of most who say they did nothing pink, and suspect that they too have some secret shame about their more girly pursuits.

I suspect this is true in many cases; I still struggle to defeat the reflexive coding of those behaviors that I learned from the boys. And I'm a lot less likely in daily conversation to mention my care bears than my transformers, even to this day.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2010-07-13 09:24 pm (UTC)
Hearing women talk about their childhoods of frogs and hammers, baseballs and dungarees, and hear the sneer in their voice at the very notion that a little girl should ever enjoy the stereotypical little girl pursuits, I used to feel embarrassed and ashamed that I wasn't one of them.

I was very guilty of this for a long time; I think it's easy for tomboys to get misogynistic, and it's not a good thing. I'm really grateful for women's studies in college mostly because it made me recognize this and stop treating non-tomboy women like crap.
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[User Picture]From: frito_kal
2010-07-13 09:47 pm (UTC)
Well just look at how we code the term for girls who like sports. tomBOY. As though they're no longer female.
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[User Picture]From: zevhonith
2010-07-13 09:25 pm (UTC)
Me too! Sometimes I pretended to be a tomboy so my sister would hang out with me, but I've always been a girly girl, and I'll always be one.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-13 09:58 pm (UTC)
I never really thought that much about it when I was a kid. Some days we would play house, and some days we would play cowboys and Indians. It's distressing to see the "house" days treated like they are somehow repulsive.

I think I was mostly a really standard issue girl with a mix of siblings and cousins.
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[User Picture]From: sterling_raptor
2010-07-13 09:37 pm (UTC)
I was a HUGE tomboy and while I hated the whole parent/mommy thing, I totally loved arts and crafts as well as domestic things like cooking and cleaning.

I did hate pink (still do as well as all pastels), and I did hate dolls, I did read Shakespeare at 5, but it was due to community theater doing Shakespeare for kids. It was awesome. I also did look down on the girly-girls because they acted helpless, not because they liked girly things.

Now, meh. Girly things are sometimes frivolous and I personally find them aggravating if I'm supposed to plan my time around how long it takes someone else to get ready.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-14 01:35 am (UTC)
Oh, getting ready is not the problem with me. I'm shower-dressed-out the door in 15 minutes.

It's cool what you liked. I'm just tired of being told that what I liked was inferior.
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[User Picture]From: caudelac
2010-07-13 09:41 pm (UTC)
I was a girly girl. And then I fell off of the swings while wearing a dress that I HOWLED to get to wear to school in the 3rd grade, and you couldn't get me into a dress again till Junior High. Later in life, I have sort of petered out into a mix of high-level diva-girly-- My Little Pony collecting, Barbie Owning, Princess Frocks on the walls and all, and my 3-piece suit and cufflinks collection. I want it all. I have always had gender issues, really...

But at the end of the day, I also had a Rainbow Brite Stove.

And I still miss it.

Edited at 2010-07-13 09:42 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-14 01:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, dresses where not great for the playground. I grew up when they weren't optional for girls - that changed in junior high, thank heavens.

Go you; have it all.
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[User Picture]From: greektoomey
2010-07-13 09:42 pm (UTC)
Have you ever heard Dar Williams's song, "When I Was A Boy"?
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[User Picture]From: unmutual
2010-07-13 10:06 pm (UTC)
I love that song!

I donno. I didn't wear pink and I spent a lot of time in trees and I hated to wear skirts and I was always given funny looks for playing in gym class 'like a boy' (which meant 'with considerably more enthusiasm than the other girls'); I also loved Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls and unicorns and sparkly girly stuff like stickers and lip gloss.

But I did so very much want to be a boy.
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From: wildcelticrose
2010-07-13 09:44 pm (UTC)
I LOVED my Barbies and my model horses.

I was also a total tomboy.

The best part of being a girl for me was that I could go get into trouble with the boys then let my hair down, change into a frilly dress and not be suspect ;)

I'll have to admit that I grew out of the idea of finding motherhood (pretend or otherwise) appealing at a very early age due to watching my mother (and myself) being trapped and abused.

Sadly, I swore to myself at 9 or 10 years old that I would never be dependent on a man. (don't get me wrong, I like men I've even raised someone eles's child and tried the marriage thing)

How sad is it to make that proclamation at such an early age?

I honestly thought for a time that I might outgrow or rise above the abusive upbringing.

It's apparent that I'm still unable to choose an appropriate partner.

That's why I just don't bother any more.

I'm content to have my own home, my own life and wonderful friends.

I still like to do "girly stuff" as well as tomboy stuff too :)





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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-14 01:43 am (UTC)
You have made an amazing life. I've loved watching you put together your new home.

Because of my fucked up family, I had a short time of, "screw that; I've raised my kids." But I really was a baby person. It came back. It's not better or worse, just our natures. People who scold women for not wanting kids are just as screwed up as the ones who hate that anyone ever has kids.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2010-07-13 09:49 pm (UTC)
I read Nancy Drew and I climbed trees. Stereotypes are usually accurate in the aggregate whole but wildly inaccurate for individuals.

And I liked pink. Until I discovered that I preferred really vibrant shades of red. Even so, hot pink has a lot to offer...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-14 01:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, me too. But the girly parts are so often dismissed as inferior. I just want to stand up with them.
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[User Picture]From: tormentedartist
2010-07-13 09:53 pm (UTC)
I find this pretty sad. You would never see a guy no matter how "cool" write about how he was ashamed of doing things typical of the male gender when he was young.
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[User Picture]From: frito_kal
2010-07-13 10:02 pm (UTC)
That's because activities coded as 'female' are considered shameful for boys but the reverse is not true for women. Girls are allowed to act like boys, boys are still looked down on if they act in ways or perform acts that are coded as female.
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[User Picture]From: smartlikeatruck
2010-07-13 10:02 pm (UTC)
I love Nancy Drew, except for the bits where she has to be rescued by a dude. Those always pissed me off, which is why I switched to Sherlock. He never needed rescuing, period.

And while I did not do much baby-doll playing, I did love Barbie for a few years.

I hated having to be the girl who gets rescued in games with boys, and I was much more interested in having adventures than in playing house. That doesn't devalue those roles, but I think hat a lot of the RAWR-ing that goes on comes from women who spent a chunk of time being told that they couldn't play with the boys, that girls didn't "do" certain things, etc.

More than anything, mad props to you for enjoying who you are as a person.
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[User Picture]From: rintheamazing
2010-07-14 01:16 am (UTC)
I always liked Trixie Belden better than Nancy Drew.
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