Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pink Out

I've been dressing my daughter in pink since she was newborn, on cultural autopilot, without thinking. And here I thought I was a discerning adult woman, a skeptic of all things labeled "girl."

I went to Smith in the 90s, when Riot Grrrl was rampant and we were all daughters of mothers who at macrame consciousness raisers in the 70s checked out their own cervixes (cervixi?) and marched for a better, more egalitarian Eden.

At that time, when we were 19, we thought we could punk rock in an apron. Some of my friends quilted ferociously. I made Barbara Kruger-esque collages and font-nerded out making bold and sans serif the word DENTATA.

The womanhood that was waiting for us seemed rigorous, raw and lionine. Dare I name the band Hole?

Little girls today wear sparkle-plastic heels and ballet-pink nails and twirl. Pink! Pink back when I was coming of age was fuschia, gnarly, chipped.

What have I been spoon-feeding my daughter? Princesses, fairies, "prettyness" and a distinct lack of body-knowledge, I think. Without Peggy Orenstein's great book Cinderella Are My Daughter I would still have my head in the soft pink sand of modern girlhood. It's just so soft, and pink.

What happened to the righteousness and momentum of the 70s, to the 3rd wave of feminism on which I surfed? My daughter is too young to make a purchase, so why am I purchasing for her heels? Pink boas? Why are any of us? Let's stop before we slap down another dollar for Disney, and save it instead for the future which is we want our daughters to be able to think for themselves.

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