I was reminded of this video yesterday when I met up with an old friend who, despite best efforts to maintain a gender neutral attitude to toys, clothes, &c., has a daughter who wants to be a ballerina and wear a pink tutu all the time.
I don’t see that as proof that ‘girls will be girls’, by the way. I think it’s more down to how difficult it is to counteract the prevailing attitude. However much we try – and by ‘we’ I mean parents who don’t buy into the ‘boys like superheroes, girls like princesses’ bullshit – it’s not an easy task to block the signals and attitudes our children are exposed to.
My job as a father is to give my daughter as many opportunities in life as I can. That’s partly about working hard to present those opportunities. But more importantly, it’s about giving her the attitude that she should ignore people who seek to limit her horizons by putting up artificial boundaries between what boys and girls can and should do.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy. But Riley, the girl in the video, gives me great hope that it’s achievable.