Are you a pirate or princess?



It all started with a quick facebook post about my reluctance to answer my 4-year-old daughter’s Christmas wish of two princess dresses. I found myself ordering a pirate dress instead and asked my friends if this was naughty or nice. WIth mixed revues, I was feeling guilty so didn’t order the pirate dress or buy the princess dresses. Then a friend, Kevin, posted that I should do neither and to let my creativity run. So, that is the plan. I am going to build a dressing up/imagination box full of all kinds of thing to let one’s imagination run wild.

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I am divided by this dichotomy.  Although I am a feminist, I was also a ballerina growing up and I would like to think that being exposed to all opportunities is best to nurture her own identity. After thinking about this further, I realise it is the over sexualisation of some dressing up that bothers me. Dressing up is about trying out different personas, being someone else briefly and experiencing a little bit of something new. It is not about playing a role that someone else thinks you should play.

There is quite a bit of information around the topic of dressing up, particularly for girls.

Avoiding sexy costumes, a CNN report says: “Marketers basically decide what is ‘girl’ and what is ‘boy,’ which ultimately leads to two very distinct ways to profit as well as a blind acceptance from the consumer who, often, doesn’t realize it’s happening,” Yulo says. “Girls are inundated from a very young age with inappropriate messaging by way of products like ‘skinny’ jeans for toddlers, or T-shirts that say, ‘I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother does it for me,’ and sexy Halloween costumes. Kids begin to codify other kids by placing them in strict categories that they’ve been taught — not born with. Inevitably, kids begin to believe that girls need to be sexy, and boys believe it, too.”

Trying to be a rolemodel is difficult. I love women of all kinds for lots of different reasons. The women in my life are amazing and I hope that my daughter will realise the beauty of being a woman and how that goes far beyond playing a role or fitting into a box that is 2 dimensional. Oh wait, I hope I realise that too!

Back to where it all started…the Christmas wish of princess dresses. I hope the dressing up box filled with possibilities is a hit. I’ve drawn some plans for a box made from a pallet, paid £.30 for an old broom handle at a junk yard and found a brilliant website for making a variety of comstumes. Now I have to get making! Pictures of it complete soon!


2 thoughts on “Are you a pirate or princess?

  1. It’s really interesting and a great post. It’s a bit like the virgin\whore dilemma. Women (and men!!) are so much more complex than any spectrum allows us to be. We can embody so many different roles throughout our lives and hopefully we are empowered to choose in a way that represents us, not what others want or find attractive. No dount Izzy will be curious, strong, compassionate, creative, and driven like her momma. No doubt she will find a way to negotiate a costume as a princess and a pirate and pioneer her own character – zombie butterfly anyone? 🙂

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