Okay, so, obviously I haven’t written in a while – between working three jobs, trying to keep up with dance classes, and starting to train as a dance instructor, plus fighting what I think may be strep throat, my brain is NOT functioning.
BUT. A brief exchange with the toddler today made me think a little bit about my feminist nanny techniques.
We were hanging out, and she was sitting on my lap. She was in a good mood, and we were joking around. I said to her “who’s wonderful?” and she proudly replied “me!” (she actually replied with her name, but you get the point). I continued, “who’s brave?” “me!” then “who’s… fantastic?” “me!” and “who’s… clever?” “me!”
Last, I threw in “who’s beautiful?” and she paused for just a second before saying “a butterfly!”
Now, obviously she’s internalized the idea that her cleverness and kindness and bravery are more important than her appearance. So, excellent!
But in a game we were playing where I was obviously listing positive adjectives that were about her, it jarred me a bit that she didn’t immediately identify with the idea of being beautiful.
And since I spend a lot of time thinking about these issues, it’s been bugging me ever since, and I’m curious to know what you think.
SO. Do I:
A. keep doing as I’ve been doing, praising her for her patience and memory and cleverness, and hope that her confidence in her many awesome traits will help insulate her a bit when the cultural messages about appearance start to have an effect on her?
B. start to throw in a “beautiful” or “pretty” or “cute” here and there, so that when those messages do take effect she can feel confident knowing that she is beautiful?
C. stop over-thinking things and just be happy I get to hang out with such a wonderful, kind, clever, brave, and patient kid every day?