A Mighty Girl

The Girls-Can-Do-Anything 1980s seem to have melted into the Girls-Can-Be-Princesses 2010s. Is there any other costume option for girls in kids’ media?

Pop culture has become a morass for parents of little girls. You have to sidestep sexualised clothing for 6-year-olds and billboards of unusually skinny women in their knickers before you even get to questions of career choice, combining paid work and motherhood, or how to handle a glass ceiling.

The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

If you’re interested in princess stories where the girl does the rescuing, or girl power music that actually empowers girls (rather than just saying ‘girl power!’ while wearing underwear on stage), check out A Mighty Girl, a resource website with guides to books, music, clothing, movies and other stuff.

There are some great resources around for raising girls in this difficult world of ours. I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments.

Thanks MJB for the heads-up (a phrase I prefer to the gendered ‘Hat Tip‘, though there should be something better out there: suggestions welcome in the comments!).

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0 comments on “A Mighty Girl”

  1. Aphie Reply

    Highly recommend “The Worst Princess”, a Paperbag princess for the 2010s – my son LOVES it, as do I. (We also like The Princes and the Bag of Frozen Peas, though that one does not feature dragons at all, nor tea-drinking, which are both big in this household). I only have a small penis-wielder, but i feel it’s just as important to raise him not to denigrate girls as it is to teach girls they can do anything, so we mix and match a lot with things from “boy culture” and “girl culture”.

  2. Angela Reply

    Was it you that put up a link to a blog post a while back about when we greet girls we shouldn’t just compliment them on their clothes but actually discuss what activities they have been up to, like we do with boys? I would love to see that again…

      • Alex Reply

        Thank you. Both of you. I needed to read that one again, too.
        I’m just dipping my toes in practical experience of this quandary – pretty much the only princess books and stories we have in the house are from the “empowering” school of storytelling, and yet my 2 year old still spends seemingly vast amounts of time wandering around stating “look at me, I pretty”. And she is. And I want her always to believe that. But I don’t want that to be “it”… More thought required, I think.

          • Alex

            Indeed, and I’m grateful for it.
            In the interests of balance, I should add that my son (4) is quite keen on being praised on his attire and appearance too… Which I’m choosing for now to take as a healthy sign that we’re being even handed, and not as a negative comment on how shallow they are becoming! 😉

  3. Caroline Reply

    Fireman Sam has recently become popular in our house. There’s a token female firefighter in the series, which I cynically dismissed as a sop to parents concerned about equality. However, the fact that there’s a female character in it has really engaged my 3 year old daughter who now wants to be a firefighter when she grows up (when she’s not wanting to be a princess). It also means that the boys at nursery let her join in when they are playing Fireman Sam at nursery since they all accept that she can pretend to be Penny. Just shows the importance of positive female role models.

    …and it’s an improvement on last week when she was told by the boys at nursery that girls can’t be pirates.

    • not a wild hera Reply

      I’m shocked – shocked, I tell you! – that boys told her she couldn’t be a pirate! Not surprised exactly, and no doubt I need to harden up, but how awful!

      At a friend’s kindy there’s a rule that you can’t say to anyone else ‘you can’t play with us’. For three and four year olds, that seems like a sensible blanket rule to encourage positive social engagement. I wonder how many kids spaces have rules about gendered play?

      • Alex Reply

        I was thinking about this again recently. I’ve had to step in a number of times when my son has told his sister that she “can’t” be something or other when they’re playing (usually when she wants to be Mike the Knight and he wants her to be Evie…) However, Toy Story seems to be different. Their favourite of the series is Toy Story 2, which (for those of you unfamiliar with it!) does introduce a pretty reasonable female toy character in Jessie. Whenever they play at Toy Story (which is often) it – so far – doesn’t seem to occur to either of them that my daughter should be Jessie, they just take it in turns to be Buzz or Woody.
        I don’t really know what point I’m trying to make here, certainly not wanting to dispute the value of female role models, and maybe it’s just an age thing – maybe when my daughter is the age of Caroline’s she’ll be more inclined to identify with Jessie – but for now I’m quite enjoying having a gender-indifferent mini Buzz Lightyear around the house!
        (gender-indifferent in this context only, I should add – she is very definitely and proudly aware of the fact she is a Big Girl now!)

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