When I was a child, calling me girly would have probably earned you a serious scowl, and that's if you were lucky. You would have found me outside, either on a bike, in a pool or trekking through the woods, no matter the conditions. What poor Barbies I had suffered through all kinds of un-Barbie-like indignities, such as parachuting out of the windows or being "jungle women" who were hunting wildebeest or some such nonsense.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I realized my daughter seems to be turning out to be a girly-girl. (NOT that there is anything wrong with that) She loves crafting, reading, puppies, kittens, glitter, unicorns, and (dear God help me) JUSTICE. This store is her REASON.FOR.LIVING. Anyway. The point of all of this is that Sunday, she asked me if we could talk. In private. Oh good. (As an aside, the child has been playing softball for three seasons, and, while she has, shall we say, improved, she is pretty average overall. I have suggested cheer-leading in the past, as she is enthusiastic, a team player, and always bouncing, flipping, jumping etc., so I thought she might enjoy it.)
The conversation went something like this:
Cecilia: I might want to do cheer-leading in the fall.
Me: Sounds great. We'll sign up.
Cecilia: I'm worried my friends might think I'm too girly.
Me: WHAT. THE. HELL. (not really, but in my head)
Me really: Well, honey, people who are really your friends will be your friend,
regardless, blah blah blah words words words etc.
Cecilia: And every time I see cheerleaders on TV, they are always so mean.
I had never considered this but she's right. The TV version of most cheerleaders is awful. Mean, snotty, AND stupid as well as gorgeous and popular. I take issue with this. I know plenty of girls who were cheerleaders and most of them are among the nicest, most decent chicks you would ever hope to meet. Oh, and pretty freaking clever too. Let's see: among my high school friends, we have some of the following: an attorney, a CPA, a graphic designer, a dentist and a civil servant serving in Cairo. Sounds like a real bunch of dummies, huh? Um, yeah, all of them decent women with families, children, and all involved members of their communities.
There is no reason that my daughter should be worried about being a cheerleader. Or a softball player or a garbage truck driver. No reason other than stereotype and small-mindedness. We'll get through it, whichever route we take. I just want the routes to be available for choosing freely.