notquiteold

Nancy Roman

All Girls Are Welcome Here

Did you know that Amelia Earhart designed her own clothes? I can’t tell you how much I am cheered by this fact.

Recently I had a conversation with an eight-year-old. This girl is nothing like me. I was a girly-girl from the get-go. I loved baby dolls and crinolines and patent leather shoes, and dresses of dotted swiss with velvet ribbons. But this little girl likes none of those things. Instead of dolls, she likes Spiderman; instead of bows, she likes bows and arrows. She cut all her hair off when she was four, and her mother has been persuaded to keep it that way. She is often mistaken for a boy. And she likes it. And I like her.

During our conversation, we talked a bit about movies. I don’t know much about children’s movies. Although I saw “Kung Fu Panda” with this same little girl. I liked it. I think she did too. So we have that in common.

Because it’s so ubiquitous, I asked her if she had seen “Frozen.” Yes, she had, although she added, “But it wasn’t very good.”

This surprised me, because from children, adults, and even that group called “critics,” I heard it was very good indeed.

“What about it,” I asked, was not good?”

“Anna should have been a ninja; not a princess.”

This worried me.

I answered: ย “Well, I think that you don’t have to be a ninja to be a hero. I think that a princess can be a hero too – if she does the right thing.”

The young girl didn’t respond. But I hope she thought about it.

I’ve thought about it a lot.

Because I hope that in the future, people will accept this small human for exactly what she is comfortable being. But I also hope that she accepts those who are not like her.

I don’t want her to show disdain for girls in pink crinolines. Any more than I want her to be derided for her Batman sneakers.

There’s room for all kinds of girls in this world.

And that is why Amelia Earhart as fashion designer so heartens me. Even 80 years ago, this woman wanted to be an aviator. AND have cool clothes.

And why not?

Am I shallow because I love clothes and makeup?

Can’tย this just be another side to a smart and complex woman?

Because I’m happy when my hair looks great, does that trivialize me?

I have important things to say.

Why can’t I change the world while wearing a pretty dress?

amelia

 

 

60 Comments

  1. Absolutely correct! Bravo!

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  2. Amen! Princesses are not the enemy. I thought about banning all princess stuff from my house for the sake of my daughter. I didn’t want her latching onto that and miss all of the other things she could be. But in the end, teaching her to avoid princesses seemed like I was teaching her that it was not OK to be a girl. So…. I am drowning in princesses. (Sticks out a lone hand above the pile of tiaras and dresses and tutus and jewelry, silently begging for someone, anyone, to save me!)

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    • I know a little Princess girl too, and I love her too. Girls can be frilly and Girls can be tough. It’s all okay.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Random Storyteller and commented:
    Amelia Earhart was a fashion designer + aviator. It’s okay to be a girly-girl or a tomboy or whatever is true to you.

    Like

  4. “Bravo” was my first thought, too! Great post.

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  5. She probably couldn’t find girls clothes in the style she needed and the size she needed After all, back then it was probably unheard of for girls to be in the field she had chosen. Great post. I haven’t seen Frozen yet. I probably am the only person in that category! LOL

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    • From what I understand Earhart was tall and lanky and didn’t fit well in traditional clothes. But she also wanted to look great – she wanted clothes with panache in great materials. She actually put out a whole line in the thirties.
      (and I haven’t seen Frozen either)

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      • Really? I’ll have to google her. That’s why I haven’t finished my book – I google too much! Frozen? Then there are two of us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  6. GREAT article. I have two girly girl princesses that are also smart, car crazy, VERY capable. You really can be all of the above.

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    • Thanks! And Absolutely. I am a girly girl and a financial executive and I’ve written a novel. And I love makeup.

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  7. I love this girl and I don’t even know her! My only hope is that she doesn’t regret being a girl. I hope she is happy to be a girl AND brave AND athletic AND smart AND, AND, AND. I wouldn’t describe myself as a girly girl, but I enjoy my softer side also.

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    • I want for her to be happy in her own skin. And to accept other girls’ differences as they accept hers.

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  8. You’ve given me food for thought. I’m still not sure how I’ll handle the whole Disney thing should I ever have a little girl, but I’m glad that from what I hear, Disney is itself catching up to be a little more feminist. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I think Disney is a bit better at letting the girl save HERSELF. What I like is the choice – girls can shoot arrows or play with dolls. Or both. Why Not? AND – boys should have that freedom too. I think the world would be a kinder place if every little boy had a doll.

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  9. Georgette Heyer in one of her novels lets her “heroine” say after being told that there are a lot more important things to think about than clothes- “of course but not when you are getting dressed” . Even more nowadays when there are so many possibilities…..

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    • That is a fabulous line! It is my new MOTTO! Thank you for that!

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  10. June

    Both my daughters are grown now and probably closer to your age than I am. (Yes, I am that ancient. ๐Ÿ˜•,) One of them refused to wear a dress to school by 2nd grade and I doubt she even has a skirt or dress in her wardrobe. The younger girl was carrying a “purse” by the time she was 2 yrs old even if it only had a tissue in it. They were both loved for themselves and still are wonderful people!

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    • I hope also that they love each other, and tolerate and even appreciate each other’s differences.

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  11. Laurie

    Nice blog. It applies to adults too. I would like women to have a choice. When I was growing up I happened to hit this pocket of years in which frills were discouraged and jeans and lumpy jackets the uniform of choice. I started my real job in the nineties when the women around me dressed more casually and gradually the 2000s took over and women started s dressing up more and more and I felt different because I can’t wear heels

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  12. Laurie

    And I am not interested enough in clothes to want to spend money or time on them. I just want to look presentable. But if we go through another seventies phase I would hope that women and girls who wanted to wear dresses and dress up could do so. And no one should be criticizing another for the way she dresses

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    • I find there is more freedom and choices of dress than ever before – buy maybe it is just me FEELING more free. Sometimes I wear a dress to work. Sometimes jeans. (Okay, mostly jeans – but with a really feminine top.) And high heels sometimes – but ballet flats are a nice alternative – and not even expensive. Think of them as Audrey Hepburn – she was always the height of style.

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  13. I’m all for a girl being what she wants to be.
    If my granddaughters are soft on the inside and tough negotiators on the inside when they need I’m happy for them. It’s a competitive world out there, tougher when when we were growing up.
    Great post, Nancy. Always thought provoking and interesting. โค

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  14. What brilliant sentiment and well said, thank you. Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. Excellent post!

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  16. Well done! My grand-daughter is quite girlie but her mom is tomboyish so little one is always in jeans and tees when she’d really prefer something twirly. When she comes to our house the first thing she gets out is the dress up box – and the first thing on is a swirly skirt AND a cape. I aim to inspire to mix it all in and do what works for HER ๐Ÿ™‚

    Loved this post! Love that little girl, too!

    MJ

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    • She’s a tough little thing you have to watch like a hawk. But she knows what she likes and she will not be led or intimidated. Now if we just add some tolerance, she will be an amazing human being.

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  17. Christine

    I was once reading Rapunzel to a little girl (age 5) whose comment was “Why do all these princesses need a prince? Why don’t they just get some training and take care of things themselves?” Sounds like a good idea; even a princess with a prince needs to be self-reliant.

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    • One of my favorite girls in the world (whose birthday was this week) said constantly from the time she was three: “I’ll do it myself.” Great motto.

      Like

  18. Reblogged this on bgballroom and commented:
    This is a wonderful story about being a girl. And about being a girly-girl. Or not. As someone who started liking twirly skirts and sparkly things from Day One and still seem to be a little obsessed in my late (really, really late!) 50’s (see how many of my posts are tagged “rhinestones” alone) Nancy Roman’s story spoke to my heart. Thanks Nancy!

    Like

    • Thanks for the re-blog! I’m glad what I wrote meant something to you.

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  19. I love this story Nancy! I have reblogged it as well, though you won’t likely notice an uptick in readers since I have a tiny following. LOL I have also shared it with every mom I know who has a little girl and quite a few who have big girls. I may just print it out and hand it to random people and all the parents at the daycare where I work. Thank you!

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    • Haha! That would be great. Let’s set up a roadblock and hand out copies!

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  20. A chance meeting here and there, more and more, I get to meet women (all ages) that became engineers, basically Analysis People. A gardener has to analyse the biology in the soil, that’s one of etc.–
    Go for it ladies of all ages, it’s way past time.
    We all must start young with something like this (three years old is not too young for some girls and boys) – not a reprimand, but support with training, tools, facility access. confidence to try builds so fast, you will have trouble keeping up.
    My Mother could not keep me out of the sewing machine at age 4. It’s too beautiful, don’t even think “you can’t do that”.

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    • Thanks.. and I hope little girls have the confidence to wear pink too… if they want to.

      Like

  21. It is nice to know Amelia was not only a great aviator but also liked pretty clothes! Talk about a total package.

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    • And she loved luxurious materials – she made much of her line out of parachute silk

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  22. You are absolutely not shallow and I hope exactly what you hope.

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    • Thanks. Girls should be what they want to be.

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  23. That little one is a unique person who hopefully will not lose any of that as she gets older. My little Grandniece, who is four, is very outspoken and very fashion conscious. She insists on wearing one pink shoe and one purple shoe. With the pink shoe she wears a purple sock and with the purple shoe she wears a pink sock. I love this about her and I hope she will continue to know her own mind. Of course, like you I hope she will be tolerant of people who wear matching shoes and socks. By the way, you do not have a shallow bone in your body.

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    • Thanks…. I do have one shallow bone in my body. It’s the fourth rib on the right.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. lifeunderacarolinamoon

    Love this! AND so true! I’ve always been kind of an in-between sorta girl. Loved frilly at times but, never wanted any boy to tell me I couldn’t do the same thing he could do! The tomboy in me couldn’t stand that! I have discovered over the years the advantage the foo-foo girls have. They whine about how delicate they are and then never have to lift a finger!! Irks me immensely. But then, I figure if I am ever marooned on a deserted island with a frilly chick I’ll be able to take care of myself. And — I won’t have to share my food for long. Ha!

    Like

    • Ha! I am both frilly AND independent. And sentimental and sarcastic. And a big baby who is tough when I need to be.

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  25. I didn’t know that about Amelia! How cool! I really want to design my own clothes, it’s on my list of things to do someday ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you made an impression on that 8 year old. I’m sure you did- you seem to have that knack for hitting just the right note.

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    • I want to design my clothes too! And I know they’d be awesome, if I just learn how to sew in a straight line. But seriously, I do worry about that little girl – that in the process of standing up for herself (which she should) I hope she doesn’t lose her ability to appreciate that little girls who are not like her are pretty special too.

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  26. I like the way you think! I wonder how I would look in overalls with bright lipstick and red nail polish to match.

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    • I always make sure I have lots of mascara. Nothing goes with jeans like mascara.

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  27. Lovely post. My mom was a great seamstress. People used to make more of their own clothes ( Growing up I always wished for store bought). It was so much easier to not be wearing the same thing everyone else had on. And you do grow up appreciating fabric, construction, style, and finely made things – which cost a fortune in stores at that time.
    People should be allowed to be who they are. While I’m not a princessy person at all, I do like fine clothes (not pink – hideous on me. and I don’t do ruffles).
    if more girls were offered a wide range of activities, they might be more comfortable in multiple situations without feeling like they have to pick the pink princess crowd over the utilitarian/sports/brainy crowds (and as adults: the working moms vs the stay at home moms)
    My daughter wore ballet tutus (it turned out she loved prancing around in those from garage sales more than the lessons) as well as pounded nails into scrap lumber on the back deck, camping out, horsebackriding, roller blading, swimming, tap dancing, going to fine arts events like museums and symphonies (at an early age – 3), gymnastics, tap dancing, cheer leading, calculus, micro-biology, and physics.
    Kid’s attitudes are really affected by parents’ choices – even the kids with strong leaning in one style or another – it’s always good to know both sides and what life has to offer. It does take work on a parent’s part to make sure they try the entire buffet of experiences.
    Hopefully you are worrying/ reading too much about this one little girl. Her tolerance may be broader as an adult than you fear.

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    • I really hope so. Her parents are rather proud she is so strong and opinionated. I just hope maturity adds a little kindness and tolerance too.

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  28. I was pretty much a tomboy until I hit age 11, but I never really became a girly girl either. I feel I’m sort of a mixture of everything and I like it that way. Nice post, Nancy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I love being girly – but I love my independence too. Heaven help the person who talks down to me.

      Like

  29. Exactly! You CAN save the world in a pretty dress (as long as it has a cape.)

    Like

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