notquiteold

Nancy Roman

All Girls Are Welcome Here

In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s my 2015 salute to all girls – in all the wondrous forms we take.

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:  “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’t 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

31 Comments

  1. A side of women’s equality that isn’t mentioned often. Good for you thinking this way and sharing it with us!

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  2. Fantastic. We should just be ourselves and respect each other. I don’t like pink myself. I LOVE purple!
    Great post for International Women’s Day. 😀

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    • The way I see it, my brain is big enough to care about global warming AND mascara.

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  3. Meg

    Yes! I’m a little tired of so many women claiming to have been tomboys and denying their feminine side.

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    • No tomboy here… I was ALWAYS the girliest of girly-girls. And I still am. But I am a very independent smart girly-girl.

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  4. What an awesome post. My daughter is very much like your eight year old buddy. I’m like you. I think their is a beauty in both our choices.

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  5. My daughter never wanted ‘girly’ clothes and that was 50 plus years ago when girls wore pink and boys wore blue. I’m so glad that girls like your buddy have the opportunity to dress as they feel comfortable with no snide remarks (I hope) from others. Thanks for this post.

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    • No reason why girls can’t wear combat boots – or tiaras.

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      • Tarrah

        Or both, at the same time

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  6. I was always a tomboy growing up, becoming more of a girly girl when I hit my thirties… Great post, as always, and I have to agree that Anna should have been a ninja!

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    • Thanks. But if Anna would rather be a princess, that’s ok too!

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  7. Bravo! Completely agree.. Everyone should be accorded space to be who they want to be. If I may dare say, sometimes I have seen ‘tom-boys’ are basically girls who have a rebellious derision cultivated towards anything feminine- they may be consciously blocking out parts of themselves, so as not to come across as too girly. Perhaps it is the absence of role models who lie in spots in the middle of the spectrum, or conditioning by a culture that does not take anything feminine seriously. I hope the little girl in your story is not actually a victim of self-loathing, like some other cases.

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    • I think she is so encouraged to be a tomboy, that she now feels the other choices are wrong. I am glad she is encouraged to be herself. But she should be respectful of all girls. I heard her tell another little girl – who was wearing a pink dress – that “pink dresses are stupid.” That worries me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. mercyn620

    We are complex beings, with a variety of likes, dislikes, talents and skills. It will be wonderful if/when people are not stereotyped, but their various complexities celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

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  10. No, I did not know that about Earhart. A very thoughtful post! It is a reminder that gender can have many faces. I admire ladies (perhaps like you!) who can wear bling and pink and ruffles and carry it off, but I have never been able to be comfortable that way. I prefer tailored clothes or jeans. It is nice to see today that girls have choices!

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    • I’m a girly girl when it comes to makeup and hair – but not too frou-frou in the clothes department. It’s great that we all have a choice.

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  11. Dana

    I was a Matchbox and Hot Wheels girl, myself. Later all about music — Oldies! Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison, Check Berry, ELVIS!!! Never occurred to me to even think about makeup or nail polish. Just not who I am!

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    • And that’s terrific! We all need to be who we are! For me, I couldn’t think of a single thing to do with a toy car. But give me a doll……

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  12. My boss is at the top of her field in medicine, a noted expert who is flown around the world to give talks and consult with other world experts. She chose between being a fashion designer and becoming a doctor. She still always looks amazing.

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    • That’s the kind of doctor I’d want to be!

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      • She doesn’t have to touch blood, either. She chose wisely!

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  13. Of course you can change the world while wearing a dress! Although I’m not girly-girl myself, I admire women who are. Take Catherine, Prince William’s wife. She’s a strong woman, but always looks impeccable and feminine. I think femininity is a lost art. Dressing like a woman, in skirts and heels, well-coiffed hair, and make-up that enhances beauty, not overshadowing it, is a wonderful thing. I do not think less of women who dress this way – quite the opposite.

    And no, I didn’t know that Amelia Earhart made her own clothes. Cool little tid-bit. 🙂

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    • Earhart wanted to look as cool as possible – and she did!

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  14. I just got around to reading this one and what a delight! As always, a great article spun out of everyday moments and put together to mean so much more than just celebrating women! One of the nicest Women’s Day articles I have read. Congratulations….clap clap clap 🙂

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  15. This is a part of the ‘woman’ issue I have been thinking on myself. The entire issue of what are we as women, where is the line and why is there a line. I think you are exactly correct, there should not be one.

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  16. Hang out with her throughout her lifetime and I bet she gets it and appreciates you for your girly-girl strength as well.

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