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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Birthdays > Girly Parties



8-year-old wants girly party

March 2002

My soon-to-be 8 year old daughter has selected a birthday theme this year that I'm having a lot of trouble getting behind. So much so, that I've been trying to suggest other enticing alternatives, but to no avail. She is adamant that she wants a ''Dress-up Party'' with just girls that involves getting dressed in elegant, lacy clothes, make-up, etc and having a sort of tea party. I know part of my problem is that I'm a plain, no makeup, jeans-type feminist. And I admit I am a little bothered by my daughter's facination with fashion and make-up. Although I've never prohibited her in-fun fashion and make-up experimentation, I must admit to feeling really kind of embarrassed to have it as a birthday theme. I don't know how it will be received by other parents. I'm also at a loss as to other party activities that would fit the theme besides just dressing up. Any thoughts or ideas?


1) Please don't ever be embarrassed by your child's choices in life.
2) Try to always take your child's side and to hell what other parents think.
3) My sister had as her 9th birthday theme a beauty contest which was immortalized on 8mm film (because that was part of the fun). She is now also a plain, no makeup, jeans-type feminist. But if she had become a dyer-of-hair, getting-nails-done, make-up wearing fashion plate - so what? It's all what's beneath the surface that counts.
Fancy clothes and a tea party... could be fun! A pretty cake, nice silver and china... But really, I can see myself running into the same situation in a few years... my 4 y.o. loves to dress up, her favorite color is pink, and begs to wear her fanciest clothes to the park. I on the other hand wear black jeans and boots most of the time. I recommend you celebrate the differences, the worst thing you can do is regret that she isn't like you. As for the other parents, I wouldn't worry about it. I've been to Barbie theme parties with my daughter and the moms were just as embarrassed.
You should not be embarrassed. Hopefully it is a phase, and it could be a fun one. Use it to teach table manners, how to properly introduce yourself, etc. A friend of mine used a digital camera and made portraits and gave them out as party favors. Anyway, I would figure out what kinds of useful things they could learn in this setting (like what is a salad fork? runcible spoon?) whatever. An Alice in Wonderland theme? Anyway, just make it as creative and silly as possible and you will survive. They could all have to speak in phoney accents for example. Whatever. Exaggerate the thing until it's funny to you. Girls have as much a right to try this out as they do to work like dogs.
She is expressing herself in a way that makes her feel good and she is inviting her friends to share that with her. Chances are they will love it. We should not be ashamed or embarassed as women to indulge ourselves in the things that make us feel feminine. There is nothing wrong with make-up and frilly dresses. What is wrong is the society that views being feminine as being a weakness. I look at feminism as not rebelling against being a woman and losing ourselves so as to fit in to a male dominated society but as embracing everything about being a woman (including the make-up and frilly dresses)and showing the world that we can be corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, mechanics without having to give up our femininity. Let her play and have fun - the world will tell her how she should act soon enough!
Unless I missed something, isn't the point of feminism is to give women freedom? Part of freedom is letting you daughters grow up to be who they are. All children go through phases, often times girls go through a ''Barbie'' phase. This will probably pass, humor her for the moment. She only has 1 chance to be a little girl. I was a total girlie girl I wouldn't even wear pants, between the ages of 4-10. My mom didn't own make up, or a dress. Here I am, I do own make up, but I only wear it on a special occasion. I played varsity BOYS baseball when I was a sophmore in highschool. I own, maybe, 3 dresses that fit. Try not to be embarressed. If you friends look down on you, for your daughters desires, do you really want them as friends??
Although it may be difficult to take, it is very normal at that age to want to embrace gender roles (or at least the trappings). Go ahead with the party, but maybe read a great story about a ''princess'' or a lady who breaks the rules. Also, if the girls are allowed to choose the costumes themselves, throw a few crazy items into the mix and see if anyone changes the dress code on her own. Imagine angel wings, feather boas and pirate eye patches together. It may be difficult to accept right now, but by allowing your daughter to express her own views, and by validating that the choices she makes are her own, you are encouraging her to stand up for herself, and find her own voice. There are many feminists (myself included) that like wearing makeup and playing dress up. With a mother that values and respects her for whoever she wants to be, she should have no problem growing into a strong woman.
We just went through this for our 7 year old daughter, though it was a small co-ed tea party. Some kids got dressed up, others didn't and in the end it was fine, and drinking the actual tea was a big hit (though make-up was not a part of it, which I would have had an issue with as well). In our case, so many of our daughter's interests wax and wane, including Barbies which she is not longer interested in. I think if you instill certain underlying values and are't too restrictive along the way, in the end it will work out fine. But then again, better check in with me when we hit adolescence here! Good luck.
I do not think that your daughter's request is at all embarrassing. I recently attended a ''dress up'' party and the kids had a great time. The mother hired a woman who actually brought the china tea sets, glass plates, food and a trunk full of clothing. They started with a tea party which consisted of fruit, finger sandwiches (peanut butter, cheese, etc.) and some other items which were all served on the glass plates. When the kids were done eating, they made bead necklaces. After they finished making the necklaces, they played dress up. They had big hats, feather boas, victorian type dresses, play shoes, gloves and the like (no make-up). They all looked very cute..even the boy who attended (he eventually changed into his halloween costume). You can actually make this event alot of fun without making the girls look too old with mature clothing and make-up. Enjoy!
No need to be embarrassed - your daughter is not you and even though it's not the type of party you would choose, it's her party, and other parents understand that (if that's your concern). I've heard of other girls having parties that include going to the local beauty college to get hair/makeup/nails done. Also, why not just take your daughter's lead and make it a tea party? You could have a table where they make chocolates (pour chocolates into moulds) or other tea party goodies (like fun sandwiches and cookies), then get to eat the ones they make. There's nothing anti-feminist about wanting to dress up and have a pretty birthday party.
Personally, I don't see any point in resisting your child's request for a girlish party. Here are the reasons:
1. It's a phase.
2. Even with force, you can't change the person that she is inside.
3. By resisting an 8-year-old, you're inviting her to dig in her heals on the matter.
4. There is no one way to be a feminist. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to to allow your child to be the person that she is. And remember that you set the primary example for womanhood in her life.
5. It's not your birthday.
If I were you, I would facilitate the party cheerfully and graciously. That's the best birthday present you could give her.
My mom just brought me a photo of me and two neighbor friends, all of us six years old, all in long ''gowns'' with high heels and fancy purses over our shoulders. I'm a jeans type feminist too, but the picture reminded me how much I loved pretending to be an ''elegant'' grownup. (You chose exactly the right word.) I would make the invitations very grown up (and if you can stand it) even go with the whole British royalty thing -- do it with a sense of humor and you'll feel less embarrassed:

Lady _ _ (your daughter's name) invites Lady _ _ (invitee) to a garden party and tea to celebrate her birthday.
(or just please come a to garden party and birthday tea)

Give them each a tea cup, little cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a flowery cake, and you'll have made your daughter very happy.


To the embarrassed mom: This is an easy one. A young, hip, activist, political feminist mama myself, I have learned that true feminism is not about the clothes you wear, or the kind of 8-year old birthday parties you have; it is about celebrating all aspects of being a girl, a teenager, a woman.

If your daughter is really into having this kind of party, let her enjoy it -- she's only 8 once, and I'm sure nobody is going to wag their haughty p.c. fingers at ya. Later, she'll thank you for letting her explore her femininity from an early age - dressing up in fancy clothes is not ''unfeminist'' - rather, it means she loves the way her body looks and feels in glamorous clothes. You've probably done a great job teaching her to love her body and her appearance!

A word of advice - just make sure you have enough film in your camera! Have fun! a hip mama


I'm not a makeup person but my daughter loves to ''fix'' herself up. My sister had a dress up party for her daughter who turned 9. She invited about 12 girls to her house and also 4 of her(my sister's) adult friends to help out. Then she set up stations where the adult friends were the helpers. One station for make up, one station for hair design, one station for nails, one station for selection of clothing and then another station for a photo shoot. The adults helped the girls when and if they needed it and they shot poloroid pictures of the girls seperately and in groups. The girls were given the photos. Then finally they had a talent show, dancing, lip sincing, and modeling. These girls slept over and my sister was exhausted the next day but all had a great time - even the adult friends. Try to enjoy it. I don't think dressing up now and using make up will mean she will be like this when she grows up and if it does she'll still be a wonderful woman. a no make up mom
Well, I can only respond to this as the mother of a four-year-old, but I'd have to say ''don't worry about it.'' I'm pretty much the tom boy type myself and my daughter is just about as girly-girl as they come--she only wears pink, talks incessantly of being pretty, being a princess, getting married, being a ballerina, and other ''pretty stuff.'' Believe me, she did not get this from me! This year she wanted a princess birthday party and I gladly gave it to her. This is what most little girls seem to want! I kind of figure it's better to explore it now than to have it be repressed and have them turn into...I don't know...totally femmed out anorexic Avon Ladies (no offense) down the line. I doubt other parents would judge you--I would hope most of them have been around enough little girls to understand this fascination. (If the parents do judge you, they're ignorant and you shouldn't be bothered by it.)We all want our kids to explore, right? And not just explore the little arenas we think are politically correct?
It isn't horrible that your daughter wants to have a dress up party. However, you might want to say no to the make-up.Some parents, like myself, don't let their daughters wear make-up.So you might want to put it to your daughter in that perspective. As far as activities, you could make it a tea party, or my daughter suggested a dinner party with their dolls also dressed up. Maybe they could learn some ballroom dancing. That actually sounds like fun! Liza
Having 2 boys I find your situation refreshing and amusing. If I were you I'd roll with the punches. Let your daughter have her girly party....laugh about it with the other parents and shrug your shoulders....''this is what she wants...no harm''. You could organize a fashion show for them and give prizes for frilliest, pinkest, most glittery, etc. outfit. I loved playing makeup and dressup when I was a kid.I'm definately a no make up, get dressed up for weddings only person now. Good luck and try to have fun. June
You have the right to give whatever kind of party you want for your daughter -- you're the MOM.

But... (and mind you I'm a blue-jean wearing / plain-faced feminist mom, too) I urge you to examine your prejudices and the message you're sending your daughter. You're saying the equivalent of ''your choice makes me uncomfortable and I want you to choose differently''. Your discomfort may be the only thing that makes the choice interesting to her.

Just because her desire is less ''Berkeley'' than you might wish doesn't mean it not her heart's desire for right now. In your position I would do, (and overdo, and do memorably), EXACTLY what she wants... because I ASKED her what she wanted, and she told me. I would look for gloves and hats, have a tea party... or (gritting my teeth) invite a friend to come in to do ''makeovers'' on all the little girls, and let them be movie stars. MTV? Britney Spears? yeeesh... I don't think I could go that far. Frankly, with makeovers or a tea party you wouldn't need much else, games wise. How about dressing up and lip-syncing a music video with all the girls. Or having a victorian tea party. You could give bath beads or grooming supplies instead of bath beads. Everyone knows someone with a video camera now.

I don't want to be harsh with you, but you asked a question, anonymously, and you used a phrase that set off bells in my head. ''I don't know how it will be received by other parents. '' Live dangerously -- let your little girl be a little girl for once. She has decades to be taken seriously, later. Good luck with whatever you decide.

She is your child, this is her day. If its not illegal or too fattening, I would give her what she wants. Use it as an opportunity to discuss why she WANTS to glamorize. My 13 year-old wears makeup to school...because its FUN. I monitor her self-image for signs that she is compensating for something negative...and it turns out she just likes to play. Heather


I'd say honor your daugther's individuality. By letting her have party that reflects herself, shows your unconditional love for her--unconditional as in loving her for who she is, even if you do not share the same interests. If you have your own issues about it, you can tell others that the theme was your daughter's idea. (It's the truth isn't it?) Being embarrassed of her idea will just make her feel bad about expressing her self and her own interests. Your daughter is not an extension of yourself: she is her own person who may be very different from you.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but as a former (and current) ''girly-girl'', what is the problem with a dress-up tea party? She's just experimenting with one way of presenting herself as a woman. My friends and I range in age from 25-50 and we still have dress-up tea parties, often in Victorian clothes with a croquet tournament! Her interest in fashion and makeup may not last, and even if it does, so what? I have a number of extremely fashion-conscious friends and every one of them is a fascinating person with a great career. I wouldn't worry about the other parents. This is just a couple of hours to celebrate her birthday in her way, and as long as her plans aren't completely offensive (and they're not) then I would let her go with it. Perhaps the girls would be interested in a croquet game, making the tea sandwiches, solving a mystery or putting on a play in their finery?
I can sympathize with you! Here we are, moms who've spent our formative years trying to convince the world not to judge us by our looks, and then our offspring want to dress up like all those frilly ladies we were reacting against! However, I think this is a good opportunity to teach a lesson in tolerance, and show your daughter that you love her even when she's different, and that you will support her even when it's not your thing. I don't really think too many of the other girls' parents will disapprove of a dress-up party, but even if they do, it takes courage to let your kids do something they are passionate about that other parents disapprove of. But afterall we're their parents, and if we don't stick up for them, who will? Can you recruit a friend or relative who knows something about make-up and dress-up clothes to act as consultant for the party? I have teen nieces and this would be a huge delight for them, so maybe you know someone like that? Let your daughter have her party, and her fun, and I bet she will really appreciate you when she gets bigger and figures out that you did this for her even though it was contrary to your nature! Another feminist mom
A few weeks before Chirstmas, I was in the fabric store buying the pinkest, sparliest, swirliest, fairy-princessest fabric they had so I could make my goddaughter an over-the-top dress for Barbie. My thought is that, well, why not? The Barbie phase is short, and the point was to make the girl happy. In line behind me, two young neo-hippies were clearly appalled by my purchase and intention. Soon as I got out of the store (of course too late), I realized I should have turned around and said to them, ''Why not? it's just another manifestation of the Goddess.''

So about your daughter's party, why not? No doubt you are teaching her good values, especially to believe in herself. So why not give in to the dress-up and make-up for her party? If it makes you feel more comfortable, use the make-up for face-painting as well as make-up. Provide all kinds of costumes, from princess to lioness to clown to super-heroine to hippie. Perhaps she will have other friends who will enjoy the variety. Anyway, pretend is pretend, and there are lots of roles that can be played out with the same ingredients. Have fun! --cw


Please don't hide your head in shame. Her friends probably all do the same thing, one way or another, to their progressive parents. (My daughter once loved the Spice Girls--now THAT was painful!-and now she listens to Otis Redding.) She'll grow out of it, really she will, and if she doesn't, it's a useful reminder of the fact that our children are individuals, not clones of ourselves. Good luck. Melanie
Your daughter's dress-up party will probably be a hit. If she thinks this will be lots of fun, then chances are her friends will think so too. There are entire businesses devoted to providing dress-up parties for girls: fancy clothes, boas, play make-up, and a grand finale tea and snack party in costume. I had to visit one for business reasons, and remember not looking forward to it. But, it didn't seem so awful after seeing how much fun the girls (and their mothers) were having. It's just one day, her special day, and your daughter will probably remember it fondly. You both will probably giggle about it when she is older! I guess I would say just go for it, and try to enjoy her girliness, as silly as it may seem to you right now. Maybe you could somehow mention in the invitation that this was your daughter's idea and wish so that the parents of her friends don't think you came up with it. Good luck.
I was laughing as I was reading your post. I'm also a ''plain, no makeup, jeans-type feminist''. If my daughter were invited to a dress up party, I'd encourage her to go and have fun. I wouldn't think twice about it or the parent giving the party. I think my daughter's interest in fashion and makeup will be inevitable. I'm just sorry I won't be able to help her out more - I never really learned how to put on make-up. (My mom was also a ''plain, no makeup feminist''.) I've got a plan worked out with my very fashionable next door neighbor that she will send her daughter to my house to do her homework and I'll send my daughter to her house to learn about makeup. Have the party. It sounds like fun.
I too have a girly girl along with a complete tomboy--who is much more like me! The only advice that I can give is to allow your daughter to be completely who she is and let her have her party. This does not seem to be an issue you want to highlight for her and create disagreement on between the two of you--save it for something much bigger that is to come. To make the party fun for you I would limit the type of clothes she can have and maybe make it really fun by going to local thrift shops and choosing some really funky outfits. Limit any risque things to none and let them get into the old jewelry, hats and gloves etc. You can even choose an era to focus on and research the types of clothing worn and take it in that direction. Also, to get into the party spirit you can accentuate the decorations and create a really cool atmosphere for her guests. One of the benefits of being liberated women is that we can encourage each other, including our budding feminists, to be true to who they are and not try to make them into what we or others think they should be. Our liberated little ones need to be free to be girly girl if that is who they are. another mom of a girly girl
I'm sure your daughter will be just fine, even if she does use makeup occasionally, and maybe even enjoys (shudder) Barbie Dolls! Really, you are not a failure as a progressive, Berkeley mom, just because she wants to dress up and put some makeup on. My daughter's best friend--a boy--likes to get dressed up in swirly dresses and makeup too. We figure that's a lot less likely to cause permanent damage in either sex than cops-n-robbers and lots of guns and killing. Think about it this way: If you had a Jungle-theme party, your kid might dress up as a Lion, but that doesn't mean that they'll turn into one permanently when they grow up!

Regarding other things to do besides dress up (which, BTW, consumed about 2/3 of the time at my 5-year old's birthday party, all by itself--and it wasn't even a tea-party/dress-up theme!), BirthdayExpress.com has some great ideas. Here's a link to their Tea Party theme, with ideas of games to play and activities to do. http://www.birthdayexpress.com/bexpress/planning/partyguide.asp?sku=26843&theme=Dainty+Tea+Party++Deluxe+Pak

Since your girl is a little ''older'', you might consider molifying your ecological conscience slightly by passing on their plastic tea cups (though they're awfully cute to those of us who like such things!), and going for a mismatched set of cups/saucers for each girl that you pick up from the Goodwill or the Ashby Flea market. The cups would become the party favor for each girl.

Here's another page they have with group games (not specific to the theme): http://www.birthdayexpress.com/bexpress/planning/grouppartygames.asp

You can get a bunch of great stuff from Oriental Trading Co (http://www.orientaltradingcompany.com), including color-your own fans, makeup kits, gloves, and other tea-party related stuff. Be forewarned, though, it really takes 2+ weeks for them to deliver.

Other things that come to mind for me: make your own lip gloss kits (available at oriental Trading Co., or Hearthsong, among others); nail-painting sessions (get the wildest nail decals and colors possible, preferably the kind of nail polish made for kids that's non-toxic and peels off); each kid brings their own doll to the tea party as well; have the kids prepare their own tea sandwiches, including cutting them out with various cookie cutters; how about having them all talk in British Accents all afternoon? with some sort of prize for whoever keeps it up the longest.

Since you are so uncomfortable with this theme yourself, it might be time to call in some favors--do you have any relatives that would die for the chance to do girly stuff with your daughter? Aunts, grandmas, friends of the family? Maybe you could have them help out, so all you had to do was make sure the cake was there and the balloons bought. Could be a real win-win all the way around.

Hope this is all helpful to you. It's great that you are striving to make sure your daughter has what she wants out of her party, despite the fact that it wouldn't be *your* first choice! Good luck walking the fine line. Dawn


Don't sweat it! Just make a few trips to the local Goodwill stores and stock up on lacy girly supplies. Toy R Us has non toxic make up and fingernail polish that wears off quickly. The Klutz books have good arts and krafts ideas for girls as well. Read a few books on high tea cermonies and make it educational with a hefty dose of victorian etiquette and social graces thrown in. It would be a campy affair and more mememorable than your standard birthday cake and icecream parties. Most of us parents of girls have a few princess dresses in the closet, so you can probably ask the parents to bring a few outfits or accessories. Audrey
Your daughter and her friends want to dress up and play ''make-believe''. I think it is an artistic form of play, just like painting or drawing. You are teaching your values and beliefs to your daughter through your words and actions and her wanting to put on ''girly'' dresses and experiment with make-up will not change that. I don't know about you, but there were many things I copied my mother on but probably even more where I went the complete opposite. My sisters and I all played dress up and each of us has our own style-some wear lots of makeup and others wear none. Dissuading her from this ''harmless'' form of play for her birthday party seems to defeat the purpose of play in the first place.
I think the party sounds great! It's a fantasy--not real life, so I'd go to the hilt with the theme. When my daughter had a similar party, I bought them each a disposable camera, which served as a party favor also. They had a ball. Now, she wears no makeup, baggy sweatshirts, flip flops and sweatpants and is totally into sports. But she knows she could look glamorous is she wanted to. (And that is also part of being a girl.)
My just-turned seven-year-old daughter asked for a tea party/dressup birthday party last month. As someone who has never worn lipstick and detests nailpolish of any sort, I balked at first, too. But ... they're only young once, and will probably outgrow the need for this kind of stuff quickly (and completely in some cases). We decorated straw hats, put on sparkly halter tops and frou-frou skirts, used lipstick and nailpolish (not all of the girls) and for the piece de resistance put on lace gloves. They ate heart-shaped peanut-butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches and took a sip or two of their herbal tea. And the girls all loved it. But they also loved throwing a rubber ball around, crawling through fabric tunnels and chasing each other, all during the same party. It was a lot of work for something I never had myself, but lots of colleagues at work (normal folks, not beauty queens!) reminisced happily about their own tea-party birthdays when I told them about what my daughter wanted. After it was all over, I asked her, ''Well, was that a good party?'' And she said - verbatim - ''It wasn't good ... it was STUPENDOUS!'' I think it's good to instill your own values at an early age; but I also think that denying your daughter something that lots of girls seem to want and that is totally mainstream may in fact create resentment and push it all out of proportion. I bit the bullet and did the dressup tea party and I am glad that I did!
I also have a very girly girl and I am not. I just have to remember that my daughter's birthday celebrations are about what she wants. It is her birthday. This is a reflection of who she is, not who you are. I can't imagine that the other parents haven't been there themselves.

I am not sure you really need other activities - the dress up tea party is what it is about. However, you might want to visit the Birthday Express website. They have lots of great ideas for activities for specific party themes. You may also consider ordering your party supplies from them. They have lots of arts and craft projects, as well as ideas (that are free). Ordering from them can be a bit pricey, but it sure beats going from store to store to get what you need.

I hope this helps, and good luck! Shoshana


I'd call myself a plain, athletic, no-makeup, shorts & sweats tomboy, and I'd say your daughter's party sounds like a lot of fun! Get over it! When I was a girl, I LOVED frilly girly stuff, and I eventually grew out of it, then I HATED it, now I realize it's got its place. Don't let your anti-girly phobia get in the way of letting your daughter have some fun and be who she is. She'll get the important messages that you want to send her over the long term in her life. But you gotta have an outlet for the fantasies! Just think of it as a costume party! (one of my other favorite things to do as a kid was to dress up in elegant thrift store clothes. I'm not much into dressing up these days, but when I do, I'm still reliving the fantasy!)
I have been described as a long haired no makeup hippy just the other day by my husband's co-workers (who spend hours in the morning putting on their faces to meet the world). I an 42 years old. I have done the dress up thing at Dore's Studio and looked like a model. He has one of those pictures on his desk. One of the women saw it and asked who it was. He told her and she didn't believe him.

The point is, I had fun at Dore's Studio in San Francisco. It was fun having someone spend an hour with my hair and someone else spend an hour with my makeup and nails and then spending hours posing. With the exception of the boudoir shots, I wore no clothes. It was all just different fabrics wrapped around me to give the illusion of elegance. And it was all women photographers and only one other girl having her pictures taken that day. I didn't think I'd feel comfortable, but once I got into it, it was amazing how natural it felt.

You shouldn't be worried about how the other parents feel about this, rather how her friends feel about it. If it really bothers you, ask your daughter if she thinks her friends really want to do this as well. My guess is they are probably looking forward to it.

The whole makeup tea party thing is pretty much a package deal. The point is they want to pretend they are young ladies, young ''elegant'' ladies, hence the dressing up and the tea. I know of one woman in Niles who has the parties in her house. She donates whatever money she receives for them to charity. If you're interested in speaking to her, contact me and I'll get her number from my husband, just to make sure she is still doing this. She also decorates her house every year for Christmas. Every room a different theme. Really something to see.

If any of your friends have teenage girls, you could always go that route. Have them come over and help experiment with hair, nails and makeup. Fancy clothes could get dirty so you might get around the clothes part by explaining this.

You shouldn't be embarrassed by your daughter wanting to dress up. I know it's politically incorrect to stereotype kids, but some kids just fall naturally into these categories. My daughter loves to dress up. Those parties are all the rage right now. Plus, if you hire a hostess, they teach the girls proper etiquette for a tea, something a lot of girls don't know anything about, and it's something they can use later on if they are ever in a fancy situation as an adult. When you think about your embarassment, think about this instead. What harm is there, really? marianne


i suggest you read _Growing A Girl_ by Dr. Barbara Mackoff and be wary of ALL sterotyping. 'boy play' behavior is not necessarily the standard of success and 'girl play' behavior is not necessarily detrimental for all girls. carrie
My two bits are don't worry about it. Let her do whatever she wants. It's her self-image, not yours. You are not an uncool feminist Mom for letting your daughter do this. Look at it this way, there is a lot of theatrical self-expression in dressing up and role playing. I had the reverse happen to me when I was your daughter's age. My mother was always encouraging me to ''fix myself up'', dyeing my hair, teasing it, putting on make-up so I wouldn't look so ''washed out''. I hated it, thinking, correctly so, that she was projecting her ideas about herself onto me rather than just letting me feel o.k. about what I wanted and didn't want to do. Something for all us Moms to keep in mind (which can be hard to do). A Mom
The comments from the feminist moms about their girly daughters reminded me of a great album by Canadian comedienne/folk singer Nancy White. The album is Momnipotent: Songs for Weary Parents. One song on the album is called Daughters of Feminists, and is about how daughters of feminists love to wear pink, and short frilly dresses. There is another great song about the trials of shopping at Ikea, too. I like to listen to the album after a long day with my fussy baby - it helps me to see the humor in it all! (The album is available on Amazon). Barbara
I loved reading the responses to the mom nervous about having an ultra-feminine party for her daughter. I had to do this for my daughter a few years back, too. We ended up having a tea party at some lovely English-style tea house in San Francisco.... And today, at 11, she wears jeans and a sweater and likes to hang out with her brother's buddies.

No harm will be done. Everyone will have fun. As I read every other post, the words to a very apropos song by Canadian folksinger Nancy White came back to me. Here it is. Enjoy!

Daughters of Feminists
(Nancy White)

Daughters of feminists love to wear pink and white
Short frilly dresses they speak of successes with boys,
It annoys their mom.
Daughters of feminists won't put on jeans
Or that precious construction boot Mama found cute,
Ugly shoes they refuse. How come?
Daughters of feminists think they'll get married
To some wealthy guy who'll support them forever
Daughters of feminists don't bother voting at all.
Daughters of feminists beg to wear lipstick
Each day from the age of three.
Daughters of feminists think that a princess is
What they are destined to be.
     How do they get so girlie?
     How come they want a Barbie?
     Why does it start so early?
Why, when we bring her up just like a fella,
Who does she idolize? Cinderella!

(spoken) Honey she's a doormat. You think when she marries that prince
he's not going to expect her to run that entire castle? ..
Look at all those rooms. And he's always on the road
Snow White? Doing all the housework for seven guys?
In return for room and board. This is no deal. Huh!

Daughters of feminists bruise so easily
Daughters of feminists hurt.
Daughters of feminists curtsey and skip
Daughters of feminists flirt.
They say, ''Please mommy can I do the dishes?
And let's make a pie for my brother!''
Are they sincere?
Are they crazy or
Are they just trying to stick it to mother?

     How do they get so girlie?
     And how come they want a Barbie?
     Why does it start so early?

Daughters of feminists just want to play with their toys!

another Berkeley feminist mom


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