by ALYSSA ROBINSON
Please take a moment to stifle your gag reflexes, because I’m about to take you down gender normative lane. I’m going to take you back to the 1990s, when I was all cute and tiny, and when buying Christmas presents for little girls and boys wasn’t such a gendered quagmire.
Best Christmas gift I ever received as a child? One in particular comes to mind: I must have been 8 or so, and I was given an adorable plastic princess castle, which served as a convertible teapot and cup. Genius! It was all pink and purple and glittery. I loved it.
A year or two later, my parents surprised my sister and me by directing us to the backyard on Christmas morning, where a brand new trampoline was set up. Holy shit, was that exciting. And then there was the year after our house had been renovated and we’d built an in-ground pool, when my parents again surprised us with a bag full of inflatable toys and water guns and assorted wondrousness. Oh, and another year, one of my aunts gave my sister, my cousin and me purple Spice Girls shirts. It was the ’90s, after all, and I assure you, we looked superb in our Baby Spice-esque pigtails.
Those were the days.
The thing with Christmases is that there are a lot of them. And childhood tends to drag on for a while, too. So your little girl wants a tiara and a sequined puffy skirt this year? Good for her. Buying it for her isn’t going to tell her that females are more princess-like than presidential.
This is one day in a year. I assure you, the ideas you instil in her head over the other 364 days are going to be far more cemented than anything a bit of pink glitter might suggest. And, of course, pink glitter says nothing in its own right. We imbue it with meanings, and what it means to an adult is likely nothing that will ever occur to a 5-year-old. She’s not thinking “my kiddie baking oven is teaching me that women are domestic slaves whose value is measured by the ratio of cupcakes baked to shirts ironed.” She’s probably thinking “this toy is pretty awesome—hey, I want a cupcake.”