Ragamuffin Pride.


Daughters. Beloved daughters. Even as young as mine are (under 6) do you know they still get more compliments on their clothes than boys of a similar age? Do you know that little girls worry about being fat now more at a younger age than ever before? And if you know either of those facts, you of course know all about the sexualization of little girls. Long long long before they’re mature enough to defend themselves, or carry and operate a can of mace.

So it is with a certain studied pride that I observe my daughters complete lack of concern for any of the following:

1. Personal hygiene – Including but not limited to dirty faces, sticky hands, and rats’ nests in hair

2. Clothing that matches or looks cute and bippy – They have not once (not once I say!) asked to wear either this outfit or that.

3. Clothing gifts – T-shirts and skirts and shirts are passed over with the same glazed expression that I have when someone gives me a vacuum cleaner or kitchen utensil as a gift. When a grandma sings “See? It matches!” she might as well be calling out “fjkdsl;jfdsklfjdskl;j” for all the excitement that is translated to the dim unimpressed eyes of my daughters.

On the other hand, out in the wilds of unstructured hippie child-rearing land (my domain), I sometimes wonder how my little darlings will ever make it in Kindergarten in the Fall (given that when they see me carrying a brush they run away screaming like wild monkeys facing a blowtorch)…? One imagines some sort of Summer Hygiene Training will be necessitated, lest they send the girls home with notes and signs or (worse) some sort of stigma.

I love little girls that are allowed to be little girls. Who run wild and free and dirty and completely carefree for as many years as this weighty world will allow. I wish for my daughters total freedom from cares about body image and beauty and lipstick and heels.

But since I can’t be sure they’ll have that. I can at least encourage their total disregard for looks.


16 Responses to “Ragamuffin Pride.”

  1. May 30, 2007 at 7:21 am

    CM, I LOVE this post. PunditGirl is an intersting mix of girliness and tomboy — loves dirt, running and playing outside ’til all hours, but is equally concerned with being “fashionable.” I’m lucky that at the moment being “fashionable” to her means having a pair of jeans and a T-shirt! But, even at 7, she has started asking about whether she is skinny — it makes me so sad, because she doesn’t hear that from me.

  2. May 30, 2007 at 7:56 am

    Bossy is pleased to announce her 10-year-old daughter has been replaced with one gigantic tangle. Amen for not caring.

  3. May 30, 2007 at 8:17 am

    I saw a teenaged girl walking to school this morning. She had a smokin’ body, but was all geeked out on the top. Her hair, oh dear lord. All I could think was, her parents are so HAPPY that she is that geeky at 17. (thier fingers are crossed while they pray, “no one notice her, no one notice her…”)

  4. May 30, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Mine are more interested in superheros than anything girly at the moment (thanks comic geek husband). Most of me is pleased with this, along with the bug obssession. But a teensy part of me hopes one of them likes girly stuff, at least on their own terms.

    Because the hair issue is a problem at my house fer sure…

    I never understood why my father got upset at low cut tops when I was a teen, since I was a big girl. Once my husband pointed out just what was big, I understood why my Dad never cared about the highnecked polyester outfits I wore.

  5. May 30, 2007 at 10:33 am

    My daughter used to be like that. And then society got to her. Now she is a priss and prim girl. Ugh.

    I liked it better when she sported the rat nest look.

    May you have better luck with your girls.

  6. May 30, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    My daughter is delicate like a fine china doll. But at the same time, she’s always wild-haired and full of dirt and smudge.

    I can only hope she stays that way.

  7. May 30, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I was like your daughters when I was young. I never really got caught up in the primping until I was in high school.

    Some might say I’m making up for loss time now!

  8. 8 karrie
    May 30, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Summer strikes me as the best time to actively encourage this kind of behavior. 🙂

  9. May 30, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    When I was in counseling for my eating disorder, there was a little girl who always had the appointment after mine. Since my counselor only dealt with eating disorders, I knew what she was there for, I was talking to her mom one day and found out that she was only 6. 6!

  10. May 31, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    My two girls too! [thank goodness]

  11. May 31, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Mrs. Joe & I were looking at bathing suits for Peanut. I was amazed at some of the styles claiming to be for a 2 year old.

  12. June 1, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I’ve got a couple of ragamuffins also.I let it be until we go to to church or on holidays then we fight.

  13. June 2, 2007 at 6:06 am

    You nailed this one. I have a 3-year-old daughter and I am constantly wondering how to instill a positive body imagine in her. Of course at this age, anything goes (including the clothes which usually go OFF in public places that involve water). But if I had her cute little behind, would I do the same?… 🙂

  14. June 2, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    LOVE this post.

    My daughter is all dreadlocked hair and dirty fingernails but she’s also has this weird fashionista/shoe fiend thing going on, as well. Honestly, I hope the dreads and dirty fingernails win.

  15. June 3, 2007 at 2:33 am

    My little wild and free monkey still insists on telling me what she is goint to wear on any given day. You are very lucky!

  16. June 16, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    SO wonderful! I’m raising boys the same way!

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