Posts Tagged ‘girls’

Two Bags

27 July 2009

Dear J-

Fisher-Price sells — and this is not to pick on them; it’s merely an example I’m familiar with, as I trip over one just about every morning — a couple of bags marketed towards toddlers.  One, for girls, is called “My Pretty Learning Purse” and comes with keys, wallet, lipstick, cell phone, and mirror.  The other, for boys, is called “My Learning Tools” and comes with tools — hammer, screwdriver, wrenches.  Is it really necessary to draw the line so early and show them what’s appropriate to play with?

Lots of kid stuff is sold on the basis of preying on parents — either through insecurity (“don’t you love your child enough to spend for the very best?”) or their tastes (show me the child who’s not a little color-agnostic in picking out an outfit; pink or blue clothes seem to be more a reassurance than any particular need).  It’s not to say that any one kid would choose one bag over the other, but the choice probably has less to do with the kid and more to do with the adult.  GI Joe and Barbie both come with optional outfits, vehicles, and accessories.

I’m convinced creative play and self-esteem begin early.  What should we lavish extravagant praise over?  Things kids can’t control — clothes, genetics, bladders — or their accomplishments — throwing dirty clothes in the washer, stacking up  soaring towers, puttering around on wheels?  It’s not to say that everything they do is amazing and praise-worthy (here, I’m reminded of the self-obsessed attitude and sneering tone of the kid who got his Jeep stolen;  you’re one in 207, and that doesn’t qualify you for preferential treatment from government or police — proving the Millenial Generation stereotypes), but there are so many choices out there — toys and words alike — that we should choose out of love, not fear or tradition.



High School (Aren’t We Joe Cool Yet?)

5 November 2006

I’m not convinced I got the most out of high school. But at least I got out.


To be honest, things didn’t change much in high school. The hair of the student body didn’t pose the fire hazard that it used to, but we stayed in the groups that we’d split into as junior high people. I don’t condemn it because it just happens and seems as natural as plate tectonics: huge masses rushing towards each other and one would inevitably grind the other down, but not without rumbling and trembling. It’s not always a wasteland, though; sometimes you find genuinely honest and wonderful people, like some of my neighboring locker-owners. We all had to deal with the peculiar quirks of the school, such as how it was designed for southern California weather (and hence was a series of disconnected buildings) while experiencing a snow-belt reality. I still like almost all of the people who graduated with me, but it was difficult to reach across the group borders afterwards; I have yet to contact probably 90% of my graduating class with something stronger than a rumor.


We were the Trojans

5 November 2006

Somehow, when USC says it, it sounds more threatening.


By the time I got to junior high, I became acutely conscious of who I was. Your shoes never match your pants, no matter that they’re corduroy and no one in their right mind would want to wear ugly poop-colored corduroys, to say nothing of your shirt not accessorizing well with your hairstyle, if you want to call that a hairstyle, standing in front of your locker-mirror with a comb and brush all day and all between periods the acrid wafting of AquaNet on the breeze … I’m sure that most of you know what it’s like.