January 26, 2011

Promises to My Daughter

This is a long-delayed followup to a post about my relationship to my toddler daughter's clothes and grooming. And my complicity in her indoctrination into compulsory femininity. And my intention to get her on Toddlers and Tiaras as soon as possible.
Uh, no. (via tlc.com)

I promise that in addition to telling you that you are beautiful, I will tell you that you are strong, smart, brave and generally amazing.

I promise to tell you are beautiful even when you respond, "You're my mother! You have to say that!"

I promise never to tell you to remove your body hair, pluck your eyebrows or wear makeup.

I promise that if you ask me about doing these things, I will teach you how in an informed and age-appropriate way.

I promise to let you wear your hair however you want.

Uh, sure, but you'll need to help pay for it out of your allowance / birthday money / babysitting wages (via sodahead.com).

Though since my hair was short and partly royal blue when E was born she'll likely rebel with long sausage curls and subtle blond highlights.

I promise to nag you about flossing, sunscreen, and cleaning under your fingernails.

I promise to continue to avoid talking about my body and/or face in negative ways in front of you. I don't want you to learn the sentences "I'm so fat," "My skin looks like a topographical map of Mars," or "I am as hairy as a Yeti" from me.

I promise to let you wear what you want, within reason, though I absolutely insist on retaining veto power.
Uh, also no. (via badmouthbaby.com)

I promise to teach you about gender's multiplicity and fluidity, both in general and in relation to appearance.

I promise to continually undercut the misogyny woven into ladymags and advertising campaigns.

I promise to keep trying to keep these promises, even when I screw things up.

January 17, 2011

three-bullet book review

Three-Bullet Book Review: The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt (2009)

  • fin de si├Ęcle social history framed via family saga totally holds together (easier said than done)
  • lovely representations of artisanal craftsmanship made me want to take pottery classes
  • large cast of characters written well enough that none seem superfluous
Yes. Fluid narrative, strong characters, solid historical research, beautiful writing. The plot unfolds much as you expect it to, and yet it's not boring. I liked this much better than Byatt's Possession.