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Wedding Woes

She's 2, ditch the book

Dear Prudence,

The godmother to my 2-year-old daughter is a very dear friend. She is exceptional, loving, intelligent, brave, and funny. However, I am concerned about one thing. Since having children, I’ve become hyperaware of how sexualized a lot of toys aimed at girls are. I grew up playing with Barbies and ’80s-era She-Ra, and it didn’t ultimately do me any harm, but it definitely instilled in me certain patriarchal ideas that have been hard to shake even in adulthood. I’m trying to avoid that with my daughter, but her godmother is a huge comic book fan, particularly Wonder Woman. She often gives her Wonder Woman toys, most of which are fine, but recently she gave her a book that I just don’t like—one page is dedicated to ogling Wonder Woman’s legs, even though it’s a board book aimed at toddlers. I know this has not crossed our friend’s mind. I also know that my daughter doesn’t seem to notice—she loves superhero everything, spends half her time dressed as Spider-Man or Batman, and adores her godmother. So am I being silly? I can’t single-handedly stop the patriarchy from influencing my daughter’s life, and I wouldn’t want to risk damaging this relationship or making her godmother uncomfortable about giving my daughter gifts. On the other hand, I’m not really ready to invite these messages into my home.

—Fairy Godmother, Fairly Worried

Re: She's 2, ditch the book

  • Definitely for the one book the LW doesn't like, just throw it away or give it away.  It's unlikely anyone is going to ask about it.

    As for talking to the friend/godmother, if the majority of the toys are fine, I probably wouldn't even bring it up if I occasionally disapproved of a toy given to my hypothetical child.  I'd just get rid of it and move on.

    However, I'd hope the LW is having these kind of general discussions with her friend.  Because these are good dialogues to have with people anyway!  So much of our society's view of "this gender is like this" is subliminal.  And it's harder to change those messages if we aren't aware/noticing them.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    As Charlotte mentions, I doubt that friend even knew that page was in the book.  Does anyone read the full book before they gift it?  Probably not.  It was just one page.  LW could always counter it with a feminist board book.  I just got DD A is for Awesome - 23 Women Role Models (or something to that effect).  She loved it!
  • I'd cut the page out of the book and mention it to godmother.  God mother is a fan of Wonder Woman, probably because she's a women/femme superhero and probably would be unhappy it's there.  Just a casual mention of, "Hey might want to check the books."  I probably wouldn't check a WW book and I'd buy the hell out of WW for a godchild.

    I am curious though, about the how of the ogling.  Is it something mom could use a teaching moment, like "Look how strong she looks"?  I know the child is young; teaching how to look at things starts almost immediately though.  Might be worth examining.
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