yesterday i was following links around the internet, as i often do, and i came across one blog post that was based on another article in the huffington post. they both addressed the issue of how we talk to little girls, which is something i haven't thought about lately. i recommend both pieces; they are both well-written and enlightening.
anyway, if you don't want to take the time to read both articles, they talk about how our first urge, when we meet or see a little girl, is to compliment her on her outfit or her hairstyle or her general adorableness. because they really are really cute, and this is the way we have been taught to talk to little girls. what does a compliment based on appearance teach about the things we value, though?
instead, we should focus on actually talking with little girls, asking them about their ideas and feelings. like "what books do you like?" or "what is your favorite thing to do with your dad?" or "what games do you like to play?" even just thinking about questions, it was hard for me to come up with a couple that didn't focus on clothes or hair. those seem like the most natural things to talk about. but like lisa bloom says in her article, it is important to "model for her what a thinking woman says and does." and maybe if we show these little girls that their opinions, not just their looks, matter, we can start to change things.
as i was reading these, i thought about the last time i talked to a little girl. i think it was my zumba instructor's daughter, when she was at our class last week. and, even though she is completely adorable, i'm pretty sure our brief conversation was about her dance hobby. i didn't get to talk to her for very long, but i was still surprised how much she had to say.
i'm going to be more aware of this from now on, and i invite you all to do the same. we have too many other problems in the world for beautiful, smart, amazing little girls to be feeling insecure about the way they look or whether they are worth anything. and substantial conversations with little girls are pretty great. so go out and talk to a little girl today :)
and here's a classic video of a little girl who clearly knows how awesome she is.