What We’ve Been Reading Wednesday–Petunia and Pinkalicious

In this day and age, it can be hard to find a good role model for our daughters. Times have really changed. When my mother was a girl, her PE class consisted of playing basketball by standing in place (I kid you not, they passed the ball back and forth without running around). When I was in junior high, I was put in “girls PE”, where I was forced to take dance and gymnastics, much to my tomboy self’s horror. In 8th grade, I was one of the first girls allowed to take “boys PE”. Now, it is a given that PE includes both sexes. Additionally, girls’ sports have come to resemble boys’ sports. When Tertia played on a soccer team, I could not believe how aggressively the girls played. Had any girl played like that when I was a kid, she would have been red-carded and socially ostracized.

With Dora being a later in life child for me, I find myself more challenged to help her fill her role in society as a girl. How aggressive should she be? Should I actually discourage feminine behavior? What do I say to strangers who ask her who her favorite princess is? (I still am always flabbergasted by this question, neither Secunda not Tertia were ever asked that and why do people assume that little girls have a favorite princess anyway?) Then there are studies that come out that show how differently we raise boys and girls and I feel the need to try to counter some of that. So I find myself trying to be very careful when selecting literature for Dora that portrays female role models. In past posts, I had mentioned how much Dora likes the Ladybug Girl series.

This week, we found two more really astounding female literary role models for Dora. I had really avoided the Pinkalicious series of books up to this point. I seriously doubted that anything named Pinkalicious could portray my values. Boy was I wrong! This week we went to the bookstore and Dora saw Pinkalicious and I consented to read the book to her in the store. Well, we both loved the book and I ended up buying it and Purplicious too! Pinkalicious loves pink, but so does her dad, brother and mother (they like to play pink pong and so forth). In addition, her high energy spirit greatly reminds me of Dora. (Here’s a pink trivia piece for you. Did you know that pink used to be considered a boy’s color? “An article in the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department in June 1918 said: ‘The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.’” – source Wikipedia)

The other female role model who is much like Dora, in spirit, is Petunia. We had previously read A Pet for Petunia, which is really funny as the pet Petunia wants is a skunk. While at the bookstore, however, I noticed a second Petunia book, Petunia Goes Wild. In this book, Petunia decides that being human is far too boring for her. She’d rather be an animal, but when she asks her parents if she can be their pet, their reaction is not what she had hoped for. So she decides to mail herself to Africa (the book won bonus points with Dora for mentioning Africa in it). In the end, Petunia is able to reconcile her wild behavior with being human.

Gohan continues to read manga and I haven’t been reading much lately, which is unusual. I started reading a book by one of my favorite bloggers and it upset me so much that I had to stop reading it about 1/3rd of the way through. I rarely leave a book unread if I manage to make it past chapter two. I guess I have been feeling a bit gun shy since this negative reading experience. What about you? What have you been reading this summer? What have your kids been reading?

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Labels: Literature
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff