Pigtail Pals was one of my great finds of 2011. I loved the energy and passion behind their message – girl doesn’t equal pink! I appreciated the concept behind their slogan ‘Pretty has nothing to do with it’ and I applauded their desire to empower little women. However, at the dawn of 2012 I have begun to reconsider my immediate praise for this site. Yes, I agree that we girls can hold our own; we can be plumbers if we want to and we should never be seconded to our male counterparts. Yes, I agree that girls should be brought up believing they can reach their own stars rather than waiting for Prince Charming to collect on their behalf. But… there is a ‘but’ and it won’t go away… But I like pink…. And Pigtail Pals have made me a little ashamed to admit it.
I love the idea behind the site, but I can’t stop myself from thinking ’They have gone too far’. Rather than telling little girls that they can, and should, be whoever they want to be, they have said you can’t be girly – or at least the typical understanding of such. They have gone so far beyond redefining girly that they have denounced it.
I fear that this post sounds extremely critical, believe that is not the intention. I really do like Pigtail Pals, I really do hate the sexualisation of 5 year old girls and I really do hate people who say ‘Girls can’t do that…’ But I LOVE pink! I love to shop; I love Barbie; I love glitter. I love girly! I spend a fortune on clothes, shoes (I have a criminal number of shoes), and (please don’t shoot me) I have three drawers full of make-up. I enjoy looking nice, I take pride in my appearance, I get my nails done every two weeks – pink is normally my colour of choice – and I hate the idea that anyone is judging me because of this; which ultimately is what I think Pigtail Pals have done. I want to be Superwoman and defy stereotypes but I feel like Pigtail Pals have made me into a stereotype – I’m the I-want-to-be-pretty-girl that you are telling your daughters not to be.
I understand the concept. I understand the desire to rid ourselves of ‘This is the definition of pretty’. I understand, more than you’ll ever know, the overwhelming passion behind ‘Pretty has nothing to do with it’. But at the end of the day I will still spend my wages on beauty treatments, clothes and yet more shoes. Not because society tells me I have to, but because I want to. This is where I think the message fails – we shouldn’t be telling little girls pretty is wrong, we should be ensuring that they understand they are their very own version of pretty.
If I ever have a little girl and she wants to wear a pink tutu I’ll let her – I’ll never force her into one but I’ll also never force a hammer into her hand – if she one day wants a nose-job, a boob-job, who am I to stop her?! She will be whoever she wants to be. She won’t be sheltered for media, because I firmly believe this only creates a naivety about the world, instead I will tell her what my mother has always told, and continues to tell, me ‘you could look like that with her money too.’ I’ll ensure my daughter see the falsity behind stereotypical beauty so that she learns to take comfort in her own beauty. Her own version of pretty.
For the record, in amongst my shoe shopping and beauty treatments, I also love DIY, the history of warfare and politics. I wrote a dissertation on torture and last summer I graduated with a Law Degree – which I proudly declared as my Legally Blonde Fantasy Come True.
I think I’ll just stick with my tagline – Smart is SEXY!