I remember all of my "first day of school outfits." Bermuda shorts in 7th grade. Red striped shirt and knickers in 3rd. Only once did I wear a dress, in 1st grade, and it was a denim jumper. My hair was mostly short and I never remember my nails being painted. I awkwardly carried a purse in 7th because socially, it was required. I also remember it didn't matter. I was not a tomboy, nor a girly girl. Fashionistas didn't exist. I just was.
I played with Barbies and I climbed trees. I romped through forests and over boulders and made crafts with my mom. I chose rose carpet for my bedroom floor with black accents. I had girlfriends and guy friends and boy friends.
And it didn't matter. I was both and.
When did girls begin to feel they were either or?
All these years later I am mother to two girls who are just.like.me. They went through the princess stage, quickly, and then brandished a sword. Dresses are for Daddy Daughter Dances and friends who visit and need dress up options which aren't furry. Barbies and dolls held their interest for a few short weeks.
But unlike me, this both and-ness defines and separates them amongst peers. It matters in their social world in ways it didn't in mine. My youngest actually articulated a relational culling and categorizing that occurs each day depending on the outfit. She straddles the girly girls and the "boyish girls" depending on her shirts.
However, it is not just clothing and toys that seem to have morphed since my girlhood. The entire feminine gender appears to be at war - with each other, with men, with the church, with their bodies...
And I have a tween. A little young lady who I am hoping to help Become a Woman. It is her slow transition to womanhood that has propelled me to begin looking for guides and beacons of wisdom to make it to the other side. (Lord help me make it to the other side!)
My husband did this for our son. Three years older, they have already completed an intense rites of passage year culminating on his 13th birthday.
But girls mature sooner and her questions are coming earlier. I need to be ready.
Join me as I search for language around becoming and woman and femininity. As I look for transition material that is neither either or but both and. As I work to apply the Bible I believe with the culture I live in.
Join me. This should be interesting.