This Is What Girls Do … ?


I took my daughter shopping today and I feel guilty.

No, I didn’t buy her anything crazy or let her run the mall with wild abandon. I feel guilty because we, admittedly, had a girlie day.

She had asked to go “shopping like girls do” and I told her I would take her. And I did. And we had a damn good time.

She tried on clothes and twirled. She attempted to help me pick out “pretty dresses.” We ate lunch and acted like every day was girl day.

So why the guilt over being girls? I’m not sure. Perhaps the hardened feminist core that is me, hates the idea of “shopping and doing lunch” with my daughter. Teaching her “this is what girls do.”

But you know what? We did it, because she asked…and it was fun. I loved watching her find a new item on the rack and squeal. I did. I really did. I also loved watching her hold up a shirt to say “how does this one look Mamma?”

Now I’ll sit back and let you all tell me how this is what you knew would happen because Hillary lost. Ready? Go.


  1. I’m really unclear why being a feminist means that you can’t go shopping and do lunch with your (adorable, OMG!) daughter. She enjoyed herself, you enjoyed yourself, that’s a good afternoon, “girly day” or not.

    Does feminism really mean you can’t do anything that’s stereotypically “girly” without feeling guilty or un-feminist? Maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t really like the feminist label…

  2. Ha Gymboree. If you bought anything make sure you go back tomorrow as it will be 30%.

  3. I think it’s just that every time we do something ‘frivolous’ or Paris Hilton esq I feel guilty.

  4. I absolutely think of myself as a feminist. And as I go about my day, working in a job that would have likely been held by a man in a previous generation, I like to wear nice things. After I get off work, I enjoy getting a pedicure, and I certainly like to do lunch with my friends when I can.

    I don’t see that being feminist precludes also enjoying feminine things. So feel free to enjoy!

  5. I don’t know why you feel guilty. Seriously. What is wrong with a girl being a girl?

    When I was young, someone told me to act less girly so “people” (namely, Men) would take me more seriously. And you know what? I think that’s total crap. I’m a woman. Not a man.

    Anyway, the Princess is adorable and it’s great that you two had a fun day!

  6. To me feminism means gender equality. It doesn’t mean women must abandon all activities traditionally seen as feminine if they enjoy them. Rather, it means that in addition to squeeing over shoes you can also do traditionally masculine activities, like get fired up about the Red Wings. At the same time, it means I have the right to covet the spa day I got for my wife for mother’s day. (Father’s day is right around the corner, honey! Hint, hint!)

  7. By the way, your daughter is mini-you. Adorable. 🙂

  8. I de-feminized my daughter. Wish I hadn’t, but I didn’t have the femininity in me to teach. There’s a power in our inner woman, our femininity, that we need to embrace.

  9. Mine (who is the same age as yours) asked me to paint her nails. My son (who is the same age as your son) said “That’s only for girls”, and my daughter agreed.
    I sat speechless. I don’t want my son to think he can’t ever wear nail polish because he’s a boy, cause some guys do. I don’t want my girl to think she has to wear nail polish because she’s a girl, cause some girls don’t.
    How do we teach them to ignore stereotypes and just do what makes them happy?

  10. This is not only “what girls do”, it is what you and your daughter do. Anything you do together can be fun, whether it be shopping or cheering on the WIngs, or playing Rock Band. Know that you are instilling in her not only feminist but feminine values.

    And yeah, they all do it i.e. Caitlyn last week at the Bridal store DON”T ASK!

  11. Come now, it’s silly to not want to do girlie things simply because they’re girlie things.

    It’s no different than DOING girlie things simply because they’re girlie things.

    And in defense of Miss Hilton . . . if she’s happy and content, then should she really change?

  12. Okay – I think that in all fairness you are allowed girlie days with your daughter. One particular reason is that you don’t only have girlie days and that you are trying to instill important values in her, like that princesses can save themselves.

    I was watching Fraggle Rock on DVD with my 4 year old daughter the other day. She’s very much into the whole “Mario and Luigi have to save Peach and Daisy” bit too… Anyway, so we’re watching the Fraggles and they are getting ready to put on a play. Red is playing a princess in the play and the Fraggle that’s directing tells her that one of the other Fraggle’s is to save her. “But I don’t need someone to save me!” she says. “I can save myself!”

    I laughed out loud when she said that. It reminded me of a few of your posts.

    So, no, I don’t think you should feel guilty for having a girlie day with your daughter. Feminism isn’t necessarily about breaking gender roles. I think it’s more about being woman enough to make the choice for yourself.

  13. No guilt necessary – women have to buy clothes, they might as well have fun and look good and bond with their daughters!! Nothing anti-feminist about spending time with her and having fun, whether it was shopping or at a monster truck rally.

    She’s adorable, by the way!!

  14. In the process of raising a 14 year old boy and a 7 year old girl, I have learned that most kids grow to like the “stereotypical” boy/girl stuff–no matter how much you try to make their world genderless.

    I don’t see anything wrong with being “girly” with your daughter…especially if it was initiated by her. She’s a girl, after all. The important thing is that you had a good afternoon together.

  15. I dunno, I live on a little crunchy hippy rural island and the girls here don’t do what you’re describing as typical girl stuff. My girls are both kinda tomboys who have taken to turning their my little ponies into zombies and who would much rather hang out at a pet store than a clothing store. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anything you’ve written except to label what you have as being what girls do, because not all girls fit that description at all, this is not true, this is not what “girls do”. This is what many middle class girls who live in cities do, especially if it’s what their moms like to do, but the girls I know in my local little zone would rather climb trees, look for fairies and bugs in the forests, and shop for books than go shopping for pretty dresses and lunching. I don’t think your intent was wrong, but I think your labelling is somewhat anti-feminist because it puts a small circle around what girls do as if all girls are like you and your daughter, which they all most certainly are not. There are so many kinds of girls who do so many different things in so many different places all around the world.

    Love yer blog btw, and hope you take my debate in good spirits 🙂

  16. Ironically, there are a lot of girls that aren’t so much into all the girly stuff, but are more tomboys and are a far cry from being a feminist. I think sometimes we trry too hard to point out our differences and stick to self-assigned labels.

    I know it would probably horrify you 😉 if that little princess turned into a complete Paris Hilton girly-girl, but so what if she did and it is who she is and what makes her happy? And so what if she decides shopping and lunch isn’t all it is cracked up to be and wants to dig in the mud, climb trees, and race cars instead? Or maybe something in between or a little of both, lol.

    I’m not in your shoes, but I would think as a feminist you don’t want to define her role any more than you feel that society has been known to define the role, nor should you fence yourself in a set “feminist” role. You aren’t letting anyone down (including yourself and your daughter) because you find shopping & lunch with your daughter fun. I think it is awesome.

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