Once upon a time, the Maiden was obsessed with princesses. And fairies. And frilly tutus and pink tiaras and floufy uber-girly everything.
She’s still into tutus–dance has become a big thing for her–and she does pop on a tiara from time to time. But the interest in the other has faded as she’s gotten older.
I’m not the biggest fan of princesses, so I thought this was a good thing. Then I saw the substitute.
Apparently, once you outgrow Disney princesses, the next step is bigger-girl toys. And of these, almost everything has those stupid “boy-dating eyes.”
You know what I mean. It’s like bored, blasé, doe-eyed princesses on crack. There’s cute and then there’s NOTICE ME, BOYS!!!!!!!!!! with slurpy pursed-up lips and the whole nine yards. Even their pets flirt like crazy, or at least their faces seem to.
The Maiden couldn’t understand my toy aisle frustration. The toys looked “cute,” she offered.
Cute if you’re 24, maybe. A flirty look works on an adult woman. It’s got a purpose. But not where six-year-olds are concerned.
So I tried to explain, without getting into the whole they-look-like-hookers thing. “She has boy-dating eyes,” I said. “She spends so much time dating boys and going to parties that she doesn’t have the chance to go to medical school and she never gets to become a doctor.”
Yeah, I laid it on thick.
Then when she’s 40 and washed up and the boys have moved on to the next hot young thing, she looks at her drooping boy-crazy eyes and either tries to get a boy to pay for her facelift and fake lips and boob job or gives up and spends the evenings crying on the sofa with a bucket of ice cream and no good job and no idea where to go or what to do.
Okay, I didn’t say that last part. But you know I thought it. I looked at those boy-dating-eyed toys and wanted to give them a little mommy-daughter pep talk of their own: watch out, honey, you’re hot stuff now, but I see your future and it ain’t pretty.
The Maiden kind of got it then. “So all she wants to do is date millions of boys, that’s all she is interested in. And nothing else,” she observed.
Exactly. And nothing else.
We tell our girls they can do anything, be anything they want to be. We empower them. We want them to have choices. But their toys tell them there’s only one thing they should be wanting, one aspect of themselves they should be exploring: the part of them that’s all coy eyes and pursed lips and lifted eyebrows.
Meanwhile, there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered.
But there is an antidote. In the Maiden’s words, it’s interested eyes: eyes that are alight with the wonder of the world around them.
Why aren’t there more toys with interested eyes? They’re eyes that sparkle as they seek out new things to discover. They’re eyes that laugh when they’re happy, or scrunch up and cry when they’re sad or frustrated or don’t understand.
They’re eyes that are full of life. Young. Healthy. Happy.
Interested eyes. Girl eyes. REAL eyes.
I would buy a toy like that.