Goosey lucy

Helen Grant

United Kingdom

18 | Linguist | Anxious resting face

Message to Readers

Hello! This is a bit of a rough draft, so I apologise if there are any typos etcetera, but I am a little worried about the structure, specifically. Also any advice / critique on tone or content would be *greatly* appreciated. I am inexperienced to say the very least when it comes to writing articles! Thank you :)

Dresses for Battle

September 27, 2015

When we went to the park, my mother always gave me boys' trousers to wear.
     Tracksuit bottoms, specifically. I'm sure you know the type: dinky, gathered ankles. Pockets cumbersome enough to give even the most svelte four-year-old a fully-fledged pair of birthing hips. They were made of a warm, thick, felt-like material, and more often than not they were rigid with mud.
     Other little girls sat placidly in their mother's laps in floral, frilly frocks, while I pelted around with the boys, making and defending dens and fortresses, dressed head to toe in my mother's principles.
     Funny, then, to stand in the shoe department of TK Maxx thirteen years later and hear myself say "I don't care whether I can walk in them - they just need to make my legs look less like piping bags."
     My mother: "But are they comfy?
     Me: "... Yes ..."

What happened to me?
     What changed? When did I move from being a blissfully oblivious child (/pirate) who proudly sports her cousins' hand-me-downs to a gawky young woman with blisters on her feet and a sore back from standing up for too long in her heels? When did the kinetic function of a pair of boots become secondary to the aesthetic? Why is it that I am neither the only nor the most extreme example of such absurd behaviour?
     Shame falls like dominoes. I can't pinpoint the exact moment because it was too long ago, but I must have noticed eventually that the little girls who wore dresses got more attention than the ones in trainers*. I must have realised that the ones with pretty, shiny, brushed hair were "sweeter" than the ones who slept and skipped in plaits because it was easier and because they didn't care. It must have dawned on me that I wanted to be called "adorable too." 
     And I got self conscious. 

One of my mother's friends commented once that if her pregnant daughter's baby turned out to be a girl, she would be heading straight to the haberdasherie to buy pink wool. I imagine she would have bought some delicate embroidered material at the same time. I imagine the poor child would have been made to sit neatly and quietly and not mess up her pretty dress. I imagine that she would have had to hold her mother's hand whenever she walked along the flowerbed wall.
     Well. My children will all wear my principles until they beg for release. My children will be free to wear and play how they like.

The path to gender equality is a muddy one. We will all need to dress appropriately. 
*Messy, muddy, gnome children will never be as appealing as china dolls in Cath Kidston.


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