Thursday, November 21, 2013

I’m not in love with the GoldieBlox commercial that’s making the rounds on Facespace. (You can watch it here.)

In my overblown imagination, I’m pretty sure that admitting that, in print, on the internet is going to cause some sort of epic fallout akin to Mitt Romney’s notebooks full of women. Maybe I have to turn in my feminist card or something…but, uh. Yeah. This video makes me squirm.

Not because I don’t think girls can be engineers. Of course they can. In fact, it sort of baffles me that we are even having that conversation right now in 2013, but clearly…yes. It’s a needed discussion. There are still environmental and social barriers that continue to block women’s’ participation and progress in STEM. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) A quick Google search led me to a Forbes article from 2012 that gives some depressing facts:

  • Only one in seven engineers is female
  • Women have seen no employment growth in STEM jobs since 2000
  • Women hold only 27% of all computer science jobs
  • Less than 20% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science go to women, even though 60% of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women.

Then we get into all the reasons why…everything from a lack of female role models in STEM fields to girls being steered toward the “softer” more “feminine” humanities as young as grade school.

Yes! Preach! Truth! I am 100% on board.

And I am also in agreement that toys made specifically for girls aren’t helping steer women toward science and engineering. (Although I am positive that Barbie has been both an engineer and a scientist, as well as an astronaut, a math teacher, a chemist, and a doctor.) You can even argue that girls aren’t limited to the pink aisle. Certainly in my one-girl/one-boy home toys aren’t played with along gender specific lines. However, I am not so naive to think that if I took Sweet Pea to a toy store and told her to pick out anything she wanted, that she would run to the Legos and Erector Sets. I think she would look for the sea of pink just to identify where she should start shopping.

Which, clearly, was the catalyst that spurred GoldieBlox CEO Debbie Sterling to invent this very cool toy. Kudos to her.

Here’s what bugs me. As a mom. As a marketer. And as a super girly girl. Why do we have to dis on the tea sets and the princesses along the way? Why can’t girls be GIRLY and GEEKY? Aren’t we setting girls up for the exact same failure by stereotype when we send the message that you're either a girl who loves dolls and fairy wings OR a girl who loves science and building stuff? Why can’t you love both? How come you can’t you wear your gold glittery heels and pink fluffy boa to the tea party where you discuss building your sparkly rocket ship to Mars?

And what if you have zero interest or desire to play with this toy? What if, like Sweet Pea, your dream is to be a fashion designer and the top things on your Christmas list are Fashion Plates and a sewing machine? Does this commercial imply that she’s silly and brainless because her passions lie with hemlines and pleats? Or that this toy would never interest her because those things do?

I’m probably overthinking this. I do that. I’m just seeing all the comments on Facespace about this video and it hurts my heart. Once again, we are pitting women against women in this weird competition for…for what? I’m better than you because I don’t play like a girl? What does that even mean?

I do everything from putting on eyeliner to gutting fish like a girl because I AM a girl. I never thought of those things as being mutually exclusive.

I like this video on the GoldieBlox website much better. Girlie girls getting their invent on. That I can relate to. 

~ Princess Clover

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The last few weeks I have been writing blog posts in my head.  About a half dozen of them.  Really well thought out posts, passionately written about things that are super important to me. 

Except I never have time to get them out of my head and onto my blog.

And now, honestly, I can’t remember what any of them were even about.


I think I wanted to write about mean girls, helicopter parents, and how to raise children who are kind and compassionate.  I am pretty sure that I meant to launch my new “Kind Kids Revolution” right here on Clover.  I am also fairly certain that I thought up a very enlightening essay about religion vs. spirituality.  And I also believe that I had a lot to say about the inverse relationship that success and ethics seem to have these days. 

I think. 

Argh.  Sorry.  That’s all I’ve got right now.

But I promise to keep being brilliant and thought provoking in my head. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

William: I love you.
Me: I love you too.
William: I love you more.
Me: That's not possible.
William: How do you know that?
Me: Because I think we both love each other as much as we can love.
William: Mom, even if I was so fat I was about to explode because I was so full of words, I still couldn't have enough words to tell you how much I love you.

Happy Valentine's Day, one day late.

Friday, January 04, 2013

I’m not sure I would ever call myself an optimist.  I need to think through worst case scenarios in order to feel prepared. And I tend to worry a little.  Or maybe a lot.  So it’s probably no surprise that I’m feeling a little melancholy as I tiptoe into 2013.  I’m not feeling the resolution inspiring blank slate that the change of the calendar usually brings.  It’s more along the lines of same-shit-different-day.  Not to mention all the sadness and loss in the world. 

Is anyone else picking up on that?  Here in our community, and in my circle of friends, we’ve lost some really great people since Tuesday.  All of them suddenly.  Most of them way before we should have.  It’s devastating.  Beyond comprehension really.  My heart is so sad for so many families right now.

And that’s giving me perspective – or rather, reminding me of what my perspective needs to be.  My problems are first world problems.  Suburban middle class problems.  More specifically, money problems. 

When your children are healthy and snuggling up to you on a lazy vacation morning, money problems don’t really matter.  When your marriage is a source of stability and happiness in your life, money problems are background noise.  When your money problems still allow you to put food on your table and coats on your babies, money problems aren’t all that problematic. 

Focus.  Focus on that. 

I’m trying.  I really am. 

I read a story the other day about a family that suffered a devastating loss.  The father told the writer of the story that they felt like their life was like the back of cross stitch.  You know, the side where you can see all the knots, loose ends, and places where the colorful threads have to stretch an inch or two to get to where they need to be in order to create the beautiful and flawless design on the front.  The back side is messy and imperfect. But there’s still beauty in the colors and patterns that you can see there.  The Dad went on to say that God’s promise is that eventually when we are with him in Heaven we get to live the front side.  Perfect and flawless.  And good news, he’s going to be with us through all the mess and imperfection that gets created along the way.

Ok.  I can get on board with that.  And like I said, I’m not super unhappy about the mess and imperfection.  It’s still pretty fabulous.  I’m just trying to figure out how to navigate the right now.    

Sometimes it’s maddening.  I understand that we have not made the right decision every single time.  But we have also not been careless or reckless.  While I refuse to play the victim any longer, there’s no denying that we’ve had a streak of bad luck.  It’s making charting a path out of these rough waters really complicated.  I am unsure what it means to play it safe.  I don’t have a lot of faith in the American Dream right now.  (You can, in fact, work really, really, really hard and still end up flat broke.)  And I sure as hell don’t trust that the government or the bank or anyone else wants to help us get back on our feet.  Circling like vultures is more like it…

I suppose it’s moments like these when you just have to let it go and know that when the dust settles our first world problems will not have cataclysmic results.  I’ve played out all the worst case scenarios.  They still result in a roof over our heads, food on the table, and coats on my children.  This is a very good thing. 

So for 2013 my goal is stability.  My resolution is to persevere.  My mindset is one of gratitude. 

Be gentle New Year.  I’m hoping to read this 12 months from now and have these words seem unfamiliar.  Like a distant memory. 

Here we go…