Thursday, January 15, 2015


Ellie building the Lego "Research Lab."
My daughter, Ellie, who is 5: I wonder why people make pants without pockets. 

Me: It's because clothing designers believe girls don't need pockets.

Ellie: We should go to a clothing designer and say, 'Hey! Put pockets in girl pants.' And they'll say, 'Why? Girls don't need pockets.' And then we'll say 'They actually do need pockets because where will they put things?

So now you know.

I've written about my daughter and clothing before, including in the most viral piece I've ever written, on my daughter's "best-dressed" award.
A boy received best engineer. A girl got best friend. Another girl was the best helper, and another most compassionate. A boy received best break dancer. A girl was named most athletic, and the teacher told us how when all the class raced around the track this girl "beat everyone! Even the boys!" And then my daughter got her certificate, showing her in a funky orange sweater, tight pants, and holding a bowling ball. Her award -- best dressed.

Many decades after the feminist movement of the 1960s, why are we still stuck in this gender-norming rut?
I  finished the piece with this:
If my daughter's creativity shines through in her choice of clothing, then celebrate both that creativity and the critical thinking that lies at the heart of all creative acts with a most creative award. Or we could just let Ellie tell us what she wants us to celebrate. When she picked up her award, she beamed at the picture of herself holding the bowling ball so proudly. "Daddy!" she said, "I won best bowler!"
We have to empower our kids to tell their own stories.

And give them pockets to put things in!