The Feminist at Christmas: Thoughts on Beauty Toys for Girls


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The Feminist at Christmas: Thoughts on Beauty Toys for Girls

So as a dual-holiday household–Hanukkah and Christmas– shopping can be a real bitch, but it’s even more of a bitch when the toy my kid asks for makes me a bit upset.

As my daughter points along in a Toys R Us catalog, (she wouldn’t let me throw it out and she looks at it while she’s doing #2) she shows me a vanity set with the character Sofia the First from Disney.

Sofia is a recently-turned princess who takes care of her animal friends.

My 2.5 year-old’s face lights up as she says, “This is what I want for Christmas Mommy.”

While I loved seeing her face all aglow, I have to say that I am not sure I want to buy that for her for Christmas.

It’s a cute enough ‘toy” but all it is is a mirror, beauty set, and chair.

Essentially, I am giving a toy to my toddler that will just reinforce how fun and important it is to get yourself “pretty.”

Damning words from a woman who writes a pretty cool beauty blog.

I remember playing with my sisters’ makeup and vanity as a child, and it was rather fun, but I am hesitant to get my daughter involved in the whole world of makeup and beauty before she’s able to really harness what inner and outer beauty is.

No matter, because the world will throw her in before I am ready, this I know, but I find myself conflicted over this damn toy.

On one hand, I want to see her get excited on Christmas Day. I never got to celebrate Christmas as a kid, so I find the holiday rather pleasurable. And I myself wear makeup, beauty blog, and am a self-confessed Sephora addict, but do I need to initiate her into the vain beauty worries I occupy myself with at this age.

Sure, it’s a toy. She won’t be fretting over her wrinkles, acne, or lip size if I buy her the vanity, but she will play-act getting on makeup, doing her hair, etc.

I guess she could do that all on her own without the toy, sure.

I must admit, the thought of shopping with her when she’s an adult makes me smile, but I can’t help but feel a little helpless.

I’ve tried to keep her away from some of these ridiculous female narratives–prince marries princess, girls like boys a lot, girls want princes, girls want to be pretty, but it’s just not possible.

Her favorite things to do are: read, draw, use legos, pretend-play, sing, and act out stories.

I think I am doing a good job, but it does feel like a struggle when I come head to head with such things.

Maybe it’s because I don’t want her to grow up like me, feeling less than beautiful or not perfect enough.

Or maybe it’s because I want her to know that she is a beautiful being full of potential whether she’s rocking fuchsia lipstick, or nothing at all.

I’m also not a fan of just character toys, but I think at this point I could possibly commit suicide by joking, tripping myself, or  hanging myself with a princess doll. I’m just about drowning in Disney.

Who knew parenting would involve such deep choices as whether to buy my kid a beauty vanity or not?

I believe I’d like my money back, sir.


Conflicted Feminist who Loves Lingerie, the colors Pink and Red, and lipgloss.

9 thoughts on “The Feminist at Christmas: Thoughts on Beauty Toys for Girls

  1. m0mtales says:

    I appreciate your post and hope my child will love herself and others for what’s on the inside, but I played with Barbie and her buddies when I was younger. I loved princesses and fairy tales. Disney movies and toys never gave me a second thought into my own looks. Now that I’m older, I realize that it’s those damn housewives on TV that we need to watch out for!

  2. whatilovee says:

    Honestly, I have had this thought over and over. When I reminisce about my development as a young girl especially adapting to the idea of “beauty.” I really feel like it starts with my mother. When you give toys like this to a little girl, its really all in how much importance you place on it. If you treat it like a toy it’ll be a toy. I think its so important for things like these come from mommy because they’ll link how you treat it. You’re her idol. And you want to be the guide to helping her feel beautiful in the most healthy way. I know I’ll be the first to be buying my daughter her nail polish, cleansers, eye shadow, everything. I’ve seen what a lack of guidance can do for a young girl trying to feel beautiful. I’m happy to hear that you’re conscious of a controlled environment. Enjoyed the read. Whatever feels right to you, will be fine. She has concerned mommy and that’s enough to raise a confident girl. 🙂 Take care!

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