She walks into the club. Her tight leggings so flowery, tiny Uggs on her feet, nails freshly painted pink, mini jean skirt, and brown leather jacket. I look at her and wonder, “she can’t be older than 7 years. Why is she dressed like that?” Her mother walks right after. I now know why she is dressed like that. She is a copy of her 30 year old mother.
The above scene repeats at least 35 times whenever I am at the club, my children’s nursery, or going out with my friends. I look at my 3 year old girl and smile. Running around with her messy hair, pair of jeans, a pullover with Disney prints, and worn out sneakers. Am I a good mother? Is my child normal? Why doesn’t my girl look like most of the girls around her? Taking a deep breath, I decided I will open up this subject with my friends.
“She has to match her friends at school!” Here is a good excuse for teaching your girl that who she is depends heavily on what she wears and what she looks like. This is totally understandable, though. The school this child goes to is an international school, with annual fees of 5 zeros. There is no uniform; and lots of space for showing off. The teachers and mothers are alike. Original designer bags and shoes worth thousands of pounds, perfectly done nails worth hundreds of pounds, and an attire that could feed a street in Cairo if sold. If this is the example set, I think to myself, it’s quite normal for the girl to hold an iPhone with open connection, carry a designer bag (fit to her age) and walk around like a 30 year old woman in the body of a 7 year old.
“I don’t want a tomboy, I want my girl to be girly”. Another lame excuse to teach stereotyping to children at such a young age! The fact that a tomboy is a bad thing kills me. I understand that it’s important to be moderate, but labeling a girl for dressing differently, or playing differently, is wrong. Teaching your children at such a young age that labeling is OK is a whole new level of wrongness. Relating how you dress with who you are leaves a big room for hate, grudge, jealousy and even crime to build up. Sadly, many of us believe that our social standards and financial status is projected by the way we dress; and this is how we belong!
We forgot who we are, and where we live. Many kids are now being kidnapped from schools because we forgot who we are. Many kids are unable to mingle, or express themselves clearly because we forgot to teach them how to talk and what to say. Instead, we open their eyes at such an early age to the differences in society. We create levels of people, and we restrict ourselves to these levels. Forgetting that our children are the result of what we feed them, the values and beliefs you insert in them. The media has us trapped between brand names and styles and we follow blindly. We teach our children that clothes and shoes define who they are, instead of teaching them that their actions, values and beliefs define that.
I have nothing against looking neat, and even trendy. The way you dress is part of who you are; but it definitely does not and should not define who you are as a person. I remember when I was in school, an international one by the way, we had a uniform. Uniforms eliminate social categorization. We are all equal inside schools. I remember we were not allowed to wear nail polish until high school. I remember we all bought the same school bags and shoes. Mobile phones were not allowed inside. We went to schools to get an education and make friends. As I look at my daughter and her group of friends I smile, because I know my daughter is right. She looks like her mother, who is right. Clean, neat, basic, and a designer free child. A child with a soul, a free child.
Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run