Empowering Christmas Gifts for Girls

The other day, I ventured into Target and then Walmart for my Christmas shopping, and for Christmas shopping, I mean, spending money I do not have on kids’ toys that they will ignore after 2 days. If it even takes that long!It’s easy enough to shop for my son; he’s nine and into wii games. Shopping for my daughter is another issue. It’s irritating.

These are my choices as I trail along the pink aisle of any toy store; thus, these are the choices that define her potential as she develops into a woman:

1. Mother/Housewife: Baby dolls that pee, poo, eat, get carried around in Bjorns and strollers.
2. Eye Candy: Barbie dolls, Bratz, Princesses, and all the new crazy big-eyed monster dolls with incredibly incongruous body parts, all of them dressed like sexy vamps with short skirts, tight pants, tank tops, red carpet outfits and high heels. Is it little girls who play with them or men?
3. Fashionista: Again, Barbie dolls, Bratz, Princesses, crazy big-eyed monster dolls, and Polly Pockets, because all little girls love clothes, shoes, and matching bags — especially sexy outfits that expose skin and show off curves little girls have not developed yet.

Shopping for little girls is tiresome and frustrating. But here is what I settled for this year for my daughter, because it is my job as her mother not to give her what she thinks she wants, but what she needs to grow up into a strong and independent individual who does not look to the media to define her roles in life or her potential as a woman. It’s my job, and I take this job seriously.

The Daring Game for Girls 1. The Daring Game for Girls: This is a great game, either for Wii or DS game systems. They’re hard to find, but you can purchase them through Amazon. In this game, girls first choose a girl to play as, hopefully one that looks like them. Choices include girls with brown hair, blond hair, red hair, and most importantly, there are Asian, Black, and Latina girls to choose from. Every little girl is represented and can find a girl that appeals to her background. The objective of the game is to play soccer, basketball, baseball, go camping, hiking, answer trivia questions, and such to earn enough points with which to purchase items needed to build things. Among teaching girls the value of participating in sports and having adventures, little girls can also become entrepreneurs, selling arts and crafts or lemonade in order to earn enough money to purchase necessary items for the adventures. This is the only game out there made for girls, and what’s even more wonderful is that throughout the game, there are positive and empowering quotes offered to the players by strong and famous women

American Doll2. American Doll: Last year, I bought her an American doll, which is a very smart choice for little girls. Her face looks like a little girl’s face, and her body is actually made of cloth and stuffing. No plastic, large, and protruding breasts with a much too tiny waist. American dolls have plastic arms and legs, but everything in between is all good and age appropriate. Little girls can also go online with you and choose a doll that looks like they do. The only con is that it is expensive, which is why my girl only has one.

Lerap Frog Solar System 3. Leap Frog Tag System: Since grandma bought her a Tag reading system (the pen) as an early Christmas present, I decided to get my daughter a few Tag books with which to practice reading. A Tag system is excellent for beginning readers, and I have always been a fan of Leap Frog toys. Love them! The Solar System Tag gift is a really cool gift for little girls, shifting their attention away from typically stereotypical toys like dolls, clothes, and such. Girls should know about the planets as much as we teach the boys.

Brave wii 4. Brave Wii game: I haven’t written about Brave because I had a problem with the mother/daughter chasm in the story, but Merida is one brave and empowered role model for our girls. The Brave Wii game allows girls to put themselves in her place and shoot arrows as well as Merida.

5. Soccer Ball: I signed my daughter up for soccer in the spring, along with her older brother. Everything I have read aboutsoocer ball sports and girls tells me that girls need to be in sports, and by sports, I don’t mean cheerleading. Not a sport, no matter how you spin it. Girls who are in sports grow up to be strong, competitive, and assertive, and we can use a new generation of women who possess these attributes. A soccer ball is necessary for her first practice this spring.


  Little Women 6. Little Women: Since this is the year that she is learning how to read, I bought her a few First Reader books as well as a Sight Words workbook. But when I was at Barnes and Nobles the other day, I came across one of my most treasured childhood books, Little Women. Jo, of course, was my favorite heroine, and by introducing her to my daughter, I am giving her yet another positive role model. They do exist.

Lalaloopsy 7. Lalaloopsy: Even though Lalaloopsy dolls’ skirts tend to be a bit short and their long legs rail thin, they’re still better than all the other choices that exist for little girls in the stores. Their faces are cute, and they look like little girls and not “hot” versions of adult women. Definitely a good choice for our daughters.

As parents, we are responsible for the messages that we send our daughters, and when we cave in and buy them toys that every other girl gets, whether it’s Barbie or Bratz dolls, we are not doing anything to benefit them. We need to be wise and thoughtful in our shopping, always keeping in mind their emotional health, and always providing them with options and choices that the toy industry does not offer them.

Shop wisely, not as consumers, but as parents, for both your girls and your boys.

Merry Christmas!

What empowering girls’ gifts have you come across this shopping season?

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About Marinagraphy

Marina is a writer who focuses her work on the need for female empowerment. She writes articles, books, and blogs centered on female experiences related to motherhood, female agency, feminism, and building positive images for young girls and women. She currently teaches Literature, Writing, and Women's Studies on the College level.

3 Responses to Empowering Christmas Gifts for Girls

  1. helaine says:

    I guess its an easel i meant and also the full 9 book series of little house on the prarie books!

  2. Helaine says:

    We are big lalaloopsy fans here… Most have pretty good messages. They arent all princess which is why alot of the moms you will see on the lalaloopsy pages on fb like them. They are just fun imaginative dolls. ( I am not a fan of the short skirted Bratz dolls either) My daughter takes all 18 of her lalaloopsy dolls and teaches them class on her chalk board. If i could add to your list i would say the best gift “santa” EVER bought my daughter was a dryerase/chalk board. Not a day goes by that my daughter doesnt write something on it. Whether it is a sweet note to me or her father or something expressing her feelings towards missing her cat who passed away or a science or math lesson she made up for herself, or poem or song. Best Gift ever. This yr. she will also be getting a Microscope… I think she is going to love it.

    • Hi Helaine, thanks for the list for awesome gifts for girls. Love the easel idea, the dry erase board, and especially the microscope — not just for girls, but for all kids. So much better than the crap they sell at the stores nowadays. Enjoy the holidays with your daughter. She sounds awesome!And thanks for reading.

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