I remember the first time I saw a girl in a meat dress. Long before Lady GaGa adorned her animal protein ensemble, I was a college junior in a Tuesday/Thursday Rhetorical Persuasion class. The professor showed a film made in 1979 by Jean Kilbourne called Killing us Softly. The film featured a former fashion model named Anne Simonton protesting the media’s treatment of women while wearing a dress fashioned from bologna. I remember thinking that here we were in 1992 and not much had changed and I began to scrutinize the selling of women in sales. I would not be commercialism’s concubine, for I was now awake and aware. It was my mission to make the media’s masculine bias known. Then, I became a mother to a daughter.
Like my very own fairy godmother, the technician waved her sonogram wand and made the big reveal that one of my multiple babies was to be a girl. Soon, sticky-sweet goo like ultra-sound jelly began to bargain for space in my brain. My baby registry stands as evidence to my envelopment in garish girliness: cotton candy car-seat/carrier, patterned pink stroller, bashful blankets and blingy binkies. I tried to shop outside of the pink, but only found myself in purple, rose, or puce. My cutsie kingdom grew with my little girl and this summer I found myself sighing with happiness as I watched her in ballet, Princess Camp, and a full week of Fancie Nancie Dance Camp. Then I read Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein and my pink palace came crashing down.