I will be the first to admit it, kids annoy me. They're loud, needy, and shockingly honest, even if it offends. With all that being said, I'm no grinch and I don't hate children. As much as they can be loud, needy, and rude they can also be extremely cute, charming, and adorable. Alas, they are children, learning and growing everyday and ignorant to the nuances of social etiquette and self-sufficiency. None of us came out of the womb knowing how to tend to ourselves and knowing that it's not ok to scream and cry in public. We were all helpless dependents.
A few weeks ago, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry brought his daughter, Riley, along for a post-game press conference. Riley sat in her father's arms for a while but it wasn't long before she took the mic and unintentionally stole the show. I'm not a basketball fan, but on social media sites I kept seeing the image of Riley grabing the mic, while her father seemed flustered in the background. As I said, children scream 'annoying' to me, so even before watching the video clips I wondered why would they allow seemingly annoying Riley to join her father at these conferences? Especially if she is a blatant distraction. So, a few days ago I decided to watch the clips of her 'stealing the show' and I was surprised. Riley is truly adorable! She grabs the mic out of pure curiosity and doesn't understand what she's doing. She doesn't seem to want to be the center of attention she's just curious.
Since Riley's appearance on TV, there have been real debates on how she should be handled, how rude she is, how she needs to be raised appropriately, and even about her looks.
Fast forward a couple days...There was a picture of Kanye and Kim Kardashian-West's baby North on my Twitter timeline. I am not a fan of the duo but north is gorgeous and she's an innocent baby. The picture on my timeline showed North smiling and I'm not sure if she was in the tub or not, but her face was wet with water. One guy made a caption for the picture saying that "North was practicing for her first facial". For those of you that don't know, the term 'facial' can be a sexual term meaning when a man ejaculates semen on to a woman's (or man's) face. Since Kim is notoriously known for her sex tape and sex symbol status it is safe to assume that this is the way it was meant to be interpreted. Many people retweeted it, they called it hilarious, it was the joke of the night. Again, there real debates on her looks and even how she is dressed. How could you sexualize a baby girl? It's disgusting and deplorable.
Lastly, Blue Ivy. People have criticized her looks since birth. They wanted her to be 'ugly' therefore they call her such. I know you've all seen the posts, blogs, essays, and even petitions regarding her hair.
All of these things above are generated by adults. Not immature school children on a playground. Knowledgeable, grown folks are making fun of children. Not just children, baby girls. If Riley, North, or Blue were boys none of these things would be issues. People are upset because Riley has a personality and is not shy. People are upset because North doesn't wear frilly dresses all the time. People are upset because Blue doesn't wear her hair in ponytails adorned with ribbons and barrettes. People are upset because these babies are not in their 'place' as little girls. It's truly awful that these little girls have society harping down on them and they aren't even 5 years old.
Several years ago, when Michael Jackson's children were younger people called him crazy for having his children wear veils and blankets to cover them from the paparazzi. He was anything but crazy, he was being a parent who wanted to protect his children from the harsh criticism that Riley, North, and Blue are already facing. He took the brunt, being called crazy so his children wouldn't have to be called ugly, nappy-headed, or just not socially acceptable.
In everyday life, little girls face criticism but not on such a large scale. It's all hurtful, it all negatively affects their self esteem. Regardless of how you may feel about their parents, they are innocent children. Before I make this statement I want to preface with the fact that I am not saying women are weak or inferior. I do want to say that I think women are very vulnerable and we are FORCED to have to keep up appearances and to play the feminine role. When we aren't dainty, polite, quiet, thin, modest, dressed in pink, and neat it's a problem. We're 'deviant' if we're not all those things plus some. Attacking a woman's (or in this case a little girl's) femininity is the lowest of blows according to society.
Wonen have always been a representation of chaos, lewdness, unruliness, and disorder. We are always the problem, and it truly sickens me that Riley, North, Blue, and many other girls are subject to this at such a young age. When does the cycle end? Particularly with black little girls. Their first oppressor is their race closely followed by their sex. We are even pitted against each other from a young age as if we're all enemies. When I looked up images of North and Blue, Google suggested that I see pictures of them side-by-side. Again, some people have created several memes related to which girl has the best face, hair, etc. Sad.
I think it's important to encourage our little girls from birth to love themselves and embrace who they are. The importance of being society's definition of 'feminine' will be a major part of their life from birth. It's NOT important to be what society calls 'feminine'. To be feminine is something up for debate I suppose. For me it means strength, courage, "we are than our bodies", self-love, development, respect, and above all else self-worth in a society that says you will never be worthy.
Riley, North, and Blue are more than their random outbursts, their clothing, their hair, and even their famous parents...It's time people take notice, it's time for adults to grow up and get out of the mindset that it's ok to marginalize these babies.