First of all, her stepfather's mother is an idiot and I wouldn't piss on her if she were on fire. Secondly, I know why 12 was wearing that outfit: to show off her new bangin black sandals. Seriously, these sandals redefine awesome. Thirdly, I know why 12 year old girls reject pink, flower patterns and skirts: they are rejecting the patriarchy.
"PF, c'mon now," you say. "What does a 12 year old know of the patriarchy?"
Well, that's the problem. 12 year olds aren't taught about the patriarchy and the kyriarchy and feminist theory. They do, however, live in our culture. They experience, first hand, how girls are treated, the expectations placed on girls, and what happens to girls who transgress against the patriarchy- but because they have no knowledge of the patriarchy and feminism, they have no means of processing and expressing how they feel about it all other than to reject obvious symbols of femininity: pink, flower patterns and skirts.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider the following incident: For about the first year of 2's life, she had the reddest skin I've ever seen, combined with blonde hair and blue eyes. Pink was, at best, unfortunate on her. It really accentuated the red of her skin. Of course, being a girl child, all 2 was dressed in was pink. This was because all the clothes given to her mother as gifts were pink because ZOMG!GIRL!
Anyway, we were at a family party that included 2's idiot grandmother and 2 was dressed in a lavender onesie. I commented to her mother that she looked much better in purple than in pink. Her mother replied that she was going to buy her blue clothes as they would look much better with her skin and nice with her blue eyes. Idiot grandmother proceeded to freak the fuck out about putting a 3 month old girl in blue because, and i quote, "People will think she's a boy!"
Yes, because the worst thing that could ever happen is that some random stranger not be able to immediately identify the sex of an infant.
I'm not innocent in this. I live in the patriarchy and it has seeped into my soul. I once spent 10 minutes on the bus trying to identify the sex of the person sitting across from me. Then I thought, "Why do I care? What does it matter?"
Oh, it matters. Your sex determines how I, and everyone else, will interact with you, and if we can't immediately identify your sex, what will we do?! Treating people as humans, treating women as we treat men, treating people who don't fall into the XX/XY dichotomy as we treat anyone else, just isn't in the patriarchy's plan.
Anyway, at the Easter party yesterday, 2 had the most logical reaction to it all that I've ever seen. She was wearing a cute yellow dress, liberally decorated with flowers, and grubby sneakers. We all commented on her cute dress and her mother said that it came with matching sandals, but 2 had apparently changed out of them and into the sneakers on the sly, because her mother didn't notice it until they got to church.
2 looked at us, jumped and said, "Gotta jump" with great finality and jumped off to find more jelly beans.
To translate from toddler: Look, I know the sandals are cute, but they weren't exactly practical. I like jumping and I see no need to stop jumping just so I can please everyone else by having my footwear match my dress.
So the next time the patriarchy demands something of you, something that makes women less, something that chains us to its oppression just a little bit more, remember, you gotta jump.
*I initially wrote "flowers", but she's not opposed to actual flowers, just depictions of flowers on her person.