girl power Archives - 2 Dads with Baggage
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Can Two Dads Raise Girly Girls?

Can Two Dads Raise Girly Girls?

With two dads in the house, we sometimes wonder how our girls got to be so, well, girly. Okay, maybe we aren’t the butchest guys in the world, but we aren’t working the MAC makeup counter at Bloomingdales either. (Not that that’s a bad thing.) But it does make you wonder how can two dads raise girls that are girly girls, even without a mom’s influence in the house.

Even when they were little, they loved to curl their hair and wear make-up.

Two Dads Raise Girls

So where did the girls pick up all their girly influences? A lot has been written about how social norms are communicated to little girls and boys about how they are supposed to behave. It starts with pink blankets for girls and blue for boys. Toys for babies and toddlers reflect this as well. Boys are supposed to play with cars, and girls are supposed to play with dolls. In our house, our daughters had both cars and dolls. They still chose the dolls.

I wonder who picked the colors in this play set. I mean, look at that blue!

Drag Queen Make-Up

When they were younger, a family friend started it all by bringing Sophia and Ava little make-up sets she bought at Sephora. You know, little girl powder and glittery eye shadow, plus the ever-popular lip glosses in a variety of colors and flavors. It might as well have been candy the way Ava and Sophia glommed onto this stuff. Before we could even get the packaging open all the way, Sophia had glitter all over half her face. Ava had smeared lipstick like a clown several inches around her little mouth. Of course, they smiled the bright cheesy grins of girls that just know they look absolutely gorgeous. And they did!


So of course, Triton and I asked ourselves if this was the start of something. We wondered if we needed to worry that when two dads raise girls would our daughters somehow be influenced towards over-femininity. What should really be seen as a fun dress-up game, versus a slippery slope into prepubescent sexpots? We did not intend to encourage a couple of JonBenet wannabes, running around with big hair and caterpillar eyelashes as they got ready for school.

I keep finding these all over the house, and can’t stop myself from swatting them. Just in case.

Girls Will Be Girls

We decided to put the make-up away for only special dress-up play. I tucked it under a pile of stuffed animals on top of the armoire in Sophia’s room.

A few days later, I got home from a long day at the office and wanted nothing more than a big hug from my two sweet girls. Triton was in the kitchen making dinner and the house was oddly quiet. Of course this  made me wonder what they were up to.

Sure enough, when I went upstairs I found the culprits.

Ava had carried the little play table from her bedroom into Sophia’s room, and placed a chair on top of the table. Then Sophia put a suitcase from her closet on top of the chair, and was helping Ava to balance on her tippy toes at the top of all this.  All this because they wanted to reach the makeup stash we thought we had “hidden.”

Glitter is hard to get out of little girls’ hair, FYI.

When I walked in, Ava’s head swiveled on her body like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Sophia’s eyes were as big as Moon Pies. The expressions on their faces were awash with that guilty look that only kids can have when caught in the act. Because why? Ava had that hot pink lipstick painted all around her mouth like a lunatic clown, with the lipstick still in her hot little hand. Only to be outdone by Sophia, who was covered in a glitter bomb from head toe.

Then And Now

Clearly this was the start of something big. As they have grown into beautiful young ladies, the obsession has not left them. I regularly get texts to make an EMERGENCY MASCARA STOP! on the way home from work. Or we arrive home to find their bathroom covered in Q-tips with one end black from eyeliner clean-ups. We find bottles of nail polish in the oddest places.

Who taught Sophia to stand like this?!?!

And as long as we assure the girls that it’s what is inside them that is truly beautiful, then I say GO FOR THE GLAM! We’ve worked hard to teach them their worth is far greater than beauty. That they can be intelligent, kind, driven, accomplished, self-confident, humble, stable, kick-ass women. In whatever form they choose that to take. Even if they do all that with caterpillar eyelashes and glitter bombs.

Nothing wrong with a little girly around the house. (Ahem. Hold your wisecracks, please).

quinceañera sisters in gown and crown

See how beautiful they have become? Inside and out.

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Self Defense Classes for Teens

Self Defense Classes for Teens

Recently there were some incidents at our girls’ high school that freaked us all out a little bit. We’ve always talked with our daughters about being aware of their surroundings. We’ve discussed how to get help if they found themselves in a difficult situation. However, boys can be aggressive and girls can be mean. We wanted Sophia and Ava to be able to physically defend themselves should they ever have to do that.

We decided to sign them up for a self defense classes for teens, and it was well worth the time, money and effort.

self defense class in session San Diego

Coach Tracie Arlington teaches the girls how to escape from a man sitting on them.

Self Defense Classes for Teens

It was interesting to learn that both girls were all in on this adventure. We researched several local options, and decided on Play It Safe Self Defense – classes for women and teens. Our girls really wanted to learn how to defend themselves physically. Not only would this process be a confidence booster. It would also empower Sophia and Ava with an important skill set. It turns out these self defense classes for teens was way more than that.

Some Alarming Statistics

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, one out of every four women will be attacked or raped in her lifetime. Look at these alarming statistics from the Play It Safe website:

  • 83% of rape victims are between the ages of 12 years and 25 years of age.
  • 90% of women assaulted knew their assailant.
  • 25% of college women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • 85% of rapes on campuses are acquaintance/date rapes, and most happen in the first three months of college due to Fraternity and Sorority pledging and parties.
  • 90% of all campus rapes involve alcohol.

Women who resist are twice as likely to escape injury as others. According to the Women’s Self Defense Institute, an analysis of 3,000 actual assaults showed that half of the attackers fled from a woman who was willing to resist!

coaches with girls at self defense class

The class gets instruction from Coach Matt in preparation for each having a chance to defend themselves.

Finding the Right Class

After searching online for options, we found way more than we expected to see when we googled “self defense classes”. We found an enormous array of classes offered, and the choices became overwhelming. Did we want boxing? The use of tools like pepper spray or whistles? Did we want the classes to be more educational from a book lesson? Indoors or outdoors? Men present, or women only? Multiple days, or one long session? Hard core, or just tough enough?

After narrowing our search to wanting physical defense tactics with practical hands-on experiences, we started asking other parents for recommendations. Surprisingly, not many had researched this subject for their kids. We guessed there was a bigger need for self-defense services than any of us realized.

Triton finally spoke with a friend who had taken classes from Play It Safe. On her positive review, we decided to sign Ava and Sophia up for a 3 1/2-hour Saturday session.

girls self defense class circle

Standing in a circle, ready to practice their new skills on the guys.

What They Learned

On the appointed Saturday, the girls gathered with several others similar in age at a warehouse gym facility about 10 miles from our house. The organizers of Play It Safe told the parents they could stay for a bit and watch, but could not participate.

One of the greatest things that impressed the girls was the hands-on lessons in fighting back – with a real guy trying to attack them! There were two guys helping with the class, fully suited up in protective gear. One by one, the girls and women in the class took turns kicking and punching these poor guys. They used the skills they were learning in the class about how to fight off an attacker.

Some of the skills each girl learned how to:

  • Fight off a guy grabbing her from behind
  • Break his hold on her arms
  • Get away from a guy on the ground
  • Hit an attacker in places that will disable them quickly

And there was so much more.

(Photo courtesy of Play It Safe)

How Self Defense Classes Made Them Feel

When they got home from taking this class, they were nearly giddy with excitement. They couldn’t wait to tell us all of the things they had learned (and demonstrate some of them)! They felt empowered and capable, but most of all they felt confident. Both Sophia and Ava were more self confident, and said they knew more from that three hour class about how to defend themselves than they had learned in all the years prior.

They’ve still got a lot more to learn, and need to be careful about letting down their guards in unsafe situations. But they are definitely more knowledgeable and prepared in case something ever happens.

Honestly, after watching them demonstrate some of their newly-learned moves, I wouldn’t want to cross them!

The 3 Weapons of Defense (Photo courtesy of Play It Safe)