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Kate White

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An Open Letter to Shiloh

Posted: 03/ 8/2010 1:54 pm

Dear Shiloh,

I saw a picture of your new short haircut yesterday and more of that cool new look you've been rocking -- boy jeans, camouflage cargo pants, neck ties, hoodies and fedoras -- and I wanted to tell you how much I love it. You are clearly one of the most fun, fearless little girls around.

It's a bit strange that I'm writing to you because I don't even know you, but I felt I had to after I saw those stupid articles in a few nasty tabloid magazines making statements like, "Is Shiloh too tough?" and "Why is Angelina turning Shiloh into a boy?"

Clearly the poo-poo heads that run those magazines don't know much about parenting or anything at all about the women's movement, which kicked off in the 1960s. Back then women fought hard to be able to do things they'd never been allowed to do before. There were all sorts of awful, crazy restrictions. At my Catholic high school, for instance, girls couldn't even play sports. And later, when I applied to Newsweek magazine for a job right out of college, I was told that I would have to start in the researcher pool and might be there indefinitely -- the reporting and editing track was for guys. Over time, thanks to the efforts of many fantastic women, we got to dress how we wanted, go to the schools we wanted to, and have the jobs we dreamed of.

You have to wonder what those tabloid editors expect. That all little girls wear kitten heels like one particular three-year-old celebrity daughter? The great thing today is that girls and women have tons of choices. We can do what we want to!

It's really sad that some people haven't caught on yet. Do you know Lady Gaga went to an all-girls school that still makes students wear dresses as their uniform? Pants aren't allowed even in winter. Actually, maybe that's what helped turn Gaga into such a great rule breaker.

Even parents can make dumb mistakes sometimes. I'll never forget a goof I made when my little girl was four. I was going through the closet of her six-year-old brother and I came across a Batman rain slicker that he'd outgrown. I asked my daughter, "Should we send this to cousin Jeffrey?" And she said, "Mom, can I have it?" I felt so dumb for having not thought she would like it just because it was a "boy thing" and immediately said yes. She wore it with a pair of Keds and it looked awesome.

So Shiloh, ignore those poo-poo heads and dress exactly how you want. And enjoy being the fun fearless female that you are. Great things will come because of it.