I like to reinforce the idea of little kids wearing helmets when riding their bikes.
So when I encounter a child on a bicycle I often say something affirming about him or her wearing a helmet.
But I've noticed something. When I'm addressing a little girl (most of the time in the presence of a parent) I tend to say the same thing.
"That sure is a pretty helmet."
Not, "It's important to protect your head if you want to make partner someday."
Not, "Children who wear helmets have been shown to do well on college entrance exams."
I tell her the helmet is pretty.
I can't even remember what I've said to little boys. But apparently I believe little girls want to be told they look pretty.
Pretty shallow, I know. But here's the thing.
The kids don't seem to mind.
Still, I don't want to contribute to little girls defining themselves strictly in terms of appearance. So I guess I'll come up with some new material.