…The thing is, that people like to do what is expected of them. They think the expecter will be pleased if they, the expectees, fulfill the expectation. They are probably right, because most grown-ups get into habits of thought, expectations, and we feel uncomfortable if we are jolted out of those habits, by someone who defies our expectations…

So how do you know whether someone who wants to do what is expected of her is doing it because she wants to do it or because she wants to do what is expected of her?

If, for example, a teenaged girl wants to experiment with make-up and boys and such – is it because she herself genuinely enjoys the experiment for its own sake, or because she is going along with what everybody expects her to want to do, what with her being female and pubescent and hormonal and all. And how does one tell the difference?

It strikes me that the only way you could be sure you were doing something for its own sake rather than for the sake of meeting someone’s expectation is to remove the expectation. Or at least to remove any consciousness of that expectation. But how can you do that?

How can you take a little girl out of a world where she is expected to like pink and push toy babies around in toy prams? How can you take a little boy out of a world where he is expected to get into fights and to play with toy trucks?

How do we escape the expectations of countless unliberated minds? Unending streams of people, laying their own prejudices, their own preconceived ideas on my daughter. Clanking, gendered chains (glittering flowery ones for girls, blue with sailing boat design for boys) steering our children like trams along pre-ordained courses: steering my own girl from pink babyhood, through teddy-bear-girlhood and on to pornstar wannabe, inviting friends to a pole-dancing stripper-cise party for her sixteenth birthday.

Perhaps I am too pessimistic.

But I panic so, when I see little girls, no more than eight years old, with “Cheeky” written across their bums. I panic so, when I see pre-pubescent things in short-short skirts with glossy pink lips. I panic so, when I see young adult women simpering foolishly over stupid, stupid, stupid, glossy, celebrity claptrap.

How can I save my little girl from such a fate?