I want to shout from the rooftops GIRLS!!! But you & I know that’s not quite the case.
Today is International Women’s Day & I have so many conflicting thoughts bouncing around in my head, I decided to get them down on paper. Or screen, as it so happens! 😉
In today’s world of social media, You Tube, Influencers & TV at tip of our fingers, I’ve been concerned for a while about the negative affect it would all have on my 10 going on 13 year old daughter. In a world of Kim Kardashians, Disney channel & god forbid porn, I’m super conscious of not letting her get drawn into the world of comparison. I’m not pretty enough, my shorts aren’t short enough, I’m too fat/skinny/strong. But, on reflection, and a conversation I had with my daughter this morning, I don’t think that at this point in time I actually have any of those things to worry about.
What I have discovered that I have to worry about, is her comparison to boys.
She thinks she’s not strong enough, not fast enough, not smart enough, not cool enough. To keep up with the boys.
She told me this this morning in not so many words as she watched some tradies installing a new screen door into our garage. Her brother was out the back too kicking a soccer ball when she sighed Ï wish I could wear shorts to school & have a cool hair cut.”
“But you can,” I told her. (And she can, her school is totally on board with the whole uniform equality thing, there are girls shorts available & she wears a skort already).
“But it would be weird,” was her reply.
She looks longingly at the tools the tradies are using, their banter, their steel capped boots & shorts & shirts. Her brother with his short back & sides hair cut & seemingly endless ream of cool tricks with his soccer ball.
And it occurs to me, that she thinks she can’t do any of these things. My girl. My girl who is super smart, amazingly athletic, creative, brave, curious & empathetic. She thinks she can’t do the same things as the boys & men around her. (She totally could & she’d smash anything she wanted to!)
She’s not trying to keep up with Kim Kardashian, or Rhianna, or Taylor Swift at all.
I can’t really believe that in today’s society with all the work women are doing for equal rights for women, equal pay in the work force & the sports field. All the books & stories I give her with empowering stories about girls & women, she still doesn’t think she’s the same level as her male peers. The women (my friends & family) who I surround her with, that are all part of my “tribe” who provide her with so many positive female role models, who have so many amazing skills & talents – is none of the power I’m offering her actually sinking in?
I’m continually telling both my kids, it’s not for boys or for girls, it’s for either, whether they are discussing a colour, an item of clothing, a job or a toy. Gender equality in our house is extremely important to me.
That she can do anything & be anyone?
That’s so sad. It makes me so sad.
I should add here that Oaks does have male friends. They hang out, they ride bikes, they play sport together & listen to music. I never picked up anything that would make me think she felt inferior to them.
So, what do I need to do? How can I make her understand? Is it just a matter of time & she’ll figure it out? Did I just catch her on a bad day? Does it make a difference if your daughter comes from a house full of boys compared to a house full of girls in the way they view gender equality?
Here’s hoping my girl will work out eventually that she’s just as great as the boy sitting next to her in class & that maybe, just maybe, one day she’ll be working side by side with him, earning the same money as him, kicking the ball on the same field as him, raising the children with him & rocking the same hair style as him in the not too distant future.
Here’s to you girls of the world & Happy International Women’s Day – we’ll keep on fighting the fight!