I May Have Given My Daughter A Gender Superiority Complex.
I rue the moment Scarlet first heard a girl couldn't do what a boy could. She was into cheesy Barbie movies and I played Barbie: The Three Musketeers for her.
I get what they were trying to do: three "girls" were passionate about becoming Musketeers, but they were met with resistance along the way because only men could fill that role. They prevailed and blah blah blah, they became Musketeers, a la Karate Kid, wax on wax off. Except they paved their way as cleaning ladies with brooms and mops.
Great, awesome, thank you. Before this crappy movie pointed it out, Scarlet didn't know there was any difference between the sexes and what their societal constraints were.
Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain. I just wanted to get enough confidence injected into the essence of her being before she heard there was a difference between her and a boy she one day might assume was smarter, more capable than her.
Don't get me wrong -- I wholeheartedly believe what really matters comes from the parents, and as her mommy, I may have overcompensated and given our daughter a gender superiority complex. I literally say to her, "You are a woman. Make it happen".
I don't mean to give her a superiority complex. I just want her to grow up knowing something I didn't.
As women, there is this unspoken burden that we think we need to bear. Because in our society, if you are strong you are a bitch, if you have a fire in you, you are crazy, if you stay home with your kids, you're not working, if you work outside the home, you're not raising your kids.
But that emotional weight we pass down? None of it is true. And while some of these passed down ideas are spoken, some of them are societal innuendos. So,
Here are nine updates to old ideas I will instill in my daughter:
- Not everyone is going to like you. Sometimes that says more about them than it does about you.
- It's normal for you to be on your best behavior at school, for grandparents, etc., and meltdown for me. That's normal. You're normal. I will never make you feel bad for that.
- It's okay to have feelings and let me and other people know about them. It doesn't mean you're hormonal, it means you're in touch with yourself and you'll learn (the same way our boys will) how to manage your emotions responsibly.
- Her <insert attribute here> does not take away from your <insert attribute here>. Whether it's <beauty>, <intelligence>, <success>. It's human to want to compare. Rise above that and focus on the best you that you can be.
- You can be kind and still have boundaries. Just because you're a nice kid doesn't mean you should ever, ever let anyone push you around. You can be kind and strong as hell. No dichotomy there.
- You can be fiercely loyal and still walk away from something that's not good for you. Relationships, schools, old ways of thinking...
- You can be whatever you want to be. I am not you and you are not me. Always feel free to be your own person.
- Put yourself first. Not in an LA narcissistic sort of way, but responsibly and unapologetically.
- Don't let anybody tell you that you can't achieve something. Especially not yourself.
What is something you wish someone would have told you growing up? Comment below!
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