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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just a Girl

I'll never forget the first discussion I had with my Mom about women's rights. We were still going to church then, and I'd told the priest I was interested in being an altar boy. He told me it wasn't an option, because I was a girl. When I got home and told my mother, she lost it. Not only was she pissed, but she fought the church until they let me be an altar boy. The priest did tell me when we moved he was proud of me, and I do think he meant it.

It was one thing she was relentless about my entire childhood: I could do anything a male could do, I'm an equal, and should be judged on my merits and not my boobs. To this very day I'm thankful she instilled the confidence, self-sufficiency and the knowledge I didn't need a man to accomplish anything.

Now I'm not man-bashing here, don't misconstrue what I'm saying. I've never seen myself as a minority, and I've never wanted something handed to me just because I'm a woman.

So tonight Madison and I are watching Bambi, and we get to the part where Bambi and Thumper are playing in the snow. I commented that maybe we could get up to Mt. Charleston on Saturday morning to play in the snow for a bit, and she replies "I can't."

"What do you mean you can't?"

"I can't. I'm a girl."


I know she's only three, I know she is so innocent and has no idea the world ahead of her. But this isn't the first time she's said it, and it's bugging the crap out of me. So I'm already giving her the "You can do anything you want to do, it doesn't matter that you're a girl" speech.



ScrapAddictNV said...

You should be so lucky - mine is so much of a tomboy is makes me sick (and I'm no girly-girl) For the last few years we've discussed her going to college and becoming a doctor, well this weekend the cable guy was here and she said to me, what about cable - they make good money don't they. This isn't the first time she's done this, she once decided she wanted to be a fireman. I worry now that I'll never get my girl back!

JoeInVegas said...

Two things: Why can't a girl go up to the snow? And yes, what is this 'I'm a girl' thing? You do need to step up and teach here right (and find out where she gets these stupid ideas)

Barbara said...

Where on earth did she get that phrase?b Do you think she understands it? I can't believe she said that.

Just do exactly what your mom did with you - I am not concerned at all that she will be any different than you when she grows up :) But I do see how that would blow your mind to hear her say it!!!

New White Keds said...

Good for you for starting the teachings early. Cannot figure where the i'ma girl thing came from, but kudos to you for nipping it in the bud. She is going to be one tough cookie when all is said and done -- Good job Mom!

An80sNut said...

After having such an example from your mom, I can understand the shock you feel when hearing that from her. There are a lot of externalities that put pressure on children behind our backs. I often think about my nieces and how often I hear from them "but I'm a princess." They have Disney princess merchandise, a store (that I forget the name but remember David being threatened with fairy dust), television shows and grandfathers (the ones that like to dote on their... little princess.) Having you as a role model, I'm sure that she start to understand self-imposed limitations for what they are. Also explaining to her that the only thing she can't do is use a men's bathroom (unless the other one is broken and you have someone to watch the door), it'll only be a phase.

Nik said...

Wow I don't have much input here as I'm on the flip side of this coin. I have all nephews who I have to prove that girls can do anything they can do (thankfully, I'm a tomboy, so showing them up in sports is noo thing).

Luckily for Madison, she is very young so she still has so much to learn. Not only that, but you're a mother who had those values instilled, so it's now your turn to share/instill those same values in her. Not to get all psychological or anything, but at her age, that's exacly what she is "a girl". I can't imagine how frustrating this is for you. But give her time. I don't know you very well, but I'm sure your daughter will end up being a strong, independent young lady, just like her mommy.

Malinda777 said...

I think one of my favorite "Mom moments, feminist style" (mind you I grew up on a cotton farm in TX), was when I was about 5 or 6, and we took "good dishes" outside, and had a cooking class making mud pies.

We got dirty and were princesses at the same time, it was GREAT!

She'll conquer the snow, keep up the good talk :)