2.20.2014

Girl Power

Is it Friday yet?

This week has really d r a g g e d on!  I am excited for the weekend and to get some sleep...I feel like I have been perpetually tired lately and have had a constant to-do list running through my head.  I am looking forward to turning the alarm off this weekend and getting some rest!

As a disclaimer this will be a wordy, intellectual post. If you're not in the mood for that, I understand: Come back next week or peruse some recent posts you've missed!

Today I wanted to share my musings on a Forbes article I recently read:

The article opens with a quick discussion of the glass ceiling and the fact that even now, in the 21st century, women earn less than men.  It then goes on to list 7 factors that affect this gender gap and provides recommendations for parents to help prepare their daughters to reach their dreams, whatever those dreams may be.

Without getting into all the specifics (you can read them here), I'll just quickly list their 7 talking points and then share my thoughts and reflections on the subject...

1.  You teach her to be polite and quiet.


I do believe in teaching kids to be polite and use manners, but I equally believe in teaching kids to have a voice and not back down from their beliefs and dreams.  

love this!

2.  You buy her gender-specific toys.

I personally think this one should be amended to:  You only buy her gender-specific toys...


I was the ultimate girlie-girl, 
BUT...

I also grew up doing boy things...

3.  You tell her she's pretty...to the exclusion of everything else.

Teach her that her worth extends far beyond her appearance.


4.  You indoctrinate her into the princess cult.

Okay...maybe loving princesses isn't so bad, BUT, teach her about all the important work that princesses actually do!

5.  You give Dad all the physical tasks around the house.

Rosie did the work...and looked good doing it!
Love her polka dots and thick eyelashes!

6.  You only let her spend time with other girls.

I love it when my girls choose the blocks center or, on the flipside, my boys choose the kitchen center.

7.  You criticize your own body, and/or other women's bodies.  

Society puts enough pressure on us in terms of body image:  Rather than add to that, instill healthy habits in your daughter so she will have a strong, healthy body...not just a skinny body.

Okay and now for my really deep thoughts...get ready!

This article really spoke to me, because I have always been someone that has felt pulled in different directions in terms of womanhood, feminism, career, family...

I'm competitive and driven.  Throughout college I considered pursuing marketing, PR, law, public policy, international affairs, and more.  I thrive in high pressure situations and could see myself being very happy in the "business world."

On the other hand, though, I'm nurturing and absolutely love kids.  I like to hug them tight and let them know they're loved.  I like to see their eyes light up when they are excited about learning something new.  I like finger painting...and cutting...and gluing.  You can see the contrast, yes?

Similarly, I'm conflicted when it comes to gender roles.

I aspire to be domestic and ladylike.  I want to be admired for having a beautiful home, cooking gourmet meals, and being able to throw a great party. I want to be pretty and wear lots of pink.  I was the little girl that spent most of my free time playing house and dress-up.  I like being taken care of and having a man to help with the heavy lifting.

I also aspire, though, to be admired for my mind and ability to share my thoughts and opinions.  I want to be seen as the girl that can get all dressed up, but also isn't afraid to get down and dirty and be real.  I want to be respected as someone who is confident and sure of herself.  Bryce has told me that his favorite thing about me is the fact that I'm fiery...I know who I am and don't let others push me around. I love that he admires that quality.

Since reading this article and in turn reflecting on myself, my take home message is balance.  I think for my generation feminism is about being able to choose.  Be the woman in the board room wearing pink. Let your man be a knight in shining armor, but make sure that he also knows just how capable you are...and help him when he needs it.  I think that gender roles are very much shaped by society, but I also think there are inherent differences between men and women.  I don't think that's  a bad thing.  I think we should embrace our differences and capitalize on them.

As a future mother, I will take Forbes's 7 suggestions into account...in fact, I'm quite impressed by their ideas.  I want my future daughter to know that she can be whatever she wants...whether that means being a fashion designer or an aeronautical engineer.  She can do everything the boys can do...but she also has the choice whether or not to do the same things that they do.

And finally, as I was writing this post this commercial came on (how apropos!) and I think it is the perfect closing:



So now...if you've made it this far, what are your thoughts?  I've found that I tend to learn the most from listening to other people's opinions.

Have a great day!

9 comments:

  1. This post really resonated with me. I felt very torn because at the exact same point in my life, I took on a very busy job and moved in with my boyfriend. I've always been pretty traditional so I want to be the perfect girlfriend with the spotless apartment and dinner every nigh,t but at the same time, I also really like my job and get a great sense of fulfillment from it. It gets very challenging to be good at it all, and I have remind myself to step back and relax sometimes.

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  2. Great post. I'm sure raising a girl (if she's anything like how I was) will be one tough job. One of my favorite memories if of playing Legos and building forts with my brothers, and the occasional times they'd comply and play Ken to my Barbies ha. Interesting bullet points for sure - great post!

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  3. Great post! I find myself struggling with these issues quite often too. My parents actually encouraged me to join a male dominated career and it urkes me when people look surprised when I tell them I work in IT. I hope one day there will be more women CEO's. I think every woman should have a good balance of those polite and 'fiery' traits and ultimately stay true to herself.

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  4. I was LOVED science growing up (and ballet). I entered college thinking I would be an astrophysicist (I even went to a residential high school for science and math). I ended up an elementary school teacher and now a stay at home mom, I LOVE every minute. I felt pulled in opposite directions, but I don't regret a minute of it. I will also fully support my boys if they decide they'd like to be stay at home dads one day. I'm currently expecting a girl and I really struggle with how to balance the emphasis on appearance, the stress on good grades and how hard it can be to make the choices women tend to make more than men (staying at home vs a career). I have to admit the GE commercial really urks me, for a lot of reasons. I really wish there was more of a balance created in our society for men and women with families - but I suppose that is kind of a side note. And I totally agree girls and boys should be polite! Great post!

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  5. Love this article!! Now that I have a son I'm shocked at how the books and toys geared toward little boys are all about being something real like a policeman, fireman, doctor, etc and all the little girls stuff is princesses!! Umm princesses aren't real, why aren't we teaching our little girls they can be the same as boys or at least give them real jobs to aspire too. My mom said toys were gender neutral when we were little and you besides a doll they weren't pink blocks or blue blocks like there are today.

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  6. I absolutely adore this post and couldn't agree with you more! It makes me extremely thankful to have parents who raised me with that necessary "balance" of being polite and ladylike, but also fiercely independent.

    I was in a meeting this week, and an older man announced to the group that he was yet to be introduced to the "attractive young lady" sitting near him, in reference to me. It's always a conflicting situation because you don't know whether to be grateful for the compliment, or frustrated because of such an unprofessional comment. I also know that the man that held my position before I did made more money because he claimed that he needed to support his family. The glass ceiling is definitely still in existence!

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

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  7. Great post!! I totally agree that it's all about the balance. I'm as much a sorority girl as I am a ball buster...and wouldn't change it for a minute!

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  8. I think it's horrible that little girls are being taught that their femininity is somehow "defective" and "inferior" to males and masculinity! God had a very special purpose for women when He created Eve, the "mother of all humans," and it's really sad that little girls these days aren't being taught to embrace their true nature! I am almost 32, and if I had to choose a handful of toys from my own childhood to take with me in order to evacuate for a hurricane, not a single, solitary ONE would be something you could find in the boys' department!!! I think there's something magically "human" about the face of a (realistic) doll, and women tend to outlive men partly BECAUSE of our life-giving, rather than risk-taking, nature as the female sex.

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