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, 

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!