Don't Be a Girl
The Harm We Place in Our Children by Shaming Women's Strength and Succumbing to Society's "Standards"
There's a quote I have seen online, I think it was said to be Betty White. Something along the lines of don't tell someone to not be a pussy if you're trying to insult them, call them a testicle, one kick and that thing is done for. Those things can take a beating. If you think about it, women are pretty damn strong. There is no doubt that we are more mentally and emotionally strong than men, when it comes to physical strength, no doubt the majority of men would be stronger but that is due to anatomy and not "not having the balls (no literally)" or "being a pussy."
So why do we tell our little girls to be polite and sweet. Why do we tell our sons to "man up." Why do we place so much on the shoulders of our children that can and will shape who they are at their core as they grow up in this insanely screwed up world?
I served in the army actively for four years, and in that time I wasn't considered a solider by many of my male counterparts. To some, I wasn't a solider even though a wore the same uniform as all the males, even though I went through the same training, and even though I would bleed the same blood on the battlefield. And why? Because the physical fitness test only required a female of my age to perform 19 sit ups compared to the 32 that males were required to do. Now I can tell you this, at my most physically fit I could crush the physical fitness test. I graduated basic training with a 14:32 two mile run. Being a female had nothing to do with my strength or dedication. It had everything to do with the passion that grew inside of me from the time I was young, that passion that was so carefully nurtured by my dear parents; whom I'd like to take a moment to thank for raising me to reach for the stars. There is nothing wrong with telling our children to follow their dreams. There is nothing wrong with cheering them on, and filling their minds with positive affirmations. "WOW that is the most beautiful flower you have ever picked for me" or "I am so proud of you for trying your best today out on the soccer field," are examples of affirming positive notions into our children instead of negative notions that rely heavily on not acting like the opposing gender.
When we tell our children things that are stereotypical of their gender we ARE HARMING THEM. Frankly, it can be considered mental and emotional abuse dependent on the state of words used and frequency. Gender is the least important trait of our children. The way they proudly belt out the lyrics to the National Anthem, the determination in their eyes when they ride a bike for the first time, and the sweetness in their hearts as the tell you that they love you, far outweighs their anatomy and society's messed up stereotypes of how they should act. Boys can like pink, wear high heels, and mess around with their big sister's Barbie doll. Little girls can like blue, wear football jerseys, and play in the mud with Tonka toys. Our children will have plenty of time to be adults, and do adult things, and take on adult responsibilities. So, while they are young let's embrace their innocence, and let them be kids.
So the next time your daughter does something masculine, don't discourage her behavior. If your son gets emotional during a movie, don't shame him for showing his feelings. Because boy, girl, transgender, or binary, our children are more than their gender. Our children are our heart and our children are our future leaders of tomorrow.