I can bleed for five straight days and not die; I can also make people. What are your superpowers?
I love being a girl. Honestly, it’s been a pretty awesome gig. Free drinks, dinners, and shows; wearing kick-ass shoes and short skirts. Well, not anymore but I still remember when! One of the unexpected joys of having a daughter is it allows me to examine my experiences as a girl as I help her understand how she will make her mark on the world.
Recently, I was thinking about how women have impacted society and how much it has changed in my lifetime. For centuries, we have gotten the short end of the stick. We are covered and clothed and, in some parts of the world, mutilated. Even now, any overt expression of sexuality is sneered at and labeled. We are still marginalized. We are still victimized. We still don’t have equal pay for equal work. We still bear the biggest burden of domestic chores even in two income families. Certainly, it’s gotten better but there is a lot of disparity and hostility.
There is no doubt that girls have way more opportunities for advancement in both academics and sports than they did in the past and we (as a group) have made tremendous impact in just about every field we’ve entered. When I was growing up, I believed that women who do exceptional things were rare. I also believed that in order for a woman to be noteworthy, she had to have risen above her inherent girlness to embrace greatness; that exceptional women were somehow different from other woman. Honestly, I’m a little ashamed to admit it.
I remember the women that stood out to me as a child: Eleanor Roosevelt, Clara Barton, Rosa Parks, Betsy Ross. That was it. Four. That was the sum total of the exceptional women that I remember from childhood. Apart from being examples of exceptional women the only other thing they had in common, they were all dead.
I recognize now that obstacles and other more complex reasons prevented more women from realizing their potential. What shocked me was that I still harbored the thought that women had to overcome their girlness in order to be exceptional. I’m still kind of annoyed at myself for letting that fester in my brain for all these years. I believe that our girlness is our greatest strength and I hate that it seems to be settled that women need to be more like men in order to run with the big dogs. I think the whole world would be better off if we embraced the feminine. It’s an incredible viewpoint and an important one; one that we need to stop squashing to fit in a patriarchal world.
Dudes, don’t go all getting your back up, this is not a male-bashing blog. This is about ownership of self and me, finally, at long last figuring some stuff out. So, squash it. This ain’t the place for your pity party so move it along, k. Thanks.
This is about me realizing that the beauty of being a girl is that we are exceptional because we are girls.
We raise the bar.
We raise the standard.
We raise the future.
This is a work in progress and it is not the sum total of my thoughts on feminism or being a girl. This is about me starting a conversation with myself and hopefully, getting an assist from some of my friends – male and female. I expect that my thoughts will continue to expand and shift as I continue being a girl.