The 'F' Word
“Girls aren’t as good as boys at lots of things.” –Annabelle Age 5
That’s a direct quote from my daughter. A quote I would like any anti-feminist, “Oh I’m not a Feminist” sort of women and men out there to digest for a moment.
This little girl, my daughter has grown up in a house where Mom and Dad participate equally in child rearing, where both Mom and Dad have University degrees, professional jobs, argue politics, religion, and speak about current events at the supper table. We are comfortably middle class, in Canada, where we tote that there is true equality between the sexes.
Yet, my daughter, despite how we’ve raised her, has learned from society that girls are not as good as boys at ‘lots of things’. She thinks she can't run as fast, throw as hard, or play sports better than a boy.
Now, save me from the stats.. I know that statistically men are stronger than women, and they are able to do physical tasks more easily. That isn't up for debate.
It's the general notion that my 5 year old has picked up from TV, school and the playground that girls just aren't as good at life than boys, that has made me both sad, and angry.
So what were you saying, those who argue that Feminism has no place in today’s world of equalizing, affirmative-action policies?
Because, guess what, this is not just happening in my house. It’s certainly not just my daughter. And I’m certainly not the first woman to start pushing back on this argument that Feminism is an ugly world, that is somehow denotes angry, hostile, men-hating women who are pushing a hidden agenda.
In fact, Always recently did a commercial that went viral very quickly. It’s called “Run Like A Girl”. You can watch it here:
And it was the simple question they ask at the end stopped me in my tracks.
“When did doing something like a girl become an insult?”
It made me aware in a way I had never been before. Call it being the mother to a beautiful little girl, or maybe just a ‘girl’ coming into her own, but suddenly I started questioning how the world was portrayed to a little girl.
Like, why did I browse through the card section and come upon a card that said, “Birthday Girl, You Can Be ANYTHING You Want To Be!!” ? Because I’ll let you in on a little secret, little girls don’t think there is ANYTHING they can’t do. Until society starts patronizing them and assuring them that, “Yes siree.. even YOU could be Prime Minister some day!!”. Well, why not them? Unless there is an underlying notion in the majority of society’s psyche that thinks it’s not as easy for girls as it is for boys.
Feminism, as defined by Google, is “the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”
It means that anyone who is a Feminist simply wants the same opportunities given to women that are given to men.
So I would hope that my dad is a feminist, and my husband is, and I will certainly be raising not only my daughter, but my two little boys as feminists as well.
Until there is a day when little girls aren't taught by osmosis that 'girls are less than', well I won't relinquish the argument that feminism is NEEDED still, in 2014.
My name is Brittany. I love my police-officer husband, my hockey playing boys, I love the color pink, I love anything glittery, I love horses and pop music, I love my beautifully clever and creative daughter, and I am a feminist.
And look, so is Beyonce!
I hope you'll join us, too.