Lately, H (9 year old girl twin) has been struggling with what it means to be a girl. Traditional gender roles don’t appeal to her. She doesn’t like pink. She rarely wears dresses. She loves to skateboard and she has the trendiest short hair cut that’s ever graced a 9 year old’s head. She could easily be a Jolie-Pitt.
Her short hair causes people (mainly elementary and middle school boys) to mistake her for a boy sometimes.
I asked her if it bothered her when they called her a boy. She said, “not really, it just makes me uncomfortable. Cause I really am a girl, Lizzie.” My heart almost broke. This precious girl is starting to find out what it means to be pressured by the world. And that it’s a tough hill to climb. How dare the world start in so early. She’s only 9 years old, for Pete’s sake!!
I told her that these kinds of things happen to everyone. Even me. I told her that plenty of people think girls don’t like Star Wars and superheroes and ninja turtles. I told her some people think that I should be married with kids by now. That maybe I should have a “steady” job and a 401K. But I walk to my own beat and so does H.
I don’t know if that helped her at all. I sort of hope she comes into her own in the not-giving-a-damn-about-what-people-think department. It’s so much better than way!
The other day when we were skateboarding home from school, she took a tumble and as she got back on her skateboard she looked up at me and said, “I fell off cause girls aren’t as good at skateboarding.” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me? Girls aren’t what now??” She laughed and said, “I take it back! I take it back!!”
She knew it wasn’t true, but it was still her first instinct. To write it off. Classic “girls can’t” syndrome. I thought this wouldn’t come till much later, but I guess the self doubt is starting earlier and earlier in kids these days. (Kids these days? I’m officially 500 years old!!)
I don’t want this for her and she’s not even my own child. I want whatever she does to be what it means to be a girl. I want the same for boys. I want her to be able to have the freedom that America offers. Doesn’t that extend to our youth?
Who made these archaic rules anyways? Who decided that long, Disney-channel length hair and a love for all things pink made you a girl? I thought all you needed to be a girl was the mechanics. Time to change it up, America…WORLD! I think we’re on our way, but we still have quite a ways to go.
Tell me again what girls “can’t”do??!!
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