Dear Daughter

Syndicated

"You know spies; they're a bunch of bitchy little girls." -- Burn Notice

Dear Daughter:

You should know that you are hated. I'm not sure why they hate you. You didn't do anything to them. You don your princess crown, take up your sword, and pretend at Pokemon. You read your books and you learn how to draw comics and dragons and you play piano and practice kung fu. You delight in pretty dresses and weaponry. You love me when I nurture you as a mom, train with you as a warrior, and play video games and card games with you.

"You throw like a GIRL!" Obnoxious drunk asshole behind us at a Durham Bulls game (Apparently he threw 75mph)

There is nothing worse than being a girl. I'm not saying this as a former girl -- I quite liked being a girl. I'm saying this from the POV of the entire rest of the world. There was a lovely feminist TED talk -- A Call To Men -- where a man discussed his conversation with a twelve-year-old boy, and the boy said he would rather die than be called a girl. And the man thought, Good Lord, how do these boys view girls, if being compared to them is the worst thing in the world?

"What did Jesus do, when they put nails through his hands? Did he scream like a GIRL, or did he take it like a man?" -- The Book of Mormon (the musical, not the holy book), "Man Up"

I've seen boys cry when injured. Frustrated. Feelings hurt. Blocked out of play. Denied something. It's what kids do as they learn the world around them. The world is tough; before you learn to cope, you cry, whether you sport the penis or the fallopian tubes. It's fucking lesson #1 after you take your first breath. I cried. You did too.

So. The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to. Throw like a girl. Talk like a girl. Cry like a girl. God forbid we ever be girls. No, we wouldn't want to take utter delight in beauty and love. We wouldn't want to carefully watch and study something to learn. We wouldn't want to look at the world and for just one second think that we have as many opportunities as boys. That we can play sports. Play the drums or saxophone. Play video games. Excel at science/math. And for that second, before something or someone starts opening their shit-hole to put down little girls, we can fly.

So what can we do, dear daughter? When you get a little older, I will be honest with you and tell you--fuck 'em. You will not change their mind by arguing, by telling them they are wrong. You change their mind by showing them how being a girl is awesome. You show them by not hiding, by not being demure.

"I gotta say, you are the prettiest little girl I ever did see!"

"Thanks!" -- An older man and my daughter this weekend

"'Thanks'? You're awfully matter-of-fact about that. I guess when a boy tells you how pretty you are, you'll come home and be like, 'Oh MOM! He said I was PRETTY!'"

You show them by being more than your looks, even if that's all people comment on. You show them by your independence. You show them by being more than they expect to see. You show them by not taking their shit.

When I think of little girls, I think of you. I think of perfect math scores, a passion for science, a love of My Little Pony, swords, dressing up as Cleopatra, and having absolutely no shyness or fear. I think of someone with a sharp wit, and frightening skills with a stunt kite. I think of someone with determination -- even if you don't know it yet, I've seen it. Whatever you're determined to do, you manage to do it. I also think of someone who suffers confusion when kids make fun of her for liking "boy things" at school, but hearing that "girl things" are bad. You like them both. You like anything that interests you, the rest of the world be damned.

I hope someday I can fly a kite like a girl. And do kung fu like a girl. And draw like a girl. And you know what? I wish I could cry like a girl. You get it all out, and then you look for the next thing, bouncing back with amazing speed. You don't do like me, hold it inside as long as possible, letting it fester, bringing me down for days. You are not bitter.

So they hate you. But fuck 'em. Because you are a force of nature, a powerhouse of emotion and talent and stubbornness and potential.

You're worth a billion of them.

I'm Brave

Credit Image: Steven Depolo on Flickr

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