It was recently brought to my attention that some people think that women or “girls” are less credible than their male counterparts. Wait . . . did I say recently? That wasn’t true at all. I’ve lived with the knowledge for a very long time that society often discredits or undercuts women and girls starting with the ages of 11 or 12 and continuing through to adulthood.
There are certain things that girls should do, like, say, and be and certain things they should not. My mother as a doctor was pegged as being “emotional” when she was passionate about the health of her children and patients and had research and evidence to prove her position. I as a young professional woman am often not taken seriously at first; I am often interrupted or not addressed directly. Traditional male roles, when filled by a woman, create unease and society becomes discontent with this broken boundary.
Yes, I believe it is true that men and women have different and unique strengths – but isn’t it just as true to say that people have different and unique strengths from other people? When did we decide it was ok to attack the female population during their formative years? Puberty is a difficult time for anyone where the person is building the foundation for who they will become and what life path they will follow. It is also a time where any deviation from cultural expectations is harshly punished and youth are told they must stand out, but they have to stand out within a certain set of guidelines so as to maintain the greater balance.
Really, this whole issue of “like a girl” isn’t just about critically looking at our own stereotypes and how we develop those greater ideas about what is normal and what is not. It is about celebrating each person as an individual and exploring what they are capable of. There is an awesome campaign out there that does just that. This short 3 min video does a fantastic job of explaining what this post is all about. What messages has the culture you live in pushed onto you? What boundaries are you trying to break and reshape? How are you living up to your full potential and celebrating your own abilities? Admittedly this has been a little bit of a rant, but I am too invested in my family and community to let negative phrases be thrown around so mindlessly.
Have you ever been put down with the phrase “like a girl”? Please share your experience with us! 1
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