Our writer Molly wrote her post this week about her fear of raising a girl in a society that doesn’t exactly value women. Molly and her wife just found out that they will, in fact, be raising a daughter:
“I went in feeling totally fine about either sex, but the news we were having a girl hit me like a ton of bricks. Like she had been diagnosed with increased risk for everything bad, like sexual assault. All I could think about was the catcalling and not being able to walk alone at night and all of the bullshit girls and women constantly put up with. I’m a woman, so’s my wife. We both like it, we both deal with the B.S. that comes along.”
As a feminist myself who works on a daily basis to make our state a better place for women (and girls) I completely understand her fear. Each woman reading this has experienced some kind of sexism, harassment and/or oppression in their lives. We know, on a personal level, how being degraded or treated differently for being a woman feels. It feels like total shit. It feels infuriating. It feels unjust (because it is).
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Molly since she was in high school and peripherally watching her grow into the adult, and soon to be parent, she is now. Molly is an amazing advocate for women and the LGBTQ community. She is compassionate, fierce, driven and has a deep commitment to social justice. Her daughter, without a doubt, will have the confidence to face whatever adversity she encounters in our patriarchal society because Molly is one of her parents. I know this in my heart.
My daughter just turned five (cue the kindergarten anxiety – mine, not hers). Ever since she could understand I’ve tried to teach her about the importance of kindness, compassion and equality. We talk about how all colors are for everyone, all toys are for all kids and how girls and boys are equal and should be treated equally. We read books that reinforce this message and do random acts of kindness in our community.
When she says something out of the blue like, “Mama, a boy in my class told me that pink is for girls and blue is for boys and I told him NO! That’s not true! All colors are for everyone” or when she tells me that “moms and dads should be able to stay home with their new baby” (aka paid family leave), my heart basically explodes with love and pride. Yes, she is a girl born in a society that tries to tell her, from birth, what she should like, how she should think, what she should wear and who she can be when she grows up. But, she also has a parent who is actively giving her the skills to combat these messages and encourages her to just be herself, whatever that means to her.
So Molly, please don’t be afraid of having a daughter. You, and your wife, will give that girl the skills she will need to navigate a society in which sexism runs rampant. And we need more feminist activists now, more than ever. I feel better knowing that parents like you will be raising a daughter who will undoubtedly make a positive impact in this world. I, for one, am thrilled you’ll be raising a daughter who will hopefully be just like you — socially conscious and willing to challenge the patriarchy.