Sunday, 16 August 2015

Like A Girl

I teach my girls that they can do anything. They can be whoever they want to be. They can live their lives as they want to live them; their gender does not define them.

And yet, all around we are all subjected and even socialised to believe that girls are somehow the weaker sex.

When someone "runs like a girl", when someone is called "a big girl."

When we teach our boys not to hit girls, are we not instantly dismissing our girls as weak? Shouldn't the message be not to hit anyone at all?

When we tell someone to "grow a pair" or to "man up" we are inferring weakness of women.

I wear trousers quite a lot, and yet I don't see many men wearing skirts. Would they feel silly? Why would they feel silly - is it silly to be a girl?

What about all of the insults specifically reserved for women? Slag, bitch, tart. You know them all already I don't need to write them here. Are any of these words reserved for males? No. Why do we hate women so much? Why do we reduce them to weak at every step and put them down?

I'm bringing my girls up to believe themselves equal to boys. And yet all around social pressures, norms, toys, books, people - they tell us otherwise.

We are not the weaker sex. We don't need doors holding or anything carrying. We don't need men to protect us. We are strong on our own and can make our own decisions. For far too long we have been held down. From a very early age we are taught that we are fragile. I believe it is my job as a mother to raise strong, independent, confident children. I hope they have "ideas above their station" I hope they bite off more than they think they can chew and I hope they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men and know that they are the same and that nothing can hold them back from whatever they want to achieve.



  1. All true. Society is changing I think; it's just a bit like turning an oil tanker around, takes forever. I sincerely hope neither of my girls ever thinks they are 'less' than a man. Different, but not less. Great post!

  2. Fabulous post. I think you're doing absolutely the right thing by fighting against the common stereotypes of weak, silly women. It shocks me that in this day and age we are still fighting for true equality.

  3. This is exactly right. In many ways, masculinity is defined as not being feminine, and femininity is often thought of as being weak, as being silly. Men stopped wearing skirts and other flamboyant clothing of any type after the Enlightenment claimed that men were serious and sober people while women were frivolous and emotional, though the idea that men needed to avoid hints of femininity goes back a long way. These ideas hurt not just women but also men. It makes men feel they need to put on a strong front and when they don't measure up, it leads them to feel bad about themselves. Society needs to re-think what it is to be a woman - and also what it means to be a man, and maybe see that we have far more in common than we have conditioned ourselves to think.


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