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Posts Tagged ‘Girl’

How Dads help raise brave women

In aging, behavior, children, culture, domestic life, family, life, love, men, news, parenting, women on March 27, 2012 at 12:55 am
Sexism is a crime against humanity!

Sexism is a crime against humanity! (Photo credit: ЯAFIK ♋ BERLIN)

Loved this recent piece in Time magazine, written by two men, fathers of two daughters:

 The need for fathers to help empower daughters is clear, since we still live in a world where some powerful men throw sexual slurs at adult women and girls are being sexualized and objectified at a younger and younger age. As dads of a combined 4 daughters (ranging in age from 1 to 21,) these recent events have made us pause and reflect on how to best encourage our daughters to combat these tendencies in our society.

But how do we do this as fathers? One of the most important ways is to break down the old stereotypes that men are rational and logical while women are emotional. We can free our daughters from the burden of that myth by expressing our own feelings and by respecting the intelligence, decisions, and leadership abilities of women. When they see us opening up and talking, they learn to do the same and to not remain silent when something doesn’t feel right. A father’s influence can help a girl find her own strong voice. We also need to listen to our daughters more instead of trying to always impart a lesson. Listening paves the way for girls to discover what they want to say and the inner strength to say it.

The other big thing dads can do is treat women the way we would want a partner to treat our daughters. We wish that it went without saying that daughters need their fathers to reject treating women as objects through sexist jokes, stares and comments on the street, and pornography….

The need for fathers to help empower daughters is clear, since we still live in a world where some powerful men throw sexual slurs at adult women and girls are being sexualized and objectified at a younger and younger age. As dads of a combined 4 daughters (ranging in age from 1 to 21,) these recent events have made us pause and reflect on how to best encourage our daughters to combat these tendencies in our society.

It’s a hopeless task — and completely unfair — to ask only girls and women to defend themselves from the culturally toxic stew in which they’re raised.

Especially in the United States, where being thin/pretty/blond/materialist/popular/wealthy/famous is held up as the ultimate goal. And when legislators are ruthlessly determined to strip women of every possible reproductive right, whether access to abortion, birth control or a safe, private pregnancy; 39 states (!) have recently passed or are considering passing such laws.

It is a really lousy time to be female in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, as “America the Beautiful” so romantically opines. If there was ever a time for young women to be reminded how much their voices matter to their political and economic future, that time is now.

A seminal study was done in the 1970s of women who later went on to significant success in the corporate world. The key? Their Dads played sports with them when they were teenagers.

Seems pretty simple, but as someone who also had this experience, it’s not.

When your father very clearly values your company and you’re a young woman, he is teaching you an important lesson. His focus on your brain and your heart, your character — not just your perky figure — teaches you that these matter.

When you spend a day together skating or skiing or hiking or fishing, you learn to share skills and enjoyment with a man who’s enjoying your company, not your sexual allure.

When he consistently values your intelligence, competitiveness, physical strength, agility and stamina — just some of the attributes needed for most sports — you’re more likely to emerge from the potential hell of female adolescence, if you’re lucky, with a solid base of self-confidence.

What greater gift can a Dad can give you?

If you’re a father, how did you help your daughter(s) become self-confident?

If your Dad did a terrific job — (or a poor one) — of helping you feel great about yourself, how does that play out for you today?

Am I pretty? Really? You sure?

In aging, beauty, children, culture, domestic life, family, Fashion, news, parenting, women on March 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm
Girls

Girls (Photo credit: Jungle_Boy)

I want to move to another planet, preferably one about 12,000,000,000,000 light-years away from this one — where all people do is focus on women’s appearance.

Rant alert.

I sincerely, truthfully, non-provocatively do not understand this utter obsession with the skin/breasts/hips/hair/legs/waists/lips of girls and women and why it matters a damn to anyone beyond their physicians, whose job it is to help us stay healthy. Yes, I am fully aware of the media, cultural pressure, blablablablabla.

Do we not — ladies? — have our own minds?

Here’s a recent piece from Time on the sad, sorry, miserable trend of teen girls staring into their webcams and begging total strangers to tell them they are physically appealing.

This makes me want to throw furniture.

It makes me want to grab every one of these girls and ask: “Seriously?”

It makes me want to ask their parents what the hell is happening in their home that their young girl-child is so desperate for 1) attention; 2) validation; 3) validation from total strangers; 4) has no idea that predators love this stuff.

I grew up with bad skin into my mid-20s, rarely wearing make-up because I didn’t want to attract attention to my looks. I was thin and pretty enough to have tons of college boyfriends.

But I never — thank God for the 1970s, when I came of age and Ms. magazine was flourishing — spent a ton of energy freaking out all the time over my looks. I was smart, educated, confident and talented and knew that was what I really needed to get going professionally.

Yes, being pretty helps. I get that.

But pretty-and-shallow, pretty-but-stupid, pretty-and-mean, pretty-and-lazy — won’t get you too far.

Our skin will mottle and wrinkle, Botox and surgery be damned. Our breasts will change shape, size and altitude. (Sherpas no longer necessary!) Our bones may become more brittle, our gait a little slower.

But our hearts, minds, intelligence and courage need never flag.

There is no woman uglier — on my perfect planet — than one lacking compassion.

Are you as appalled by this insanity as I am?

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