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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

About

About

Hey there! My name is Terynn and I am the proud 42-year-young mother of three dear daughters (born 2002, 2004 and 2006) who are the inspirations for this blog. We live in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. If our hometown sounds familiar you are likely a Sidney Crosby fan, a Trailer Park Boys fan or have heard of Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year-old girl whose tragic death has thrust victim-blaming into the spotlight.

Growing up playing sports and not being a lover of Barbies and dresses, I constantly experienced challenges simply because I was a girl. I felt pressured to act and look a certain way simply because I was a girl. I didn’t like it then and I certainly don’t like that these same challenges and pressures still exist for my daughters.

The defining moment…

In 2012 I found a book in my daughter’s backpack. The back cover was blue and the front cover had an illustration of a boy sailing on the ocean in rough waters. It was entitled Stories for Boys. When my daughter saw me with the book, she blushed and quickly placed it back into her backpack. She confided that she was embarrassed that the book she had chosen from the school library was “for boys”. That was a defining moment for me. Although we had had many discussions about the ludicrous societal expectations and rules based on gender, I knew then I had to make it abundantly clear that she had nothing to be ashamed of. Girls can read adventure stories.

This is when Dear Daughters was born!

What I Want Readers to Learn from Dear Daughters

I want to show that strong, confident, successful women have always and will continue to exist in all areas of life. I want to introduce the struggles (new and old) faced by women and how close (or how far) we are to eliminating gender bias in the world. I want everyone to remember that every woman is somebody’s daughter. I want to show that gender bias occurs on a daily basis, and often we are unaware it is happening.

What I Don’t Want Readers to Take Away from Dear Daughters

I do not want people thinking that this is a male-bashing, men-are-no good-and-we-don’t-need-them-at-all type of blog. It is quite the opposite really. The hypermasculinization of boys and men in our society plays a huge role in the gender bias towards girls and women. We need to fix the ridiculous societal expectations and rules we have in place for boys and men just as much as we do the ones for girls and women.

What challenges do girls and women face on a daily basis?

1. The sexualization of their bodies and the importance that is put on their appearance. Girls and women are viewed as objects and/or possessions, increasing the likelihood that they will become victims of sexual and/or physical abuse and then ridiculed and blamed for what happened to them (victim-blaming).

This Film Shows What it Would Be Like to be a Man if Today’s Roles Were Reversed
7 Super Bowl Commercials That Don’t Get It #NotBuyingIt
A Short Video Demonstrating How Media Fails Women

2. The tendencies of people to try to “protect” girls and to impose limitations in their lives. Girls and women are not encouraged to be active, competitive and/or aggressive. They are constantly stereotyped and encouraged to fulfill caring and nurturing roles.

I Cannot Believe My Ears…Isn’t It 2013
13-year-old Convinces Hasbro to Create A Gender Neutral Easy Bake Oven
Your Votes Are in on Girly Girl

3. Being second-class citizens. Being a girl or doing anything “like a girl” is a negative thing.

“Like A Girl” Shouldn’t Be a Bad Thing
Mythbusters Tests the “Throws Like a Girl” Insult

4. Inequalities – Less pay for the same work. Denied or limited access to education. Arranged marriages. The list goes on and on.

14-year-old Malala Yousafzaui Was Shot For Promoting Education For Girls
It is Hard to Believe Women are Still Denied Access To Education in the Year 2012

Where to find me

When I am not writing, I am coaching soccer and ringette, playing hockey and serving as chauffeur to my three dear daughters. You can follow Dear Daughters on Twitter @DearDaughters, me on Twitter @writerbychoice1 and Instagram @writerbychoice and Dear Daughters on Facebook at facebook.com/DearDaughters.

Dear Daughters, You wouldn’t have seen this 50 years ago!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Past and Present | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Happy first birthday to your youngest cousin who recently turned 1! We enjoyed a nice birthday celebration at her house, complete with a panda birthday cake that did not have a camera dropped on it the night before. For those of you who do not understand that comment please read the earlier post about middle dear daughter’s birthday cake. The cake was served on pink paper plates, despite the fact that there were male guests (progress), and we had our choice of pink or green [despite the fact that it was a girl’s...

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Dear Daughters, Survivor’s Abi Gomes not doing women any favors with her comment

Posted by on Nov 1, 2012 in Daily Doses, Entertainment, Movies/Television, Wordy Wednesday | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Survivor:Philippines contestant Abi-Maria Gomes, 32, does not do women any favors with her advice to fellow contestant, Sarah Dawson, a.k.a Dawson. During a challenge on the October 17, 2012 episode, where contestants from opposing tribes squared off one on one (the goal was to knock an object being balanced in one hand to the ground before yours is hit to the ground), Abi and Dawson competed. Dawson made a move that sent Abi’s object falling but in doing so, inadvertently lost control of hers. Dawson’s ended up...

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Dear Daughters, Happy Halloween!

Posted by on Oct 31, 2012 in Holidays, Marketing | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Halloween is here! Tonight we will roam the dark streets dressed as Harry Potter, two devils and a zombie hockey player. You will knock on doors, mutter the easy phrase “Trick-or-treat” and never be asked to perform one trick but instead be handed candy – lots and lots of candy – for FREE! All you have to do is dress up and show up. It is no wonder children love Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, adults take full advantage of a night where we can be anyone but ourselves. What mars the night for many...

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Dear Daughters, Ellen DeGeneres refuses to be spokesperson for Bic For Her pens

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Marketing, Other | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Ellen DeGeneres was asked to be the spokesperson for a new product launched by Bic – Bic For Her pens. Watch the video to learn more about the product and why Ellen DeGeneres said no way! The video transcription is provided below the video in this post. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player “So you know on my show what I like to do is I like to promote kindness and equal rights and I don’t like labels and I don’t see color – I’m like a cocker spaniel in that way –...

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Dear Daughters, Who says girls don’t like to play with guns?

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in Marketing, Society Says, Toys/Literature | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, When people think of themes for girls’ birthday parties, I am sure laser tag is not on their list. They obviously have never been to one of our parties. We have had many birthday party themes over the years that are not traditionally thought of as “girls'” parties. We have had a train theme, space theme, dinosaur theme, and most recently SpongeBob SquarePants and laser tag themes. Your birthday party themes are always based on your likes, not your gender, so I was  surprised by your request, eldest dear...

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Dear Daughters, Disney using new Minnie Mouse to reinforce unhealthy body image for girls

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Entertainment, Marketing, Movies/Television, Sexualization of Women, Society Says, Toys/Literature | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Today I received an email from Miss Representation (an award winning documentary exploring the misrepresentation of women in the media – I will write more on it later) regarding Disney’s newly designed Minnie Mouse that was created for Barney’s, a New York retailer, Christmas display. Except for the fact that she is a mouse, this Minnie Mouse is unrecognizable. She is stretched as thin as paper and painted with makeup on every inch of her face. There is an online petition you can sign in an attempt to get...

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Dear Daughters, Halloween costumes and t-shirt designs scream same societal expectations as toy stores

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Holidays, Marketing | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, On the same shopping expedition on which I was bombarded with messages from the toy store on what society expects from its male and female citizens, I did not get any relief in the clothing section or the seasonal section of a different store. In fact, I got the same messages loud and clear from t-shirts and Halloween costumes. Upon entering the clothing section I noted that once again there were two distinctive sections clearly indicating the t-shirts marketed towards boys and the t-shirts marketed towards girls. Once again...

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Dear Daughters, Toy stores scream societal expectations

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in Holidays, Hypermasculinization, Marketing, Sexualization of Women, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I have been very busy preparing for Halloween and your birthday parties and so, on Saturday I found myself shopping – one of my least favourite activities. As far as shopping goes, my trip was very successful. There are only a small number of items left to find and purchase. Surprisingly the most elusive items on my list were the yellow and white pipe cleaners needed to make SpongeBob SquarePant replicas at your, my middle dear daughter’s, birthday party. Have no fear. We will track down the bendable, furry sticks – SpongeBob...

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Dear Daughters, International Day of the Girl is here!

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Education, Movements/Organizations | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, The first ever International Day of the Girl is here with a focus on education. Malala Yousazfai is still recovering in hospital from the October 9 attack on her life. She was shot because she believes every girl should have a chance to go to school. And she is right. They should. Let’s continue the fight for Malala and for the millions of girls around the world who do not enjoy the education you, my dear daughters, are lucky enough to enjoy. 10x10act.org is realeasing a film about 10 remarkable girls from around the...

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Dear Daughters, 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot for promoting education for girls

Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Education, Notable Women | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I am outraged and saddened to hear of the assassination attempt of a 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck yesterday on her way home from school by the Taliban – an extremist group. Her crime – promoting the right of education for girls – which the Taliban strongly opposes. The Taliban promotes and imposes their values through extreme violence but despite this, young Malala did not let the threat of violence against her stop her from speaking her mind. According to...

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