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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
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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, We are extremely lucky for our education

Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Education, Movements/Organizations | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, One of the many ways in which we are extremely fortunate is our access to education. Sadly, many people in the world, mostly girls, do not have access to a quality education or even worse, have no access to any education at all. Even in places where girls have access, many are denied their right to an education based on traditional gender roles, religious beliefs and/or economic difficulties. In many of the developing nations, education is not free as it is here in Canada. Families that must choose which children to send to...

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Dear Daughters, Stacey MacKay is a member of the Cole Harbour High Cavaliers football team!

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Soccer/Football, Women in Sport | 3 comments

Dear Daughters, You probably remember Stacey MacKay as assistant coach to youngest dear daughter’s soccer team this summer. With soccer over, you will now find her on the same field but in a different role. She is currently a member of the Cole Harbour High School Cavaliers football team – the first female athlete to ever play football for the Cavaliers! She recently answered some questions we had for her and here is what she said: NAME:  Stacey MacKay GRADE: Eleven POSITION IN FOOTBALL: Defensive Back Corner FOOTBALL JERSEY...

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Dear Daughters, Halloween is fast approaching…I wonder what Halloween costumes people will wear

Posted by on Oct 6, 2012 in Holidays | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, With Halloween approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about Halloween costumes. When I asked you what Halloween costumes you think people will choose to wear this year, this is what you said: pumpkins televisions (someone at your school dressed up as one) tornadoes (someone at your school dressed up as one and won for most original costume) wolves werewolves ghosts Frankenstein Monster High Batman I then asked you if there were any Halloween costumes you could think of that girls couldn’t or...

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Dear Daughters, Jennifer Livingston doesn’t let one person’s hurtful words define her!

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Entertainment, Movies/Television, Sexualization of Women, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Jennifer Livingston is a television anchorwoman in Wisconsin and the mother of three daughters. On Friday, September 28, 2012 she received an email from a man who admits he rarely watches her show. There has been much discussion about the insulting email and on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, Jennifer responded to it. According to the video clip of her reponse, the subject line of the much-talked about email is “Community Responsibility” and the body of the message states: “Hi Jennifer, It’s unusual that I...

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Dear Daughters, Your votes are in on “Girly Girl”

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Daily Doses, Sexualization of Women, Wordy Wednesday | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Our impromptu after school discussion on “girly girls” was very enlightening. It proved to me how strong stereotypes and labels are in our society and how easily these labels and ideals become part of how we identify each other and ourselves. Labels can be very restricting. Our discussion has only strengthened my vision for Dear Daughters and confirmed for me that Dear Daughters has important messages people need to hear and think about. Our discussion was alarming to me since I pride myself in trying not to limit...

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Dear Daughters, IKEA regrets marketing decision but the damage is done

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Marketing, Other, Past and Present, Women's Rights Movement | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, IKEA, a well-known Swedish home furnishings company, removed women from its ads in the Saudi Arabian version of its catalogue – a move it now says it regrets. When comparing the Swedish version of the catalogue to the Saudi Arabian version, the pictures are identical – minus the women. In a bathroom scence in the Swedish version there is a woman, a man and two young children. In the Saudi version there are simply the man and two young children. In the Swedish ad for bookshelves/storage units there are two women...

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Dear Daughters, It is hard to believe women are still denied access to education in the year 2012!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2012 in Education, Past and Present, Women's Rights Movement | 2 comments

Dear Daughters, It is very hard for me to comprehend that there was ever a time in history where girls were not allowed to go to school simply because they were girls. It is almost impossible for me to comprehend that in the year 2012, there are still places where girls are not allowed to go to school simply because they are girls! Could you imagine if you were not allowed to go to school? Today I read a Reuters article written by Yeganeh Torbati on September 22, 2012 entitled  Lift restrictions on women’s education, rights group tells...

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Dear Daughters, Meet Princess Boy!

Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 in Hypermasculinization, Pink is for Girls?, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Dyson Kilodavis is a young boy who loves the colors pink and red and loves to wear dresses. Since pink and red are simply colors and a dress is an article of clothing, there should be no problem right? Wrong. Our society deems both the color pink and dresses “girl” things. Our society is very uncomfortable with people who do not conform to social “norms” and is especially uncomfortable with boys who like anything “girl”. Knowing this, Dyson’s mom, Cheryl Kilodavis, was worried her son...

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Dear Daughters, we will finally have equal access to prime time ice hours for hockey and ringette!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2012 in Hockey/Ringette, Women in Sport | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, The above graph was taken from a presentation given at the Long Term Arena Strategy (LTAS) Regular Steering Committee Meeting held on February 17, 2011. It charts the access available to male athletes versus female athletes to prime time ice available in rinks located in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Prime time ice hours are defined as: Prime time is defined as 6:00PM to 10:00PM Monday to Friday and 8:00AM to 10:00PM Saturday and Sunday. The rinks included in this graph are: The Metro Centre (MC) Spryfield Lions...

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Dear Daughters, This is how Pink Became the Color of Anti-Bullying

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Movements/Organizations, Pink is for Girls?, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Could you imagine being bullied simply because you wore a yellow shirt to school? How about for wearing a purple shirt? A brown one? A pink one? As you know, this is what happened to a grade 9 student in a Nova Scotia school. On the first day of school in 2007 he wore a pink polo shirt. For that, he became the target of harassment and threats of physical harm. What was so bad about him wearing a pink shirt? It seems that in our society, some people are offended when boys wear pink, most likely because they consider wearing it...

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