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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, Pink is Powerful

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Pink is for Girls?, Society Says | 2 comments

Dear Daughters, Who would think that a single color could have such influence over people?  Although simply a toned down red, pink is arguably the most powerful color in the world. A simple pink ribbon symbolizes the fight to stop breast cancer. Pink t-shirt clad students symbolize the stance against bullying. Pink is said to be the color of love.  Pink skies are said to warn sailors of upcoming weather… “pink skies at night, sailor’s delight. Pink skies in the morning, sailors take warning.” Most recently, pink is the color of choice for...

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Dear Daughters, Empowering Girls Can Change the World!

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Education, Movements/Organizations, Past and Present, Women's Rights Movement | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, As you know, October 11 is the International Day of the Girl! Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl Movement has made this video to help people spread the word. On October 11 we can give girls a voice because empowering girls can change the world!   Share this:Share on...

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Dear Daughters, Women’s Hockey Has Come A Long Way!

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Hockey/Ringette, Women in Sport | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Women’s hockey is growing faster than I could ever have imagined in the Halifax metro area. When I first started playing in Cole Harbour, back in the mid 80s, there were only 4 other girls my age who played. There were no all-girls teams in the area and there were certainly no junior high, high school, or University women’s teams for me to look forward to playing on. In fact, by the time I was ready to enter the Bantam level for the 1988-1989 season, which is when body contact began back then, the girls were told...

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Dear Daughters, The Dress Advantages

Posted by on Sep 22, 2012 in Clothing | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I surveyed a small amount of women to find out why they did or did not enjoy wearing dresses. The advantages and disadvantages they listed were ones I had previously considered but what surprised me most was that the reasons the women chose to wear dresses had all to do with comfort and practicality. How beautiful dresses made them look was merely a bonus.   Advantages to wearing a dress – they keep you cool on really hot days – they are so easy! No matching pants to tops. One piece of material covers all....

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Dear Daughters, Here’s The Deal About Dresses

Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Clothing, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, We are all born naked. Medical personnel use this fact to their advantage, quickly glimpsing between our legs immediately upon our emergence into the world in order to declare our gender to everyone in the room. Even though we do not even remember being naked, this is the last time everyone in any given room will be totally accepting of our lack of clothing. From that moment on, we will be expected to cover ourselves. This is when clothes begin to be used by many as a means of identifying the gender of a person. Those that do...

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Women’s Olympic Soccer proves that investment in women’s sports is worth it!

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Olympics, Soccer/Football, Women in Sport | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, As someone who has played sports since she was five or six, I have experienced my fair share of the inequalities between men and women’s sports. Take some major moments of my hockey experiences for example. After having played competitive hockey at the PeeWee level in a league mostly played by boys (there were just two girls on my team), the other handful of girls also playing in the league and I were informed that we were permitted to play at the next level – Bantam – but not at the competitive level. We had...

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Dear Daughters, The First International Day of the Girl is Here!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in Education, Movements/Organizations, Women's Rights Movement | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I am so happy to tell you that The United Nations has declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. It is less than a month, 23 days to be more exact, until the first ever International Day of the Girl. Check out the countdown on the Because I am A Girl webpage. They have the countdown down to the second! Now that is exact! Because I am a Girl is a Plan Canada initiative that helped lead the successful campaign, which began in September of 2009, to have the United Nations declare October 11 as the...

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Dear Daughters, Women Made History at London 2012 Olympic Games

Posted by on Sep 16, 2012 in Olympics, Women in Sport | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, For the first time in Olympic history, all nations of the National Olympic committee sent female athletes to compete in the games! In the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, 35 nations did not send female athletes to compete. Since that time there has been a decrease in the number of nations excluding women from Olympic competition – 26 all-male teams competed in Atlanta 1996, 10 in Sydney 2000, four or five in Athens 2004, and three in Beijing 2008. While women in Canada and other western countries have long been enjoying...

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Tomboy

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in Daily Doses, Wordy Wednesday | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Even though I am a firm believer that we should not be limited by gender roles, they are so entrenched in our society that I find myself falling into the “this is for girls and this is for boys trap” quite often. When I am shopping for you, my daughters, I am much more attracted to the Strawberry Shortcake dolls than the Transformers, for instance. Sometimes I personally feel like less of a woman because I do not wear dresses (only on very rare occasions) or wear makeup (sometimes I do for no reason) and because I...

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Dear Daughters, Gender Is Biological. Don’t Let it Determine What You Can or Cannot Do!

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in Daily Doses, Wordy Wednesday | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, For most, the word tomboy likely conjures up images of girls participating in activities and wearing clothes that were traditionally associated with boys. In Western culture, with more and more girls trading in their dresses and skirts for pants, the term tomboy is more commonly used to describe a girl’s behaviour, as opposed to appearance. Tomboys are often assumed to be lesbians, or of wanting to be boys. Being a tomboy is not a true indicator of one’s sexual orientation, despite the fact that some tomboys do...

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