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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, Society Has Us Well Trained

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Entertainment, Marketing, Movies/Television, Society Says, Toys/Literature | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, So yesterday Heidi and I were discussing birthday parties and something in the conversation prompted me to say, “You know if I had twins I would still throw them separate birthday parties.” There was more conversation and then Heidi said, “I know you would. Like say one had a Buzz Lightyear theme and one had a My Little Pony theme – if they were a boy and a girl – you would have two separate parties but I think you would still have them both on the same day.” Her brain realized what she had...

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Dear Daughters, “Be A Man” Causes Hypermasculine Society

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Hypermasculinization, Movements/Organizations, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I want to share with you and our readers the official trailer for The Representation Project’s film entitled, The Mask You Live In. As I always stress to you, I want our readers to know that we are not anti-men or anti-boys and we do not think that boys and men have no troubles in our society. We recognize that the hypermasculization of men/boys in our society is a huge problem. From a young age boys are taught to “act like a man”, “be a man”, “man up”, “grow a set”, etc....

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Dear Daughters, A Short Video Demonstrating How Media Fails Women

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Marketing, Sexualization of Women, Society Says | 0 comments

Jean Kilbourne, who popularized the study of gender representation in the media has produced award winning films called Killing Me Softly. The video you are about to watch is a preview for Killing Me Softly 4. In this preview she delivers some very powerful messages that will get you thinking. She says that people ask her all the time if things have gotten better since she has been talking about this for 40 years. Sadly she says, “really they’ve gotten worse”. She explains that “Ads sell more than products. They sell...

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Dear Daughters, Today is The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Past and Present, Rape Culture, Sexualization of Women | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, I was only 15 years old on December 6, 1989 when Marc Lépine gunned down 28 people (20 of them women) at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 14 women were killed: Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering...

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Dear Daughters, I Love The Representation Project (formerly Miss Representation.org)

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Marketing, Movements/Organizations, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, The Representation Project is a prime example of the changes we can make by working together and speaking out against what we know is wrong. Who would have thought it possible to change the advertising methods of a company like GoDaddy who insist on using sex to sell their product? Thanks to The Representation Project and their Twitter campaign #NotBuyingIt, GoDaddy, Disney, Harrods and Amazon are just some of the major companies who have rethought their advertising decisions. Just last month GoDaddy announced that during this...

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Dear Daughters, A 9 Year Old is Introduced to Photoshop

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Entertainment, Food/Beverages, Hypermasculinization, Marketing, Movies/Television, Sexualization of Women, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, This past Saturday you, middle dear daughter, were unwillingly introduced to Photoshop and I want to share your experience with our readers. We were enjoying a meal on the go at Subway. I had ordered a meal with a soft drink which came in a cup advertising the new movie, Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games franchise. Featured on this cup were the characters Peeta and Joanna. Middle dear daughter took one look at the picture of Peeta and asked me, “Why do they only let people without pimples, freckles or...

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Dear Daughters, Awaiting McDonald’s Response to Our Letter

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Food/Beverages, Marketing, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, If you believe something needs to change, you should try to change it. Everyone has a voice. Sometimes you have to scream to be heard and sometimes all you have to do is speak up. None of us like that McDonald’s asks you if you would like a “boy” toy or a “girl” toy with your Happy Meals so we wrote about it here on Dear Daughters with Dear Daughters, I’m Tired of Being Asked “Is that for a boy or a girl?: When it Comes to Happy Meal Toys and Dear Daughters, We Can Stop...

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Dear Daughters, He Will Play With Dolls Until Society Tells Him Boys Don’t Do That

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Hypermasculinization, Marketing, Pink is for Girls?, Society Says, Toys/Literature | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, Yesterday, at your cousin’s 2nd birthday party, we watched her older (3 and a half year old) brother play with one of her new birthday gifts – a Rapunzel doll, with beautiful golden hair. Your boy cousin played with that doll from the time she emerged from her packaging until bedtime. One time, the doll got out of his sight and he made sure to ask, “Where is the doll?” until she was safe and sound again with him. Of course I absolutely loved seeing him being able to enjoy a toy he was clearly interested...

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Dear Daughters, She Actually Told Her Son “Those Are Girl Colours”

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Marketing, Other, Pink is for Girls?, Society Says | 0 comments

Dear Daughters, While shopping this weekend (not one of my favourite activities at all, and this incident did not help make it better) I witnessed a mother refusing to let her son buy something because, and these are her words, “those are girl colours”. I could not believe what I was witnessing but the proof that this was actually happening in our society in 2013 was right in front of my eyes and ears. This child was anywhere from 8-11 years old. He wanted to buy some of those mini hair elastics that hold hair so well you...

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Dear Daughters, We Can Stop McDonald’s Genderizing of Toys!

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Food/Beverages, Marketing, Society Says, Toys/Literature | 1 comment

Dear Daughters, Seems the boy/girl stereotypes are very well entrenched in our society as you will see in this post and the following two entitled We will start with the “McDonald’s episode”. While ordering my own food at McDonald’s last week I heard a mother order a happy meal for her daughter as follows: “I would like a nugget meal with a chocolate milk, sweet n sour sauce, and a girl toy”. It rolled off her tongue as naturally and essentially as did the sauce and drink selection. I am missing some...

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