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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

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

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 you to societal labels and expectations – this is what Dear Daughters is all about! I have tried to let you be who you want to be, regardless of how society thinks girls should “act” and “be” and what they should “do”. So far it does not seem you feel restricted by societal norms and I am very happy about that. The alarming part of our discussion is that you are using a label so damaging to girls. On our way to the van, you all started rating the “girly girlness” of each member of our family. People who know me can imagine how pleased I was to hear these words coming from your mouths.

I was not upset with you, however, and after my initial shock, I wasn’t surprised at all. These are the words thrown around so easily in our society. The most common measures for girls is either “girly girl” or “tomboy” and society seems to try to peg girls as one or the other. The good news during our discussion is that you did not use the word tomboy. I am hoping you never will.

Here is how it all began…

On our way to the van youngest dear daughter decided to sit on a rock outside the school and pose. She yelled, “Mommy, take a picture of me” and crossed her legs, clasped her hands in her lap and tilted her head to one side. This is when middle dear daughter stated, “She is the girliest girl in our family.” And this is when the discussion began. Here is all that was discussed:

-According to middle dear daughter I am the least girly girl in our whole family because I am more cool than pretty. Eldest and youngest dear daughters added that I do not like dresses.

-According to middle and eldest dear daughters, youngest dear daughter is indeed the girliest girl in the family because she is the “fanciest” of us all, she likes dresses and make up and the way she poses (see below) makes her more girly than all of us

Dear Daughter posing

Youngest dear daughter posing

-According to youngest dear daughter she is indeed the girliest girl because “I like fanciness”

-According to middle dear daughter she is the second girliest girl in the family because although she loves dresses and make up and fancy things, she falls in the rankings simply because she is “very crazy and really gross” and she “plays in the mud”. Believe me though, youngest dear daughter and middle dear daughter play in the mud equally as much.

Too crazy to be a girly girl

Too crazy to be a girly girl

-According to eldest dear daughter, she is not a girly girl because she likes to get dirty and she likes to read and she “likes to do things that girly girls really don’t like to do”. She clarified by saying that girly girls don’t play sports because they do not like to get dirty or sweaty.

Reading

Eldest dear daughter reading

– Middle dear daughter stated that girly girls walk a certain way and then proceeded to put her hand on her hips, straighten her other arm to the floor and swing her hips from side to side (see below)

The Girly Girl walk

Middle dear daughter demonstrating the “girly girl” walk

– All dear daughters decided that youngest dear daughter, although the girliest girl in the family, is not a “full girly girl”, she is only “half a girly girl” because she doesn’t mind jumping in puddles and getting dirty.

– When discussing my fiancee dear daughters decided that although she enjoys makeup and fancy things, she cannot be a girly girl because she is a daredevil.

In the end dear daughters decided that non-girly girls get to do more things because they are not afraid to get dirty and sweaty so eldest and middle dear daughters definitely want to be non-girly girls but youngest dear daughter was torn – she wants to be both. Now it is my job to make it clear to her that she can be.

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