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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls


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 love hockey. Society tells me that girls wear dresses and makeup and that hockey is for boys. If that is true, then what is wrong with me? The answer is absolutely NOTHING!

I have had several people tell me that even though I don’t like to wear dresses, I should at least own one. Why do I have to own a dress? I would love to hear their reasoning. Even though I may never wear it, do I need to own one just because I am a girl? I have worn dresses on special occasions and and most of the time people do not even recognize me. I performed in my elementary school band concert and everyone I talked to that was in attendance had no idea I had performed because I was wearing a dress and they did not recognize me. That’s because the Terynn they know does not wear dresses. I only wore one to “look nice”, which according to society means a dress for girls. Think red carpet at the Academy Awards, wedding gowns, prom…you get the picture.

I do not want to be a boy but I often wish I could dress like one and not have society scoff at me. But see, there I go again…dress like a boy. Why is there even such a term? What does a boy dress like? Pants and a shirt? Who says those are boy clothes? Is there some biological advantage to distinct “boy” clothes and “girl” clothes? I plan to explore the history of dress and find out when and why dresses became a girl thing and trousers a boy thing.

Growing up, I even labelled myself as a tomboy. According to the definition, my activities and interests would have made me one. It seems that society needs a “label” for everything and since I did not fit the typical mold for a girl and I certainly wasn’t a boy, I had to be a tomboy. Didn’t I? But by labeling myself as one, wasn’t I just playing in to the gender stereotypes defined by a patriarchal society? In essence wasn’t I saying that yes, girls aren’t supposed to play sports and those that do are acting in a masculine manner and therefore must be labelled with a term that acknowledges that fact? I think I was and I regret doing so.

I take it back. Someone who plays sports is an athlete. I am an athlete. It should be that simple.



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