Friday, January 2, 2015

Where The Spaz Ponders Gender Equality

I'm more critical of Munchkin - more so than the boys. I'm not sure why, but I think I expect more from her as a girl. Perhaps because I am a woman and I know what pressure society puts on women to be successful in all aspects of life so I put that on to her. Maybe that's the natural order of things. I find that with Munchkin, I often hold back compliments and push her to be better, whereas with the boys I'll tell them what a great job they did at the smallest little things. This is probably something I should be working on changing with myself.

Case in point: About a year ago Munchkin and I were at Girl Scout Camp. It was a rare moment that she and I were sitting in our unit house at one of the picnic tables by ourselves with no one else around. She was reading a book and I was just sitting, resting my feet or catching my breath or something. I found myself looking at her and I couldn't help but think how beautiful she is. Her perfect nose and freckles and beautiful blue eyes. The little pout of her lips and her wispy blonde hair. She doesn't realize she's beautiful, either, and it's almost better that way because she has no sense of vanity. She likes to dabble in the world of make-up and hair products, but she'd rather get down and dirty at the barn than keep a manicure looking perfect. As I gazed upon her, I couldn't help but think how amazing she is - a better version of myself - kinder and more talented than I ever was at her age. She has an uncanny ability to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to.

So I sat there, absolutely in love and in awe with my daughter, amazed that I had made such a perfect girl filled with all of the qualities I would have ever wanted my daughter to have - and I opened my mouth and said

"You've got dirt on your face."

Yep. Mother of the year award - it's all mine, ladies.

I'm sure there's some psychological explanation for this, but I wonder if it rings true with other mothers of daughters and sons. Are we all harder on our daughters than our sons? Or is this just me?

The world expects a lot from women and doesn't give them a lot of credit for doing it all. Today's young girl is expected to do well in school, be helpful at home, be charitable and volunteer her time. She's expected to move on to college where she is expected to prepare herself for a good career. She should build this career and somehow settle down with a partner and have children simultaneously. Her home should be clean, her appearance should be immaculate, her children should be well-mannered, and she should volunteer her limited time with her children's PTA or dance studio or football team. She should have well rounded meals on the table every night and she should never, ever make it look like this is difficult for her to accomplish.

I realize that as a society these norms are changing, but these expectations for women still exist. Check any Pinterest board and you'll see it - the pressure our society puts on women to be perfect.

So I'm harder on Munchkin than the boys. It's something I need to work on. It's not right and it's not fair. My heart swells with pride at her accomplishments... just looking at that picture above brings literal tears to my eyes. But I find that I don't tell her enough how proud I am of her, how fantastic she is, and how glad I am to have her as a daughter.


Unknown said...[Reply to comment]

Maybe it's not because she's a girl, but because she's the oldest.... just from my experience, my Mom did that to me & I did that to my oldest daughter..... :)

Unknown said...[Reply to comment]

She's actually the middle child so probably not it. I just figure I put more responsibility on her due to her gender. It sucks. I need to stop.