Our daughters are small but mighty
My daughter is very small for her age (almost 4) and she's freaking adorable. So the two things people say to her, or about her in her presence, most often are: 1. She's so tiny! 2. She's so cute!
Of course I love that people feel compelled to compliment my daughter. Of course I think she's totally cute, but a big part of me cringes inside every single time she hears those particular phrases. And it happens over and over and over.
To balance it out, I always say she's small but mighty, and when she hears that she's cute I follow it up with, "and she's so smart." I don't want her appearance to become her identity. She is genuinely mighty and she is wicked smart; there is more to her than her appearance...far more.
Last week, someone commented on her stature when she was about a foot away and, for the first time, she spun on her heels with a huge smile and said, "I'm small, but mighty." And then my heart grew to twice its usual size. If I can do one thing as her mother, helping her to internalize the magnitude of her mightiness might be the best.
I recently saw a trailer for a movie called Miss Representation about how we are represented as women in the media, in our own lives, and how grossly under-represented we are in politics.
I know I will get my pink liberal feminist membership card taken away for saying this, but most of the commentary on social attitudes and political representation at large didn't really speak to me. I'm not entirely sure why, because it seems like something I should get my panties in a twist about.
Mostly, I think it's because I can't change the entire world, or even the structure of the American government. Sure, I can vote my conscience but I think that casting a vote just because someone's got tits is a very irresponsible if not completely dangerous way to approach the ballot.
So, what can I do?
I can teach my daughter that she is small but mighty, and wicked smart. If I want more women in power then I can raise an empowered woman. That's the only way I know to affect real change in the landscape of womanhood.
By a random roll of the genetic dice, I've been entrusted with the grooming of one single member of the next generation of women. How I handle that responsibility-what grace, strength, wit, critical thinking, love and integrity I help her to foster within herself-is the only true way I know to further a feminist agenda.
Are you the mother of a daughter, or even the daughter of a mother? Do you think that generational change is the route to real change, or does it move too slowly? How do we help our daughters have more than we've had?