Bonus – Sharing from Facebook – Princesses and Such

Princesses and such…

January 28, 2014

Today I had the opportunity to listen to a conversation between two men about bringing up girls.  I have to say, while it was “sweet” on one level, it made me cringe.  I’m sure the father in question really does love his daughter, who is seven, and he was looking forward to a Daddy-Daughter dance that was being held at her school some time in the future.  He made a point of mentioning that it is his job to show her how she should be treated by men – that she should be treated like a princess, expect men to hold doors for her, be called beautiful, etc.  There was also the comment about the gun he wanted on display next to a shovel with notches in it, etc… The old “mess with my daughter and you’re dead” routine.

 Young child curled up, asleep

So why did any or all of this make me cringe?

I never taught my boys “how to treat a lady.”  I have always tried to teach them, AND their sister, “how to treat a fellow human being.”  I don’t tell the boys it is their job to hold doors for girls, or do manual labor for them, and I have been desperately trying to rid my daughter of the notion that she should be waited upon, although I think she is under the misguided notion that I will follow her to college and fold her laundry for her. 😛  This is a hard world regardless of your gender, and you have to learn to fend for yourself, but remember to care for those you love.

I don’t want my daughter to be the kind of person who falls for someone because he shows outward signs of respect.  Those things can be faked.  I want her to know her own worth, and to understand that while she IS physically beautiful (even in what by rights should be her “awkward” years) she is so much more than a pretty face.  She is creative, intelligent, and extremely talented, and she can do ANYTHING she sets her mind to, though there are some things that will require her to work harder than others.  This is the same lesson I want my boys to understand.  We all have differing abilities in various things that we do, but time and effort can overcome most disabilities, and undeveloped talent only gets you so far.  I want all three of my children to question authority just enough to try to change the things that are not right in this world.  I want them to be critical thinkers, but also kind hearted souls.  I want them to do good not because it is what society expects of them, but because they see the value of making the world a better place.  I want all three of them to settle for nothing less than a “partner in crime,” someone with whom they can travel with joy, someone who values everything about them.  So I suppose, in my own way, I am probably setting an even more unrealistic standard than the whole Disney fairy tale…  because the truth is that as human beings, we all have moments where we carelessly or foolishly hurt one another, especially those closest to us, and that is a characteristic nobody should value.

I have always felt there shouldn’t be a double standard.  A woman shouldn’t be told to “keep her legs closed” while a man is patted on the back for his conquests.  Regardless of gender, it shouldn’t concern anyone who isn’t directly involved.  Neither sex should be put on a pedestal.  We have different parts, but we’re all human.  I am a little ashamed of the fact that I’ve never learned how to change the oil in a car, except that in adding up the cost of the parts, the time involved, and the disposal fees, I’m proud that I had the sense to recognize it was more cost-effective to pay someone else to do it for me.  I don’t see a need to flash a gun at any boy who asks my daughter out – I would rather teach her self defense and respect for her own body and mind.  I want to teach all three that love should never mean being anything less than you are.

Pink Clover Blossom

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