It’s stunning to me how rapidly my child has grown from this:
As a mother I’ve failed her in myriad ways.
Ways which should have been within my control, yet were not.
Choices which seemed to be for the best and, in hindsight, may not have been.
This doesn’t mean scenarios didn’t go awry, but I meant well.
The determination was there even when results didn’t go as planned.
Lately we’ve hit *all* the road bumps on the way to young adulthood.
These challenges, however, spark me to question the myriad ways society has potentially failed our daughters, too.
Literal and the metaphorical daughters.
We’ve sexualized them…
I typed this. I deleted it. I typed it again. I thought about it. I can’t find a way around the notion we’ve sexualized them even if our own specific girls aren’t exploring the sexy.
In movies and television and commercials and the clothing options we offer them—we keep sexualizing girls at younger ages.
We’ve failed them by sexualizing them at increasingly younger ages and we slut shame and dress code shame them around the fact they’re too sexual.
We demand perfection…
In school. In sports. In extracurriculars. In volunteering. In. All. The. Things.
Society clearly tells our daughters they should be perfect and extraordinary.
We grant our adult-selves the needed space to build confidence.
We adults acknowledge the important pattern of risk taking, struggling, failing and only then maybe achieving mastery.
Society expects our daughters to exemplify perfection at every opportunity or we express, whether implicit or explicit, our collective disappointment.
We don’t represent them…
Stereotyping of immigrants (in general. not just female.) in movies and television abounds.
If my girl sees Latina females in media she consumes these women are often portrayed as less complex than the other characters. I adore the fact she loves her curves, but cringe when the Latina women we see are conveyed as sensuality and sexuality sans intellect. Curvaceous seductresses.
I’ve focused on our girls because it’s what I know.
I have a daughter *and* I’m a woman who grew up with only sisters.
Female is the lens through which I see the world–even through I make an effort to imagine/envision what it would be like to amble about male/have a son.
So I toss it back to you.
- Do you have a sense we’ve failed our daughters? Do you believe, as many do, society is improving?
- Do you have thoughts around society and our sons? Help a Sister out and elaborate in the comments?