Why it’s Good to Be a Girl

posted in Girl-Crush Thursdays, Raising Girls on by with 32 Replies

I am the mother of three girls.  Sometimes, when people learn this, they raise their eyebrows and express sympathy for me, as though having three girls is a bad thing, like it’s harder, in some universally understood way, than having three boys.  As one of three sisters myself, I see no need for such negativity.  So although I may not always manage to get these words out in response to the eyebrow-raisers, I’m saying them now:

It’s good to have girls.  It’s good to be a girl.  Girls.  Are.  Good.

I do appreciate the enormity of the task I have before me.  To raise girls who will love and respect themselves, despite all of the obstacles society will try to throw at them, is going to be hard.  But that’s because society makes it hard.  And who makes society?  We do.  The grown-ups.  We choose to produce, purchase, and promote the toys, media, and clothes that make it hard to be a girl, and we could make other choices.  Because our girls are good.  And they are worth it.

I can’t control the world that my girls are, more and more each day, becoming aware of.  I can, however, raise my own voice to say a few things that might help my daughters (and those pesky eyebrow-raisers) to understand why it’s good to be a girl:

  • Your anatomy need not define you

Whoever you are, whatever your sex or size or shape, you are deserving of love, respect, and fulfillment in your life.  You are brain and bone and heart and muscle, and those things are just as much a part of who you are as any other parts.  Being a girl can mean whatever you want it to mean.  The fact that you are a girl may inspire you, shape you, or even plague you, but it does not have to define you, and it should never keep you from living the life you want to live.

  • Being emotional can be a kind of strength, not a weakness

Emotional girls are observant.  They feel deeply and love fiercely.  If we support and encourage them enough, one day they will dazzle the world with their brilliance, leaving it more just and compassionate in their wake.  And if you’re not a particularly emotional girl, that’s okay too.  You don’t have to be emotional just because you’re a girl.  Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus.  The lines that divide us are so much more flexible than that.

  • Happiness has nothing to do with being thin, or pretty

You have the ability to find your passion and use it to enrich not only your own life, but the lives of other people as well.  Do what you love and don’t worry too much about what your outsides look like.  If you want to wear makeup and work out because those things make you feel good, then great!  But you don’t ever have to do those things for anyone else.  Your body is meant to be a source of strength, not strife.  Confidence in yourself, not perfect abs, will bring you happiness.

  • Women’s equality in this country has come a long way, but the work is not finished

Equality for women was hard-won in the United States, and it should never be taken for granted.  It is, in fact, an ongoing battle.  Be a part of it in a way that is meaningful to you.  Realize that there are women all over the world who do not have the opportunities that we have, and respect them by making the most of what you’ve been given.  There are also women all over the world setting fantastic examples of leadership, strength, and wisdom.  Learn from them.  Make the choices you think are best for your life, and appreciate your ability to do so.

Being a girl is neither greater than nor less than being a boy; it is simply good, and as I watch my three girls grow and struggle and learn on their way to becoming women, I’ll teach them to scream out loud with me: it’s good to be a girl.

TwinsTogether

 

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  • Kimbo325

    It is good to be a girl! And with that attitude, your girls are sure to turn out great! As a teacher, especially back in my high school teaching days, I think I did have more trouble with girls than guys. But that’s just because I’m terribly emotional too and if they started to cry, I started to cry! Found you through FTSF!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks for reading! The hardest part for me is being the example I know I should be. I’m trying though!

  • Teresa Danner Kander

    Yay girls! And it sounds like your three have a fabulous role model right in their own home.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! Although I am often NOT a fabulous role model. I’m doing my best though, and hoping it all evens out in the end.

  • southmainmuse

    You are a wonderful mother and so in tune with girls. My girl just turned 13 and her world and my world turned upside down. I would recommend this book http://www.amazon.com/Reviving-Ophelia-Saving-Selves-Adolescent/dp/1594481881 “Reviving Ophelia” as your beauties approach adolescence. It’s tragic what happens to our courageous and confident young girls.

    • ShakespearesMom

      I have been wanting to read that, thanks for the suggestion! I wish you all the best with your 13-year-old.

  • http://www.FranticMama.blogspot.com/ Frantic Mama

    I’m so glad I read this. I read something a little similar the other day by a mother of 3 boys (hers was more focused on other people’s reactions to being a mom of 3 of the same gender). I can see how frustrating it would be to get a weird or negative response when you say you have 3 boys or girls. As someone who does not have 3 kids of the same gender (or, 3 kids at all :)), I sometimes feel like I need to address the gender when someone says they are expecting their “3rd” of the same sex… So, anyway, long story short, I love your post.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! Usually people are just being kind of silly, or making conversation, and it’s not like I think they have terrible intentions or anything, but sometimes I like using my blog to say the stuff that I feel strongly about but don’t manage to articulate in casual conversations. If that makes any sense.

  • http://hyethymecafe.blogspot.com/ Chris HyeThymeCafe

    I don’t have kids myself, but it’s so tough – it’s not only about what you tell your kids or even show them but what you don’t realize they’re picking up about how you treat yourself! So many people manage to say the right things and put things into practice for their kids without realizing the impact of how they treat themselves on their kids … you tell them not to stress over being supermodel thin and serve good healthy meals, but they see you always dieting, etc… it’s like a tightrope act.

    • ShakespearesMom

      You are so right. My biggest challenge as a mom of girls is going to be practicing what I preach. I think that by putting my viewpoint into words, I’ll hold myself a bit more accountable.

  • http://www.sandinmytoes.tk/ Tarana

    I think this should be shared with all moms with little girls. You’ve got such wonderful advice here. And yes, girls are so much fun, even though I have a boy, and grew up with two brothers!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much. And thank you for coming up with the sentence prompt! It was a really good one!

  • Stephanie Sprenger

    Beautiful- I love this! As the mother of two girls, I wholeheartedly agree. 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you! It really is great to have girls 🙂

  • http://leftbrainbuddha.com/ Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha

    Your girls are so lucky to hear these messages from you. I have a girl and a boy, and we work really hard to let them know that they can do what they want because they are THEM, they are AMAZING, not because of their gender. It’s hard because you can see so early how they start to absorb the messages from the culture about gender.

    • ShakespearesMom

      That’s exactly why I want to start trying to make sure they get the messages that we as a family want them to understand first. Going to school and out into the world is part of growing up, but man, I am not looking forward to my sweet kiddos being influenced by some of the stuff out there! Thank you for reading!

  • Kristi – Finding Ninee

    Oh the angst of people making comments on raising three girls! I’m the mother of an only child son and get the judgement and the ickiness that comes along with opinions. I’m also an auntie to a three-girl family and can’t believe some of what people say. Another friend of mine has three boys, and gets similar icky comments. I love that you’re including body image in your teachings for them. Important for every kid.

    • ShakespearesMom

      I don’t think people really think through their comments sometimes. Thank you for reading!

  • http://canigetanotherbottleofwhine.com/ Kate Hall

    Wow, this is really good. Your girls are adorable! Have you thought of submitting this to BlogHer? I just said that on Kristi’s post too, but they’re both so good. I think BlogHer would love this.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much! I’ve never submitted anything to BlogHer, but maybe I’ll try!

      • http://canigetanotherbottleofwhine.com/ Kate Hall

        Do you know how to do it? It’s a little hard to find if you haven’t done it before. Julie Deneen has a nice tutorial. She wrote it the week before BlogHer did an overhaul on their page, but her tutorial still gets you where you need to go. Whenever I forget how to submit (it happens more than you’d think) I refer to her site: http://www.fabulousblogging.com/2013/07/how-to-navigate-the-blogher-website-and-publishing-opportunities/

        • ShakespearesMom

          You are awesome. Will you be my blogging fairy godmother? I’m such a newbie still sometimes. I did figure it out though I think. I had an account on BlogHer already, so I just looked at their help/FAQ section. And Julie Deneen is so helpful! Thank you soooo much.

  • Megan Walker

    What a great mantra for your girls to follow. It’s very true girls are often harder on themselves than anyone else. I hope your sweet girls read this and it inspires them to love the people they are.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much. I hope so too!

  • http://kissmylist.com/ Dana

    It is great to have girls – well said! People will ask me how it is to raise one of each gender. I don’t look at it that way – I have two very different kids who have distinct personalities, that have nothing to do with their gender. But I do love being a girl, and I hope I’ve instilled that love and pride in my own daughter.

    • ShakespearesMom

      That’s a great attitude to have about it. I feel the same way about having twins. I honestly forget that they’re twins sometimes because I just think of them as distinct individual kids.

  • April @ 100lbcountdown

    Such a beautiful post. I am intensely fearful of raising my daughters because of the problems that I had growing up. Maybe if my mother were more like you, I’d have more confidence in myself. Thank you for the reminder that I don’t have make it hard for them.

    • ShakespearesMom

      The great thing about becoming a mom is that YOU get to decide how to do it. You can take the good things you learned from your own mother and leave the bad ones behind. I’m sure you’ll do a great job with your daughter because it sounds like you really care.

  • Karen

    STANDS UP AND CLAPS….well written and so true. all kids need to learn to love and respect themselves and others.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you so much, Karen!

  • Deanna Hudson

    You are amazing! I have two girls and another baby on the way (don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet) but people always ask “You hoping for a boy?” It bothers me because why do I have to hope for a boy just because I have girls. I want a healthy, happy baby. That’s it. I will be happy if it’s a boy or a girl. Girls are just as good as boys! More girls need to read this.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thanks so much! I hope everything goes well with your pregnancy, and that your baby is indeed happy and healthy!