In case you missed it, there’s a video circulating the internet that features a series of (really adorable) little girls who are using the “F bomb” in the name of feminism. The idea, I suppose, was to shock viewers into awareness about the sex-related inequality in our society and perhaps sell some t-shirts in the process.
My thoughts on the video fluctuate:
WHO WOULD LET THEIR CHILDREN DO THIS?
I guess they are just trying to make a point.
But my foremost impression of this shocking display was: I hope my daughters (and sons) never feel the need to speak like that, and I hope I provide them with the education to choose their words more effectively.
Admittedly, I don’t have a daughter, though one day God-willing, I hope to. Frankly, I would never endorse my 8 or 9-year-old participating in this kind of advertisement for a variety of reasons but mostly, because I would hope I would have taught them better than to resort to foul language to make a point. It inspired a lot of thinking and reflection about what it means to be a girl, a woman, a feminist, a “lady” in 2014: What does ladylike really even mean anymore? Is it something we should strive to teach our daughters? How do we teach them to cope with an increasingly progressive world? How do we teach them to address sexism, inequality, and harassment? Do we need to tell our daughters to give a big ol'”F**K YOU to a world that might treat them unfairly? So, I thought, I might write a letter should my daughter ever question her place as a girl or woman in this world.
Dear Little One,
It’s a strange, strange world out there. Your father showed me a video the other day, where I heard precious little girls- like yourself- use some foul, inappropriate language. It made me think of you, and how I would hope that you know better. But, more than that, I hope you know why to use better language. The people who created this video were trying to make a point, that girls in our society are treated unfairly, and deserve to be respected and equal members of society. I want you to know, Little One, that those people are right. So I wanted to tell you a few things about what I hope for you, as a girl, a young lady, and a person.
1) The F word is not just inappropriate, but it’s a cop out. It’s an easy, inflammatory way to make your point. Allow me to explain: Your father and I will work tirelessly to ensure we’ve provided you with the finest education we can give you. Bearing this in mind, I would hope that your education both in the classroom and at home would have introduced you to a vocabulary that is vast and allows you to say exactly what you think and feel. You are going to have all sorts of opinions and thoughts that you’ll want to (and should) share with the world, but when you do, say exactly what you mean and with the best words you can find to make your point. There will be plenty of time for the F-word.
2. You can be anything you want. The world will impose all sorts of expectations on you, but you should know, that we will always support anything you want to passionately pursue. That being said, being that you are God’s gift to us, we will expect a lot from you. Whatever you do, be it karate, soccer, ballet, or circus performance, we will expect and encourage you to
adamantly work to be your best. I hope I’ve set an example for you that anything worth doing is worth doing well. You are allowed to go to school anywhere you like, for anything you like. Just not The University of Florida, or Notre Dame, or… Well, we’ll get to that when the time comes, but know that whatever you do, you will never have a bigger fan than you have in me. Never, ever.
3. You can love however and whomever you want. I know your father dreads it, but there will be a day when your affections will shift to someone else. I don’t care about their race, gender, or socioeconomic status. I care about the content of their character, the purity of their heart, and the way they treat you. I pray that the relationship between your father and me has taught you a thing or two about unconditional love, grace, and friendship. And, when the time comes, for you to pursue those relationships in an intimate and sexual manner, I hope you’ll consult me so I can help to guide you through what can be confusing waters. Know, Little One, that your body is a precious gift from God. That being said, your choices are your own, and I only hope that you have the self-respect and wisdom to approach those situations with clarity and confidence.
4. Feminism has a lot of faces. To believe in equality and women’s rights, you don’t need to burn your bra or attend protests. Although, if this is how you choose to do it, I won’t stop you. I hope you’ll carry out your beliefs in ways that are true to yourself: If you are a stay at home mom or heart surgeon, you have the same worth and the same rights as any other woman. You can honor and respect your husband, be a caretaker, or be the president… These things can all inherently be feminine, since you are a woman, and that’s part of what’s awesome about being a woman.
5. Never sacrifice your faith in spite of public opinion. You’ll get a lot of flack for it, but Daddy and I don’t bring you to church every Sunday for the music. Should God find His place in your heart, you stand up for that. There are a lot of people who will call you naive, who will mock your faith, who will question your beliefs. This is natural, as we share the world with people of all backgrounds and religions. That, Little One, is what makes this life so exciting. Respect the thoughts and beliefs of others, and preach with your actions more than your words. Though I will always be a phone call or a screech of “Mom!!!!!!” away, sometimes my guidance might fail you. Should that happen, you need only look up. I wished I’d been told that far sooner than I was.
6. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. Like I mentioned, this world is full of inequalities. There will- and have been- many of times you’ve proclaimed “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR!” Whether you’re arguing with me about having to share your toys with your brother, or whether you lost a job opportunity to a man with less qualifications, I will always remind you of the same, harsh reality: Life is not fair. When you face these obstacles, my hope is you’ll keep your chin up and find your way come hell or high water. If you face inequality as a woman, I hope you’ll use it as motivation to get a law degree or start a non-profit. A tantrum will get you nowhere, except time-out. (Which is probably where you are right now, if you’re anything like me.)
7. Say what you mean. When the day comes- and I know it will- that you proclaim “FUCK,” I hope you understand it fully, and you mean it. Whether it’s over a burnt casserole or a lost vote on the floor of the senate, I hope the bright, good-hearted and tenacious woman I raised will use her words. You have my permission, when a man stares a little too long or makes an inappropriate gesture, to give him one BIG “Fuck off.” I won’t even tell Dad.
Most of all, I hope you know that by being a woman, you are inherently a powerful creature. Being a woman is what gave me you, and that’s just the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.