Yep I was about 6, and as I climbed the steps of our Philadelphia row home, I stopped dead in my tracks turned to my mom and declared. “When I grow up I’m going to be a boy.”
“No honey”, she said. You can’t be a boy, you’re a girl.
That was pretty much the end of the conversation. My mom wasn’t one to argue with and she seemed pretty certain of this, but I still couldn’t help but think, “well, that doesn’t seem quite fair?”
I mean why is it ok for them to be noisy? How come they can get overheated and sweaty when they play? Why can they sit however they want? How come they can eat as much as they want as fast as they want? Why do they get to wear comfortable clothes on the holidays? (That was a big one!)
So was it that I just wanted to be a boy? No, actually, it wasn’t that at all.
It was that I had learned at such a young age that being a girl meant having limitations, and being a girl meant the most important things about you were how you looked and what other people perceived about you.
Could you have independent thoughts and speak your mind? Well no, that would be rude.
Stand out from the crowd? Definitely not acceptable, at all costs do not draw attention to yourself!
Strong and independent? That really isn’t necessary.
Through the past year while doing girl noticed murals I’ve had a handful of women say to me, well today it’s different. It’s not like “that” anymore.
Isn’t it? Really? Spend a few minutes on snapchat or Instagram where even as adults we sensor what we say and have to be picture perfect at all times. What are the limitations we are putting on our girls today? Think about it, what limitations do we still put on ourselves as adults?
I have a feeling if I were 6 again I’d still be saying, “when I grow up…”
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