How We Teach Girls That Their Feelings Don’t Matter
I was reading this post today and I was in awe of the conclusion that this mom made. There are so many instances in society where we devalue girls and their opinions or feelings, but sometimes they are so ingrained that they slip past us entirely. That’s why I’m thankful for moms like this, who make us think about those little details that we may have overlooked. As women, we have to think critically about how we raise our daughters and sons in this overtly sexist world and we have to give them the open-minded freedom to make choices that we couldn’t make at their age.
In the article mentioned above, a mother talks about her daughter being bullied on the playground and her frustration at the reactions of parents and teachers who find the bullying not only acceptable, but a source of flattery for her daughter. It’s ok that a boy hits, teases or makes fun of a girl because “that just means he likes you”. In light of the events with Chris Brown and the standing O he’s pretty much gotten for his ‘amazing’ comeback, I have to wonder how much this kind of talk really affects our girls.
I know that for me, I never knew that I could speak up when I was young. If a guy hit me, if he put his hands where they shouldn’t be, I didn’t know that I had the right to speak out. I didn’t know that. I didn’t feel that my concerns were big enough to warrant a reaction from anyone and as a girl, I always questioned myself as to whether my concerns were worth being worried about. Was I making too much of things? Was making my feelings known going to upset someone else? Would I cause more trouble than if I just suffered in silence?
How is it that so many girls fit into this mold? I hate that I was one of those girls. I hate that I was strong and independent, but still not strong enough to stop boys from hurting me. How is it that I could be so strong and independent and yet allow a boy to make me feel so powerless?
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by their partners each year and 85% of all domestic violence victims are women. And according to WomenofSubstance.org, 38% of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18…that’s more than 1 in 3 of our girls!
Why doesn’t society see this as a sign that something’s wrong? Why don’t we change the way we raise our daughters, and more importantly, the way we raise our sons?
Too many times the finger is pointed at women, shaming and blaming us, making us believe that it’s ok to feel less than whole…to suffer in silence and “keep the peace”. Enough is enough. Mujeres, we can’t let this go on for another generation.
© 2012, Chantilly Patiño. All rights reserved.