During these weeks of practice, our daughter and I have spent hours together sitting through everything from scorching heat to pouring rain, watching them play.
The other day, a brother and sister were running off to our left and I overheard the older boy laugh and yell at the younger girl. She was trying to throw something to him when he said, "You can't make it. You throw like a girl."
Let me back up a minute. I've never really cared much about stereotypes when it came to boys vs. girls/men vs. women. It's never bothered me when an issue came down to a gender related argument because I've known where I've stood. If I wanted to do or not do something, the decision was up to me...not because I was male or female.
Then we had a daughter.
Ironically, I had recently seen a Dove ad regarding how younger girls were asked to "run like a girl," or "throw like a girl," and they ran and threw with all their might.
When older girls were asked to do the same however, they mocked a silly awkward run and throw, as though girls can't manage to do things with strength or control.
When does this transition occur? When do our girls switch from thinking they can do anything, to well...that?
Something came over me that wanted to protect her from these ideas of what "being a girl" infers. I turned to our five year old and asked, "What does it mean to run like a girl?"
She looked at me with a smile, "It means to go really, super fast."
"And what about throwing like a girl? What does that mean?"
"It means that if you have a ball, you can throw it as far as you can."
I was relieved from her answers. In her five little years, she's had no awareness of what the concept means...but when will that change?
It's up to us to help girls feel confident and secure.
I knew the boy who said it, was only joking around - but it made me realize that she's going to hear things like this to whatever degree, for the rest of her life.
I hope she'll always stay strong though. Many things will come her way but I pray we'll give her the tools that every daughter should have, allowing them to be as happy and successful as they possibly can.
Daughters should always know and believe they can run as "super fast" as they could ever dream, making them forever and completely...just like a girl.
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