No Female Leaders, Just Leaders.
Hey ladies! Remember those days of being told...
Girls you can’t do that; But you’re a girl; That’s a boys toy; Boys don’t cry; Don’t be such a girl.
When I was around the age of 5 my parents were singled out at the school gate by other parents to inform them that there was something “wrong” with their daughter (me). And when they questioned why that was, the answer they heard was “she told my son she was a boy”. Funny, right?
When my parents asked me why that I was telling them I was a boy the answer was simple - the boys played games like football and sports at lunch, where as the girls played in the sandpit with dolls. I knew which one I preferred! If the other kids weren’t smart enough to realise I was in a dress and tucked my pony tail into my collar then who’s fault is that? (I’ll give you a hint… it’s not mine.)
As a "tomboy" this was something I faced a lot growing up. I was the red Power Ranger, not the pink one. I was obsessed with the Ninja Turtles, not Barbie. Out of all the five Spice Girls I was Sporty, not the beloved Baby or Posh. While all the girlfriends I had were busy painting their nails and brushing their hair, I was wrestling with my Dad or seeing what my cousins and I could find in the dirt out the back.
Before we are born, society decides what you should and shouldn’t do, based on your sex. What colours (pink or blue), games and activities you should like all based on your private bits. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that had no time for these social “norms” and encouraged me from day dot to reach for the stars, and that I was capable of much more than I would ever realise.
It wasn’t about what I should be, but every childhood experience (even to this very day) has been about what makes ME happy and pursuing MY dreams. If I turned up at home and said tomorrow I wanted to be an astronaut, my parents would be completely fine with it and help me in any which way to achieve this goal.
But it isn’t like that for some, we fall into the social pots of who we think we should be and what others expect from us. Unsure what I mean? How many female mechanics have you met recently? How many male nurses have you met?
We have all heard the feminist train pulling up to our station recently with a big push on female empowerment, the thing is it shouldn’t be about female or male. To me, the feminist movement is about equality just as voting for same sex couples to be able to marry wasn’t able two men or women walking down an aisle and saying I do, it was about them being equal parts. As just as with religion or politics everyone gets caught up in the who said what and losing focus on what it actually is.
The minute you enter a conversation and say you are a feminist you may as well have walked in the room after wetting your pants. Make sure you come prepared to defend yourself and listen to the endless burning bra scenarios from those who don’t quite understand. I had a conversation once about feminism and what it meant to someone, with the conversation ending with “... well you have little boys, make sure you raise them as feminists”. Not one to normally take things like that in, it did get me thinking.. What does that even mean? When I responded that my 2.5 year old says please and thank you, helps clean up and make his bed etc. I was told I was doing a good job.
Thank you for that.
I don’t ever think, "Ok, what can you do today to ensure he is a feminist of the future?"
Nothing is the answer! Much like hatred it is something you are taught, so is gender equality. And it starts in the home, at grass roots level, with parents demonstrating shared responsibilities for all, regardless of gender. It’s up to us.
At YDY we are all about female empowerment, don’t get me wrong, I look forward to the future and where it will take us all. How people choose to harness their energies to move the world forward and make these silly assumptions a thing of the past. As a female entrepreneur surrounding herself with likeminded women who is supported by a family filled with caring, sweet, strong men and raising little boys of her own I can see that the future looks bright.
My nieces might decide they want to be the Boss Lady of a big corporation or build their own from the ground up; my friends little girls might be the next pilots flying you to the other side of the world, and my own little boys might decide they want to be ballet dancers and twirling like nobody's business. And at the end of the day I will be right here holding their hand to help those dreams come true - but if I have to sit through The Nutcracker or Swan Lake they better be the best bloody ballet dancers there are :)
As Sheryl Sandberg says...
“In the future there will be no female leaders, just leaders”!
See You Next Tuesday, crew!