Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am all about Girl Power!
Everything I do is pretty much focused on empowering teen and tween girls, on building their confidence, and on teaching their moms how to do the same.
Trust me, my sons are beyond sick of hearing me talk about Girl Power! (cue the eye roll!)
But why then am I writing to you today about why Girl Power is not always a good thing? How can it not be a good thing all the time?
To break this down, let’s go back a few decades.
When our own mothers were young teens, the opportunities they had in life were limited at best. They could aspire to be wives, homemakers, and mothers, or perhaps teachers or nurses.
And then came the 1960s, and the rise of the women’s liberation movement. Women stood up and protested, demanded equality in education, in their careers, and in their personal lives. Girl Power rose up and we, the next generation, experienced the rewards of this movement.
We were able to go to college, become anything we wanted to, work full time, shatter glass ceilings, and live free. And with each passing decade, our own daughters are encouraged- and expected- to accomplish even more.
But consider this. Rather than replace those old fashioned notions of what a girl was supposed to be with what she can now be, have we simply just added more expectations on her?
In her book, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters, Courtney Martin asserts, “Girls grew up hearing they could be anything, but heard they had to be everything.” In this way, the idea of Girl Power can put a lot of pressure on our daughters, as they are expected to run the world, but to do it in a size 2 dress, full makeup, gorgeous hair, and stiletto heels- oh and while nursing her baby and making dinner for the rest of the family.
June Cleaver meets Joan of Arc meets J-Lo meets Sheryl Sandberg.
What’s a girl to do? What’s a mom to do?
I believe that the first step is recognizing the phenomenon, and the problem. If we can be aware of the pressures that our girls face in being all things to all people, we can help them call BS on those lies and on the anxiety that comes with it.
We must not give up on the Girl Power- no way! Encourage your daughter to be anything she wants. Make her believe in the amazing creature she is. But remind her that while she can be anything, she need not be everything. Ask her what she wants to be, and what her top priorities are.
And point out the lies you see on TV, in the movies, and on social media. Call out the movies where the woman is all things, and share with her that this is an unrealistic and unfair expectation and portrayal of a woman.
Then grab yourself a copy of the book, Enough As She Is, by Rachel Simmons, and take notes on it. This book contains research, anecdotes, and solutions on the pressures that girls face as they are expected to be all things. I will share more on this book and others later this month.
Finally, if you’re looking for more ways to connect with your daughter and to help build her confidence, grab my Confidence Building Checklist here. It’s FREE and it contains 7 simple steps that you can implement daily to build your daughter’s confidence.
Next week, we’ll dive a bit deeper into the messages that the world is telling our daughters, and how we can fix it. See you then!