I have to admit, right after I wrote the title to this blog post I realized that it may come off as copying Tina Fey. While I love Tina Fey and think she is fabulous (honestly, I watched the Golden Globes for the first time ever this year because of her and Amy Poehler) this is completely unintentional.
Over the last several weeks as I come to the end of my pregnancy and to the beginning of actual parenthood I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it means to raise a daughter in the new millennium. I know what this culture looks like for me, as a 20-something who is trying to make her own way in the world. But what about my daughter? I wonder this, even now as she seems to be actively trying to break my ribs (chill out in there!).
As I’ve reflected on what girlhood looks like in 2014 I’ve expanded my historical basis by reading books like The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls by Joan Jacobs Brumberg. Through readings like this I’ve established that my daughter needs someone who will talk to her about what others in the sisterhood have gone through and will create a supportive community of women she can turn to as she faces difficulties, and successes, in childhood and into adolescence.
I’ve also tried to gain a more global perspective on what girlhood looks like through books like I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler (author of The Vagina Monologues). In a world where emotional responses are often coded as weak or stupid how can I teach my daughter that it is okay to make decisions based on her “gut feeling”? How can I teach her to trust her feelings even if everything around her is screaming that it’s the wrong thing?
How can I teach my daughter to be more like Hermione Granger and less like Bella Swan? Can she appreciate the beauty in the world around her? Can I spare her from the harshness of the world, even (perhaps especially) if that harshness is coming from me?
What kind of woman will my daughter turn out to be? This is my prayer for her:
Please, let her appreciate the beauty in the world around her
Let her be aware that while there is beauty there is also harshness.
Let her see herself for the magnificent creation that she is; not what society tells her she is
Show her that love exists in many forms – not solely from a romantic interest
Let her be aware that she is capable of falling in love every single day of her life
Can her light shine through all the dark places? Please let her, and those around her, know that she is special
She is special to me
I love her