What #likeagirl Means To Me

I’m a single mom to a daughter, and I want her to have the opportunity to experience life fully, to try new things, be brave, be adventurous, and never be held back by bullshit societal standards.  I will probably want to backhand anyone who tells her that she can’t do something because she’s a girl.

My niece signed up for skateboarding camp a few years ago, and we all went to watch one day. One by one the boys in the class reached for the instructor to help them go down the ramp. Our star said, “I got this.” and down she went on her own. One day after class, she said to me, “Aunty Liz, I’m going to be a tomboy.” I told her I thought that was awesome because prissy girls don’t have any fun. I guess if I had thought about it a little more I would have told her not to give herself any labels because there is no way she should be limited to being a type.

I saw this video and it made me realize that “like a girl” is being used the wrong way.  I’m guilty of having said those words in an attempt to tease someone.  As a Mom to a 4 year old it’s absolutely my responsibility to make sure she understands how strong she is.  At the age she’s at now, she is completely unaware of the idea that she might be incapable of something because of her gender.  I know I can’t protect her from other people’s prejudices and absurd comments, but I can do my best to encourage and preserve her fierce determination and confidence.  My goal is to help her grow up unencumbered, at least at home, by stereotypes, and I hope to give her plenty of opportunities to try tons of activities so she can figure out what she loves and what she is good at.

I was lucky to have terrific role models growing up.  My parents never suggested that there were boy activities or girl activities, I was only limited by my own lack of interest.  Perhaps it wasn’t lack of interest, or lack of imagination, but lack of experience.  It didn’t occur to me to dive with sharks or swim with dolphins until the opportunity presented itself.  It wasn’t my idea to sign up for a five-day intensive shipboard firefighting class, but it was more fun than Disneyland and I highly recommend it!

liz firefighting

Skydiving #likeagirl is a compliment!

I didn’t long to skydive, but the infectious enthusiasm of a boyfriend made me think I must be missing out on something cool, and when I experienced it I knew immediately that it was for me.  Skydiving it turns out is very athletic, but it is a finesse sport.  It takes delicate adjustments to fly your body well and after going through the Skydive University training I joined a group of guys who all had over 1000 jumps and was able to keep up.  Here’s a video of one of our training jumps with a former member of the Canadian Skydiving Team and his girlfriend.

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “What #likeagirl Means To Me”

  1. Beautiful post Lizzie. It is a shame there are so many labels in our society. With your wonderful parenting style, I’m sure your daughter will shine above any labels society throws her way. Kudos to you!

    • Thank you! We were at a birthday party a week ago and my daughter decided that it was probably a pirate theme – I have no idea what she based that assumption on. She decided that she needed to wear an eye patch, a pink fedora, and carry a sword. The birthday boy’s grandpa asked about her getup. I said, “Lately she’s been playing that she’s a Musketeer, but today I think she’s a pirate.” He heard and/or processed this wrong and replied, “Well she’s a girl so she must be a Mouseketeer.” I know he was thinking about Annette Funicello. It just wasn’t worth it. LOL

  2. I hate that people put limits and labels on who are and what we can do. I want to raise my daughters and son without labels and no boundaries, in regard to what they can do in life and who they are as people.
    I see myself analyzing my words now that I’m a parent, and especially with my 13 year old daughter- this is such an impressionable time.
    Thank you for sharing with us at Mommy Monday!
    XOXO

    • Wouldn’t it be great if we could raise a generation of kids who were immune to prejudice and labels?

  3. Isn’t it funny how having daughters makes you reevaluate what it means to be a girl? I am always striving to be a better role model (for my son, too, because I am also modeling feminism for him). Trickier than I thought it would be.

  4. Hi Lizzie! Good for you for raising your daughter to KNOW she can do anything she sets her mind to. And I think with your willingness to talk to her you can largely overcome anything society tries to push over on her. I think so much of the limitations of children come from the limitations of the parent. They teach what they know and if that isn’t so much (or is full of fears or doubts) then they will just pass that on to the children. Because of your awareness you can pass that on. May all young girls today have a mother with the same awareness!

    P.S. LOVED the photos…and while I did not learn to skydive by myself–I did do a tandem jump and was incredibly happy with it.

    ~Kathy

    • Thanks Kathy! The only limitations of this parent are budgetary. LOL

      My Mom did a tandem jump up in Canada and for years after that when faced with a challenge she always said something like, “Yeah that will be tough, but hell, I jumped out of an airplane, I can do anything!”

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