When I wrote "Stop Calling Assertive Women B*tches," I was trying to call attention to a double standard in our society. Little boys are often praised for their perceived tenacious behavior at a young age, whereas little girls are told (for displaying the very same qualities) that they're "bossy" or "bratty." I wanted to highlight this societal issue because I feel (as the mother of both a boy and a girl) that treating boys and girls differently when it comes to assertive behavior is wrong.
I used my daughter as an example to illustrate my point. I said that people who don't know us as a family often comment that my daughter is "wild" when she is asserting her wants vocally when we're in the outside world. Many comments on the previous piece harped on the word "wild" and people remarked that my daughter was probably undisciplined. Some people suggested that her lack of discipline would result in her becoming less of a leader.
My point was not to call attention to my parenting style. I think it's irrelevant as to whether or not I discipline my daughter. In fact, that has nothing to do with the core issue at hand, which is that women are treated differently than men in our society when it comes to going after what they want.
I noticed that the majority of the comments in "Stop Calling Assertive Women B*tches" were from men. I found that interesting. I wasn't intending to attack men. I was simply pointing out that we as a society label women "the b word" when they display any sort of fierce determination that resembles that of a man's goal-oriented nature.
I do consider myself a feminist. What feminism means to me is that men and women should have equal rights and equal opportunities. Unfortunately, in the world we live in that is not what we (as women) experience.
What I hope for my daughter, for your daughter and for all the women in this world is that one day we will have what we are entitled to, which is equal rights.
In the words of Sheryl Sandberg "I want every little girl who's told she's bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills."
That's what we need to strive for with regard to gender equality. We need to start telling little girls that they are valuable. That their voices need to be heard.
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