Thursday, May 22, 2014

Girls v. Boys

WHY do we give girls a different message than boys?  Maybe it is no longer true.  Maybe it was generational.  Maybe it was only in certain families.

It is not like anyone exactly said that I couldn't do anything and everything I wanted to do.  Or that I wasn't capable or smart.  Smart was actually an allowable trait to possess, as I recall.  But do something that makes you happy was the message.  And by the way, do it quietly and kindly.  I remember going off to college not knowing what major to choose and my parents said we want you to be happy.  Which I totally appreciate.  (I believe my friend José was only given the choice to 2 acceptable majors).  Except...I feel it was incomplete.  I don't think my folks thought they were being remiss.  I just think they believed I was never going to have to support myself, so just find something you like to do.  No talk about reaching your full potential.  Or dreaming big.  Or making it happen.  Nothing like that.

They sighed a proverbial sigh of relief when I got married at a young age.  Ahhh.  She is set now.  Her husband will earn a living and she will have her babies since that is what I was "supposed" to do.  Ha!  If my mother only knew.  

In my 40's I now find myself  reevaluating what I want from my career...for my soul, for my personal fulfillment, for my lifestyle, for my future.  Never was it discussed as I entered the adult world whether I wanted my job/career to provide a certain lifestyle, or financial security in my later years.  Did I want it to be challenging?  Exciting?  What did I want from all the hours in my life that I will spend working?

I realize this is a sweeping generalization, but I wonder why men seem, on the whole, to apologize less often for asking for what they want?  Or for being assertive?  Or charging what they are worth?  Were men given a different message from early on?  That they were not only expected to accomplish things?  But that they deserved to accomplish them?  

What message were you given as a child?  As a young adult?  And what message are you giving your girls and your boys?

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