I heard someone on the radio a couple of weeks ago say something quite similar to these words: Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up.
At first, I’m sure like many of you, I was appalled. I didn’t like it so as a fellow female I felt offended. I wanted to call the radio and tell them that girls CAN be anything they want when they grow up. But I didn’t and then I took a second to think about the reasoning behind it.
It’s undeniable that we are brainwashed from the moment we are born. We are told what to wear, what to say, what to eat, what to watch – everything is set out for us, all we have to do is show up. And growing up it’s still that way, the media plays a huge impact on our daily lives, even if we convince ourselves it doesn’t.
As a young girl I did the typical activities a youth girl would do. I played sports, tried dance, tried musicals, figure skating, basically if there was a sign up for it – I was signed up.
Do you think I wanted to dance at age 3? Hell no, and I still don’t want to dance. But I didn’t have a choice really because I didn’t know any better, so I did what any 3-year-old would do and went with it.
Of course my parents didn’t want me to be unhappy, who knows I might have even asked to be signed up! Either way, I did it because that’s what I was told to do, it’s what I thought was the norm.
Impacting girls starts when they’re growing up and the problem with growing up and hearing, “you can be anything you want to be when you grow up” is that they never thought they couldn’t. They never thought there were any restrictions, a glass ceiling, a reason they couldn’t be President of the United States. The world was literally theirs for the taking, until someone made them think it wasn’t. Until someone spun it in a way that made them think differently.
Don’t tell her she can be whatever she wants when she grows up, just let her be whatever she wants. Let her experience the world on her own, let her find her passions, make her mistakes, love and grow on her own without the thought that she can’t accomplish all her dreams. If she wants to be the CEO of a company, let her! And if she wants to work as a waitress, let her!
Let her discover her truth on her own without outside influence and live it.
Let her stay as hopeful and naive for as long as possible. Let her make her own mark on this world. Don’t tell her the sky is the limit, don’t tell her she can be anything she wants, just let her figure it out on her own. Encourage her to be tough, strong, brave and independent. Encourage her to do everything that feels right for her. Encourage her to be the best person she can be without jamming her brain full of stereotypical doubts.
Because the truth is – she always knew she could be anything she wanted because it never occurred to her that she couldn’t.