In the world where I grew up, a woman’s worth has always been measured by her ability to secure a husband. I hate the world where I grew up. For all intents and purposes, a man is a terrible prize for anyone to aspire to. We are too much work and we are usually not even worth the trouble. Securing a man for life should be considered a charitable deed rather than a life aspiration. But that is the world I grew up in—the world where women have it so bad that every piece of crap served to them is branded as a gift.
It is my disdain for this world that has me thinking, at least twice each day, about the world I want my daughter(s) to live in. I love my unborn daughters a lot. I have wanted a daughter since I was 15 (after I accepted that my parents were never going to give me a little sister). Since then, a lot of my life’s decisions have been made considering how they affect the lives of the children I am going to bring into this world. I think a lot about how I want to raise them. One of the most important things to me is to completely eliminate the idea that the decisions they make and the skills they pick up in life to make them good women are just means to an end, the end being finding a husband.
I am not against marriage. I believe marriage can be a beautiful thing if you find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. But marriage is not a need to have. It is a nice to have. When a woman achieves the things she wants for herself and finds someone she wants to spend the rest of her days with, she should go ahead and get married. But my daughters won’t grow up thinking they need to get married by 27. They won’t grow up believing that they are learning to cook so they can be good wives. They will learn to cook so they can make great food for themselves and
me whomever they want to cook for. Their homemaking skills will be focused on making them women who can take care of themselves and their environment, not so they can keep a man’s house clean. I am not going to raise my daughter to become a good woman for a boy. My daughter’s opportunities and upbringing will solely focus on making her proud of herself.
Being a good woman is the end, not the means. Being happy with herself is all that matters. Whatever makes my daughter happy, whether it is traveling the world, helping the poor, running a business, or becoming a model or a war journalist, she gets to do it. If getting married and having babies is what makes her happy and she decides to become a housewife, she can have that, too.
I am, however, not going to raise her to think that she has failed in life if she never gets married or she is failing because she is single by 29. If you are thinking of asking me how I expect her to bear children, that is another thing she is not going to grow up feeling is an obligation. If she decides she wants kids without marriage, that is her choice, too.
Happiness is the most important thing in life and I am going to teach my little girl(s) to go for whatever it is they want because everything is possible.