Before we delve into the depressing and sexist things I've heard about my daughter in her two short years of life, I want to start with a ray of hope. On the whole, the world (and the men in it), have been kind to my daughter. Her sassy, bold, larger-than-life personality is lauded. Her gender non-specific sense of style is admired and vocally appreciated. The men in her life encourage her in who she is and what she does. Still, there have been things men have said to me about my daughter that keep my surly feminist guard up, because damnit, you guys. Really? Still? We're still doing this?
The way men have been conditioned to view women, starting from the time they're little girls, is truly disconcerting when you can observe it up close. Themes of dominance, control, male gaze, and misogyny that become suffocating by the time we're women, are tossed around as silly jokes in the presence of little girls. Ever the optimist, I truly don't believe guys are doing this with the intention of oppressing my daughter and asserting the patriarchy or anything like that, but that doesn't change the fact that they're unintentionally laying the groundwork for a lifetime of inequality.
This all sounds very tinfoil hat to many, I know. However, once you observe how the things we say to girls are connected to the creepy attitudes society has about women, you can't unseeit. In fact, you notice it a lot more. As I said, fortunately I don't have to deal with this too much, but I have regrettably heard the following: