My daughter may only be 11 months old, but I already spend a lot of time worrying for her future (#momwithanxiety). I wonder whether she will grow up in a society that allows her full autonomy over her body. I wonder whether she'll experience sexual harassment once puberty hits, just as I did, or even before. I ask myself what I can do to make sure that she knows a person's worth is never determined by their waistline. I pray that she never feels guilty about enjoying a damn candy bar. That she knows how to find herself when the world is shifting under her feet. There are so many things I want for my daughter, and so many that I just don't know if she'll have.
When I learned what Luna's assigned sex would be, I was immediately inundated with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was overjoyed. I could relate to a girl. I could teach her how to put on makeup if she showed interest, but tell her that it's OK if she doesn't. I could talk to her about love, sex, and consent. Then it hit me. There are so many pressures young women are subjected to. So many mixed messages they're fed, and expectations they're bombarded with. There's still so much danger that can follow their every step, and stigma that can coat their every action. It can all be so damn hard.
In terms of the person my daughter becomes, I ultimately hope she is a well-rounded, intelligent, caring human being. I hope she doesn't inherit her parents' anxiety, and that she is more comfortable in her skin than I was for two decades of my life. Still, there is a lot more I want for her. Things that maybe I didn't know, expect, or have access to when I was growing up. Things I want her to know, to expect, and to find out there in the world beyond her parents' arms.
1To know that she is entitled to an opinion.
2To grow up with a president who will fight for her rights.
3For sanitary items to be accessible to all.
4To know that she needn’t assign morality to food or size.
5And that she can enjoy a salad or a burger without feeling guilty.
6For reproductive decisions to be a right.
7For healthcare, in general, to be a right.
8To know what it means to give consent.
9To feel free to say “no” without being afraid for her safety.
10To feel free to say “yes” without being afraid of her reputation.
11For her/their/his pronouns to be respected.
12To break style “rules” because there really are none.
13To wear whatever the hell she wants, no matter what her body looks like.
14To know that fat, thin, or anywhere in between, she matters. She is beautiful. She is worthy of tolerance.
15To clap back against fat shaming and other forms of body policing.
16To allow herself to feel “pretty.”
17To know that “pretty” is not the most important thing. Maybe it’s not important at all.
18To know (as she does at 11 months) that pooping, farting, burping, and other such things are natural… not shameful.
19To love any boy or girl or person of her choosing (as long as they're not a d*ckhead).
20Every clothing store to carry every size, so that she never feels alienated.
21For dress codes to stop being so damn sexist.
22To know that the mantra “boys will be boys” is bullsh*t.
23Because people should be decent human beings regardless of their sex or gender.
24For children around her not to be taught that bullying others is form of play.
25Not to feel trapped into staying around someone who abuses her.
26Not to judge people according to the opinions of others.
27Strong female friendships that empower her.
28Strong female characters who inspire her.
29To be proud of her weirdness.
30And to stick up for her fellow weirdos.
31For there to always be good toilet paper.
32And condom dispensers.
33And tampon dispensers.
34To enjoy childhood when she can.
35To enjoy adolescence when she can.
36To hold onto the kid she was, even as she becomes a grownup.
37To be able to step away from technology.
38But to utilize the beauty of technology and the inter-connectivity it creates as best she can.
39To know that books are wonderful things.
40To be able to discuss her mental health.
41For aspirational beauty ideals to go extinct.
42To travel alone.
43To travel with people she loves.
44To know that money is important for survival in this world, but an abundance of it is not essential for happiness.
45To work hard, but rest hard, too.
46For quality of life to be a right, not a luxury.
47To enjoy television binges without feeling like a sloth.
48To enjoy being in nature.
49To enjoy all that cities have to offer, too.
50To poop at work if she needs to.
51To have children, or not, as long as it’s her choice.
52To breastfeed, or not, as long as it’s her choice.
53To be able to breastfeed in public without harassment.
54To walk down the street without harassment.
55To walk alone at night without fear.
56To dress in modest or revealing clothing without lending herself to assumptions.
57To meet someone, or several someones, who love her just the way she is.
58But to surround herself with people who inspire positive and progressive change.
59To know that she doesn’t have to wear makeup.
60But that there’s nothing wrong with doing so.
61To know that her spirituality, or lack thereof, is her own to define.
62To learn to work and collaborate with others.
63But to be the boss of her own life.
64To set realistic goals for herself.
65To know when she doesn’t want to climb the ladder.
66To feel like she has room to fail.
67To know that success doesn't have to be defined by your job.
67To ask for a raise if she believes she deserves it.
68To report workplace harassment.
69To try to help and support people who are struggling.
70To grow up in a world where people of all sizes, races, sexualities, abilities, and gender identities have representation.
71To play with toys or dolls for as long as she wants to (unless it's sleep time!).
72To enjoy Halloween no matter how old she gets.
73To have a sense of humor.
74And not take herself too seriously.
75To know that sh*tty things will happen.
76But that maybe they make us stronger.
77To practice safe sex, and expect her partner(s) to do the same.
78But to know that even if she does catch something, she is not “damaged” or “repulsive.”
79Not to worry about getting dirty if she plays outside or hangs in the rain.
80And to sing in the shower.
81To see music performed live, as much as she can.
82To have empathy, always, even when it's hard.
83To know that people are rarely solely “good” or “bad.”
84Because “right” and “wrong” aren’t always that black or white.
85To learn about recreational drugs, without the blinding stigmatization so often used to educate kids now.
86To wear that low-rise bikini whether she’s a size 10, 20, or 30.
87To know that her elders aren’t always right.
88To stand up for what she believes in, even if that means standing against people in power.
89To know that she can always come home.
90To learn as much as she can about other cultures and ideas.
91To learn as much as she can about her own.
92To know that not everyone will like her, and that's OK.
93To know when to apologize.
94To listen, even if she disagrees.
95To laugh heartily.
96And cry as hard as she needs to.
97To respect herself, her body, her decisions.
98But to poke fun at, and learn from, her mistakes.
99To know that she can have it all (the education, the job, the relationship(s), the kid(s), the rad personal life).
100But that it's OK if she doesn't. It's OK if she doesn't want it all, too.