If your childhood was anything like mine, you probably heard the phrase, "Now, be nice," on a regular basis. I know I certainly didn't think anything of it growing up, but now that I'm an adult I've realized just how twisted this sentiment really was (and is). Every time I was told to be "nice," I was really being told to be "silent" or "agreeable" or, you know, not my authentic self. I refuse to do that to my daughter and I've noticed when you don't raise your daughter to be "nice," things happen; good things; positive things; progressive things; necessary things that will only aid my daughter when she leaves our home and enters the world, on her own.
As a young girl, I was constantly being told to be quiet and know my "place" when I was in the presence of other adults. If I was being teased by a boy on the playground "because he like me," I was expected to "kind" and be the "bigger person" and consider what can only be described as harassment, to be a compliment. Even as an adult, not much has changed. Sure, instead of a playground there's a college classroom or a workspace, but much of the messaging is the same. "Don't make waves," and "be nice," and don't be too "loud" are all messages women hear on a daily basis, regardless of how old they are and regardless of where they are in their lives.
Thankfully, I didn't let that message me silence me as a child, as a young adult, as a woman or, it turns out, as a mother. As a result, I won't be raising my daughter to be "nice." Yes, I will ask that she be a kind human being who respects and cares for other people, but as a woman I will not ask that she silence herself for the sake of others, or so a certain situation can remain "copacetic." I know that she will benefit from not being "nice," and in the following ways: