Being a woman is hard. Being a girl growing into her womanhood is even harder. While the world tells us what we should wear, how much we should weigh, and what we should do for a living, I'm busy raising a strong, independent daughter who will fight to break these unhealthy expectations. At just 10-years-old, she already understands society's impossible standards and the uphill battle she'll have to climb. Some people get it and help foster her growth, but there are things no grown-ass man should ever say to my daughter that a few too many people need to be reminded of.
When I was little, I was saturated with religiously-centered, conservative views. I learned by watching and listening to my single (divorced) mother discuss no sex before marriage, that women should stay home to raise the children, and over all else, that her man's needs come first. Among a slew of other disappointing ideals I've worked hard to buck in my adult years, I work even harder to make sure my daughter isn't brought up the same way. Of course, it's easier said than done. When those dangerous stereotypes are engrained in you at such a young age, and you're looking for your place in an obscenely judgmental world, it's difficult to navigate raising children of your own (as I discovered). Having gone through all the hurdles to cement things I now believe to my core, it's important my daughter confidently treads through life without concern over where everyone wants her to fit.
My daughter is intelligent, insightful, compassionate, and in touch with world events. She's funny and kind and strong and athletic. She can't be pinned into any one box. It's just not her. While we butt heads (because we're similar), I can see her someday running for office or leading a protest in her fight for equality or whatever it is she's passionate about because her vigor and zest radiates from within and can't be denied. You can't help but listen when she speaks and I fear someone trying to steal that away from her. As a mother, it's my job to ensure my girl can handle anything life throws at her — much in the way I wish someone had prepared me — because despite her being all these wonderful things, there will always be people trying to knock her down for simply being female.
I understand there will be things well-meaning female friends and family say to or in front of my daughter that'll be hurtful, and they should think before speaking, too. However, men really and truly do a great amount of damage, as society as convinced them they have this innate power over women. A woman's humanity, to some men, just isn't as valuable as their own. So with that in mind, here are some of the things grown-ass men should never say to my daughter (that have been said to me), unless you want momma bear to attack. Rawr.