Tag Archives: Parenting

“You’re worth a billion of them”: A writer’s advice to her daughter (and to girls everywhere)

Author and podcaster Mur Lafferty writes a must-read letter to her daughter, offering the love and support that I hope I’m giving my own:

So. The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to. Throw like a girl. Talk like a girl. Cry like a girl. God forbid we ever be girls.

No, we wouldn’t want to take utter delight in beauty and love. We wouldn’t want to carefully watch and study something to learn. We wouldn’t want to look at the world and for just one second think that we have as many opportunities as boys. That we can play sports. Play the drums or saxophone. Play video games. Excel at science/math. * And for that second, before something or someone starts opening their shit-hole to put down little girls, we can fly.

So what can we do, dear daughter? When you get a little older, I will be honest with you and tell you — fuck ‘em. You will not change their mind by arguing, by telling them they are wrong. You change their mind by showing them how being a girl is awesome. You show them by not hiding, by not being demure. […]

You show them by being more than your looks, even if that’s all people comment on. You show them by your independence. You show them by being more than they expect to see. You show them by not taking their shit. […]

So they hate you. But fuck ‘em. Because you are a force of nature, a powerhouse of emotion and talent and stubbornness and potential.

You’re worth a billion of them.

Read the rest here.

(h/t Boing Boing; image via Jimi666)

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It’s not cute. It’s abuse.

I highly recommend this righteous rant from the blog Views from the Couch:

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime. I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children. Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.

When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships? How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery  for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.

This, a thousand times this.

Read the whole thing.

(Image via Growing Up Smart)

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Jenny Holzer rocks so damn hard

I’ve loved Jenny Holzer’s work ever since I discovered her “Truisms” — “Lack of charisma can be fatal,” “Confusing yourself is a way to stay honest,” “Children are the cruelest of all” (or, conversely, “Children are the hope of the future”), “Any surplus is immoral,” “Change is valuable when the oppressed become tyrants,” and so on — aphorisms designed to challenge (or reinforce) your assumptions, and spark some interesting and perhaps heated conversations.

And now she’s got a Twitter account, in which she filters her experience as a mom through some very funny riffs on her own work. Some choice tweets:

DIGNITY IS AN ABSTRACT CONCEPT BUT IT WOULD BE LESS ABSTRACT IF YOU WORE A CARDIGAN OVER THAT TOP

THE REVOLUTION WILL STILL BE HERE AFTER YOU’RE DONE STUDYING FOR YOUR GEOMETRY FINAL

A WELL-MEANING LIE IS A KIND OF TRUTH AND ON THAT NOTE YOU CAN BE ANYTHING IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

DON’T GET CYNICAL AND DON’T LEAVE THE OVEN ON AND DON’T STAY UP LATE AND IF THERE’S AN EMERGENCY LAURIE AND LOU’S NUMBER IS ON THE FRIDGE

HISTORY TEXTBOOKS CAN TEACH YOU A LOT ABOUT THE SELECTIVE MEMORY OF IMPERIALISTS AND ALSO A LOT ABOUT WHAT’S GOING TO BE ON THE HISTORY TEST

PICKING AT SCABS CAN LEAD YOU TO TRUTH AND BY TRUTH I MEAN AN INFECTION

TRYING TO BE POPULAR IN HIGH SCHOOL IS LIKE TRYING TO BE MAYOR OF A CITY THAT WON’T EXIST IN FOUR YEARS

IT’S A COLD WORLD BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE AND THAT IS WHY I TOLD YOU TO WEAR LAYERS

MISTLETOE ONLY HAS AS MUCH POWER AS YOU GIVE IT

I SAW AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF ARTISTS LOST TO AIDS, BUT NO, PLEASE GO ON ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT YOUR LIFE IS WITHOUT AN IPAD

SUFFERING FOR YOUR IDEALS IS A PRIVILEGE, AS IS USING THE FAMILY NETFLIX ACCOUNT

IGNORING THE ADVICE OF YOUR MOTHER IS A KIND OF CONFORMITY

THERE IS NOTHING MORE TERRIFYING TO HIGH SCHOOL BOYS THAN A WOMAN WHO WON’T APOLOGIZE

And a zinger against the many shirts displaying her own “truisms”:

MASS-PRODUCED IRONIC T-SHIRTS ARE A POOR ARGUMENT FOR A REBELLIOUS SPIRIT

Absolutely brilliant. Lots more here; can’t wait to read more.

(via Adam Savage; image via Creative Time)

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Miscellany: “Bah, humbug!” edition

For your perusal this holiday season: Continue reading

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The bullshit of gender-coding, cont’d

Nate DiMeo writes an open letter to the toy company Melissa & Doug, care of two of their merchandise characters:

Dear Abby and Emma (the girls in my daughter’s magnetic dress-up doll kit from the toy company Melissa & Doug),

[…] I’ve decided it’s time for you two to get jobs. Because, now that [our daughter] knows that pants don’t go on your head, all she’s learning is fashion — which super-cute top goes best with which skirt. But, I figure work clothes are different. A firefighter’s clothes are functional. She needs gloves. She needs a helmet. A doctor needs scrubs, maybe one of those old-timey head mirrors. Work clothes would inspire imaginative play and prompt questions beyond do these jeggings make my wooden butt look big?

But guess what, Abby and Emma, Melissa & Doug don’t make work clothes for you. They do for these two bigger, girl dolls. But their clothes won’t fit you. And yes, ballerina is technically a profession. I’m less sure about princess. There is one of the larger dolls who does have cool work clothes. His name is Joey. So, Abby and Emma, you can’t be astronauts. And you can’t help our daughter dream about being a scientist or a police officer either. Sorry girls. And — while I know there is more to parenting than purchasing — if you do talk to Melissa & Doug, if they maintain some sort of  magical, Geppeto-y psychic link to you two, can let them know that there’s more to being a girl than just being girly.

Heard on the radio program Marketplace, and posted here at the request of my daughter, who nodded vigorously as she listened and now insists that this be included in “our permanent records.”

More on gender-coding bullshit here and here.

(Image via The Baby Habit)

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“Keep going! Keep going!”: Crosby and Nash at Occupy Wall Street

Filmmaker and activist Sandi Bachom has posted this video of David Crosby and Graham Nash, singing for the Occupy Wall Street protesters yesterday:

What a powerful, and powerfully symbolic, moment: the musicians who helped supply the soundtrack to previous movements for social justice, forging a new connection with today’s protesters, with a timeless song about the bond between generations.

I’d always thought that “Teach Your Children” was only about passing on your love and wisdom to your kids, but now I see — revisiting the entire song, below — that it calls for children to reach back as well: “Teach your parents well… / And feed them on your dreams.” What a deeply moving song of solidarity, compassion, and understanding. And love.

Crosby and Nash explain their support for the OWS movement here.

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Ten years on

We heard the first boom and didn’t think much of it — perhaps a van or garbage truck or some other anonymous vehicle backfiring outside our Brooklyn apartment. Maybe it rattled our windows, shut against the heat. Maybe the sound was masked by the hum of our old AC. If the second boom was audible, we paid no attention to it. My wife was at home on maternity leave, I was taking some time off, and we were preoccupied with something more immediately important: giving our little six-month-old daughter breakfast and getting her ready for the day. With nothing but a clear blue September sky outside, it was shaping up to be a beautiful one.

A little while later, as I was lifting our girl out of her bath, my wife’s sister called, frantic, asking if we were all right. Of course we were all right, my wife said; why wouldn’t we be?

Do you even know what’s going on? asked her sister. When it was clear we didn’t, she said: turn on the radio.

And then Bob Edwards on NPR was telling us that the World Trade Center was gone. Continue reading

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