Updated: Dec 12, 2019
When I was a little girl I loved many activities commonly associated with boys. I wanted a Scalex-tric slot car set (and I was mighty unhappy I never got one), I loved playing cricket outside on the road with the boys in our street and I loved being outside, camping and running wild in the bush. I was your typical TomBoy and I saw nothing wrong with it.
I loved the typical "girly" things too like my Baby Tears doll, the dresses and Oh My God, the awesome full circle skirt my grandmother made me, which, as it says, opened to a FULL circle when I spun around in it - heaven.
I desperately wanted a Baby Chrissy too but had to settle for playing with my friend Linda's because they were expensive and I was one of three sisters and we wanted one each.
I had the privilege of growing up in the 70's and 80's where there was not so much pressure on kids and there were awesome amounts of freedom.
Somewhere along the way my "femaleness" became the more dominant side of me, although I am not your typical female. I still have a bit of a blokey side about me (my humour is decidedly off-colour) and I now have my eyes set on a tractor with all the attachments that my 5' 2" frame can drive and manage.
All this is well and good and the seemingly ideal childhood that many of us had at that time. But where did the rules change and the rule book kick-in?
Where did the rule book governing my life (not-so-gently) swing from freedom, childhood innocence and a surety of my place in the world to a life of rules (unseen but very much known). When did it change to that of second class citizen, unintelligent (I'm blonde), unworthy of respect and a vehicle of free domestic labour?
Where does it say that I (and my fellow women) become bit players in life after a certain age?
Where does it say that I (and my fellow women) have to be prepared for sexual harassment, inappropriate touching by a "great Guy" of a P.E. teacher and guys at the night club and we should not make a fuss about it?
I want to know who wrote the rule book that says that once a woman gives birth she then also becomes the mother to all the other people in the house hold despite their age and previous role in the house?
Where is the "travelator" located that all boys and girls must line up to get on to be assessed by "the rule writers" as having the correct genitalia (therefore choices) around the long established gender roles we still have in our society?
At what exact stage do the hopes and dreams of little girls get shoved to the background, largely remaining unfulfilled, because society has much different plans for them?
Plans that, more often than not, involve being devalued by society, becoming unseen and unheard and if you become a mother, being rendered as of no higher worth than a domestic cleaner.
Where is that little girl who had dreams of more?
She may be buried deep under a ton of societal expectations, years of disrespect and resignation to her "lot in life" but she's still in there - somewhere!
She still has her hopes and dreams firmly embedded in her DNA. She still has just enough spunk to be able to breathe a smidgen of life into herself and them.
She knows somewhere deep inside that she deserves SO MUCH MORE and she know that somewhere she has a glimmer of strength to nurture to go after her dreams and demand respect, equality and partnership from those in her life and from life itself.
Now as an adult woman I am called "lucky" because I have partnered with a man who was taught to look after himself from a young age, by his enlightened mother. My "little girl" is treated with love and respect but that should not be an exception to the overwhelming rule. I am not "lucky" to be treated as all women should be by my partner. I absolutely deserve to be treated this way. As does he. Neither of us has "lost" ourselves or our hopes and dreams, or has become a "lesser person" just because we are in a marriage. I am no his mother, he is not my father and we don't treat each other as such.
This is how it SHOULD be.
YOU deserve to live your life with love, respect, equality, and dignity as your constant companions.
YOU deserve to live your life as you choose it to be.
You owe it to yourself to expect better of society and the out-dated roles it has assigned to you.
You owe it to yourself to demand respect from the world you live in.
You owe it to yourself to nurture, love and encourage that little girl who dreamt of so much more for herself.
YOU DO NOT OWE ANYONE ANYTHING!
The only person you owe anything to is YOU.
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