Harmful Things We Say To Our Daughters Without Even Realizing It

5 Harmful Things We Say To Our Daughters Without Even Realizing It

Nature versus nurture makes a huge difference.

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"Public issue or personal problem" was first coined by C. Wright Mills as the "sociological imagination." This basically means that often what we assume at first glance to be the individual's shortcomings actually point to a larger social issue. In other words, nature vs. nurture.

Today, the most common argument against feminism is that men and women are just made differently, plain and simple. And in some ways, this is true. Biologically, there are differences. But I think it is just wrong to say that generalized and umbrella stereotypes about women's personalities and emotions stem from something inherent in us that makes us inferior to men. I think a lot of it has to do to how we are raised in a society with rampant indoctrinated sexism.

I'll prove it: below, you'll see five common things that we say to our daughters (and, with slightly different wordings, to our sons) which completely form how girls see themselves and how they learn to behave.

1. "He's mean to you because he likes you."

This is a common explanation when little girls as young as 5 complain about boys bullying them on the playground. This may seem innocent enough, but actually, it teaches girls from a very young age to associate affection and love with violence or meanness. So, it's no surprise that women are assumed to be meek and men are supposed to be physically assertive! When you tell girls how to behave from a young age, in this case, to let a boy be mean to you and don't stand up for yourself, it's no surprise that society at large reflects these trends.

2. "One day you'll find your Prince Charming!"

This statement implies that something is missing from girls' lives, that they need someone else to make them whole! Basically, it implies that the kingdom cannot work without the prince. But girls are their own princesses, not damsels in distress, so we should be teaching them that one day, they will become their own queens, and that's enough.

3. "Calm down."

This is a popular joke and meme that serves even more to belittle women for having emotions. We've all seen (or most likely if you're a girl, been called) stories of "hysterical women." But the truth is, there is no shame in sharing emotions, and there is no embarrassment or hysteria in reacting to frustrating situations. Our society associates emotion with women and logic with men, but they should not be mutually exclusive.

4. Any reference ever to our biology.

If you're not a girl, you'd be shocked and dismayed at how many times a woman's period is brought up in conversation. But news flash, just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm hormonal. Since I can remember, my biology, my menstrual cycle, and other parts of my physique have been considered a downfall, a struggle, and a handicap. But why do we have to think of them this way? My physical body may be "nature" but the way people react to it, the discomfort that all men have when talking about periods and tampons (Also, why?) and many more situations like this are all instances of "nurture," of society's discriminatory perspective of the sexes.

5. "Boys will be boys."

This is again bad for girls because it tells them that boys get a free pass for everything they do wrong, while girls are expected to be in constant control. BUT, this is also really bad for boys; they are taught that they are incapable of self-control, and, like animals, rely on only instinct. We are stifling boys by keeping them from reaching their true capacity because we tell them and everyone around them that when it comes to girls, sex, etc., they just can't help but obey their biology. But let me ask you this: if society is right and there is something naturally different about men and women (that also makes men superior), why is it that they can't even be expected to respect "no means no'"?

Making change starts at the nuclear level. We have to start watching what we say to our daughters, because if we can correct the problem before it even starts if we can reroute patterns that haven't been created yet, it will start getting easier and easier to move toward equality.

Patriarchal systems are just as bad for men as they are for women, whether we realize that or not. And the truth is, there is a huge need for men to advocate for women's rights. One thing we don't realize is that equality isn't a finite value like a pizza — it's not as though if I, a girl, got a slice, my male counterpart wouldn't get one! We are one human race, and what is good for some of us is actually good for us all.

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The Ins And Outs Of Imposter Syndrome And How It Affects Women Of Color

We're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers.

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First things first I want to tell you what Imposter Syndrome is not. I know there are plenty of articles that discuss self-confidence through body image but I can guarantee you that's not what I'm talking about here. That could be another article for another day, perhaps. It's also not just a feeling of "oh, dang, I could've done that better" or "I wish I'd done that differently." It must also be noted that this is less of an actual disorder and more of a condition if you will.

What Imposter Syndrome actually is is feeling like nothing you accomplish is actually worth anything and that everything you've achieved is because of luck, not because of the work you put into it. It's always feeling like you're going to be exposed or found out for not actually being as intelligent or successful as you seem or as you say you are.

But how does this manifest in everyday life you ask? Well, of course, I am here to provide some examples.

Whenever I have a project due in one of my journalism classes, I make sure to listen to the instructions when it's being introduced. I always go back and read over the syllabus when completing my projects. I take the tips and tricks into account. I follow all of the guidelines I was given and I always try to put my best foot forward. Yet, I still always feel like I'm doing everything incorrectly or that I'm forgetting something. I feel like no matter what my professor is going to hate it and I'm going to get a bad grade.

Or it can manifest as whenever I try to apply for a job I have a hard time describing my skills or past work experience because I feel like I haven't really done anything relevant. I also don't really feel like I have many skills if any. I always remember that someone is going to have more experience or a better portfolio or a better resume. Whenever I remember that it can leave me feeling inadequate and like I don't belong. Like everyone else is a hireable employee and like I'm a poser.

I think this has a lot to do with the fact that, as a woman, you're socialized to put other people's needs and wants before your own whether that be celebrating other people's accomplishments or helping other people bounce back from failure. But you never really gain the skills to be that same support for yourself, at least not without years of work and undoing the internalized misogyny you've faced. Also because we've been socialized this way it can leave you feeling like you don't deserve anything good because the people around you haven't gotten there's yet. And that can be extremely difficult to break through.

As for people of color, because we're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers, we're always so used to exerting so much energy. But the moment you actually get recognized for your hard work can be jarring because you might feel like you weren't working as hard you could be and don't deserve it. Or that you got lucky this time but soon everyone is gonna find out the truth and you're gonna be exposed as a fraud or an underachiever.

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