My 13 year old niece has been visiting from interstate with her best friend. It’s been an education! But an interesting event took place between the two of them over a foul chess maneuver which left me thinking.
It turns out one had allegedly failed to call a “check” and what followed soon evolved to a lengthy debate on who was right, who was in the wrong, the rules of chess and the possible remedies. On and on it went.
About 5 minutes into the discussion I felt my mother’s voice welling inside of me. I was about to interject with mum’s infamous “that’s enough!” to restore “harmony” in the household when I was struck like a bolt out of the blue.
The girls were behaving exactly as any leader would expect of their followers: there was no bad language; no temper tantrum; no name calling. Just a good debate by the “wronged” on the facts of the case, what rules had been broken and what result should flow. So why bring it to a premature and unresolved ending, when they clearly were willing and able to reach a resolution (which they went on to do)?
It occurred to me that had it been my nephew and his mate, I would probably not have batted an eyelid. Boys will be boys. Yet for the girls, I had a notion of what was “appropriate” under my watch and I was ready to respond accordingly.
I wonder if this conditioning flows on to our professional lives, as I so often see senior women failing to stand their ground on issues they know to be well founded. Whether it’s fear of being a dissenting voice, a lack of confidence, or a perception of how a lady should behave, there are many women out there who struggle with this.
Yet we are educated, intelligent women with knowledge to share and passion to give. So don’t hold back. Stand your ground and stand out as a leader.
--Jen Dalitz, Damsels in Success Forum
It's funny to read this, because I know in my heart of hearts, I am very biased toward girls over boys. I am so attached to my own memories of girlhood, and I want to right all the wrongs I see in the world that hold them back. I worry not about boys, they will be fine. They will be strong and get through life just fine. But the girls... they are told they are baby factories. They are taught to play with dolls and not trucks. They are told to wear pink and not blue. They are told they won't work hard enough to succeed in math and science, or worse, that they can't understand it simply because they have two X chromosomes. They are brainwashed into believing that they must be beautiful to succeed, not smart.
If I had a daughter, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't think twice about a similar situation. I'd probably listen to the debate, and hope my daughter was out-arguing her opponent.
I don't know what I'd do if I had a son.