An Open Letter To My Daughters
To my daughters
Yesterday a million women marched for “Women’s Rights.” The streets of Washington overflowed with a kaleidoscope of colorful signs. The air was thick with the noise of protest – of the sound of so-called “change.” As a woman, I can see the alluring energy a march like this might hold for you. Who doesn’t want to be a part of something bigger than themselves? Who doesn’t want to be a part of history in the making?
It’s easy to look at these women, some of whom I’ve heard you sing along with in the car, and be caught up in the glitz and the glamor.
Yesterday a march was held, but today you will be asked to make a choice. These women will try to sway you; they will say that your value as a person, as a daughter, as a woman in the making hangs in the balance. And they’ll be right. The women you choose to look up to today shapes the woman you become tomorrow. Because of this, I ask you to see past the glitter, hear beyond the loud voices, and feel more than surface deep. All that glitters is not gold.
This world will tell you that your identity is your sexuality. This world will tell you that to hold values and morals is restrictive. They will bait you with the lie that feminist power is the freedom to speak with vulgarity and dress provocatively. They will teach you that being promiscuous is a virtue. They will tell you that your worth was based wholly on the convenience of another. I’m here, as your mother, to tell you they’re wrong.
Your identity is beyond whom you choose to engage sexually with. There are so many facets to your being, that to base who you are solely on a small fraction of your personhood – is to place restrictions upon yourself.
Feminist power does not come from your breast hanging out, or your vagina on display; feminist power comes from knowing your worth. You teach people how to treat you, but how you teach them is the most important aspect of respect. Respect my dear one isn’t given – it’s earned.
Feminist power is your ability to speak life into another woman, to speak life into the world, to build hope and a future for others. Feminist power is not found in your freedom to display every inch of your body to the public while demanding that others keep their eyes on your face.
Sadly, many women of today have taken what used to be a powerful message, voiced aloud by courageous women, and have turned it into
a watered down, worthless, and demeaning demand of “entitlement” – and labeled it “Women’s Rights.”
Did you know that:
Marissa Mayer graduated from Standford with fourteen job offers, including a teaching position at Carnegie Mellon Univerisity? She accepted a job at Google where she became the company’s first female engineer. In 2012 Mayer became the CEO of Yahoo!
Ursula M. Burns was raised by a single mother in the housing projects of New York City. She started at Xerox as an intern, worked her way up the ladder to become the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Malala Yousafzai is a champion of female education in Pakistan. She survived an attempt on her life by a gunman who fired three shots at her. One bullet entered the left side of her forehead ultimately lodging itself inside her shoulder. She is the youngest recipient of the Noble Peace Prize.
J.K. Rowling took her love of writing and turned her stories about a young wizard into one of the best-selling novel series of all time.
Ann Marie “Ree” Drummond took her passion for food and became an award-winning blogger. She is a New York Times best-selling author, photographer, and television star who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma. She inspires women each day with her wit and passion for her family.
There are so many more women that I could name who used their intelligence, poise, strength, and drive to make a difference in our world -(some of them are just your average stay at home moms!)
These women are not perfect – no one is. But, the thing that I hope you see is that all of these women live in the same broken world we do; however, they saw an opportunity for change and seized it. And not one of them had to wear a vagina hat strapped to their head, or promise oral sex to do so.
I believe in you – you’ve got this.
I love you,