Dear Nice Lady Sitting In Front of Me on the 5:35pm Metra Commuter Train,
Hi. I’m the one sitting in the row behind you pretending to be listening to my earbuds but I’m not because I’m a creepy and listening to you. Haaay!
I see you are here with your daughter. Gosh, you guys look great. You are both dressed tastefully and I can tell from your ticket stub that you live in a nice area of town. She’s probably, what, 13? Based on your conversation it appears that you just took her to work today, and now that you are on your way home, you are regaling your day and explaining to her why it’s important to be respectful and considerate toward others in the workplace. Rawwwk, so cool. Nice Lady, you are a power mom. Go you!
Right now you are telling her how hard it was for you to get your job, and how thankful you are to spend your days with such nice people. And even for a squirmy 13-year-old, she is paying attention to you. She is listening to every word. Not once has she reached for a mobile device. Impressive. A couple minutes ago I wanted to toss confetti when she said “Thank you, Sir.” to the train conductor when he came around to punch tickets, even though you didn’t even bother to look up at him. She knew what to do. That girl of yours, she is On The Ball. I can tell. You are clearly doing this parenting thing right. Kudos, Nice Lady, Kudos.
Thing is, a second ago, when you were talking about your job and all, and what you had to do to get it, I heard you say something to your daughter. You said, “You have to learn to think like a man or no one will take you seriously.”
Whoa. Nice Lady, WTF was that about?
I’m probably not the best person to explain this to you from my current state of forlorness and anger towards you, so here, let’s borrow some wisdom from Tumblr:
And here is another one. And, actually, this one is an ad, which you will get a kick out of because I saw from your outgoing email address on your phone (yeah I’m nosy like that) you work at an ad agency.
Golly. Those maxi pad people know what they are doing, right?
So, that is what I want to say about that. You, Nice Lady, seem like a really cool person, and a very qualified parent, and that kid is super lucky to have you as a Mom. I might even be a little bit jealous. Please understand that it isn’t my intention to sit in judgment of your parenting, it’s just my disappointment because you are raising a girl, and that is a huge deal, and I didn’t work this hard to hold my own as a Not-Always-Nice Lady just to see you mess it up for the next generation. So get it together. Think like a woman, and quit telling girls to think like a man.
The Creepy Girl In Earbuds Sitting Behind You
HA. Awesome. …I don’t have girls, but my poor little boys get lectured so regularly about how “this song is about how people think she can’t do things because she’s a girl…isn’t that stupid?” I’m shocked they’re not starting the rant for me yet. Probably for the best I don’t have girls…I’d be insufferable.
I love that commercial. Well done.
I listen to other people’s conversations constantly. Sometimes you just want to reach out with your Plastic Woman hand and smack them upside the head.
It is unfortunate that this mother did not have the language skills to explain to her daughter that she can be herself, ambitious, and a success all in one.
Agreed. Wish I had the language skills to explain that to her without embarrassing her in front of her kid. (Thank Goodness I have a blog to vent these things, haha).
Amen to that.
LOVE. and thank you for being you.
this is going to be long – sorry. (that’s what he said.) thank you SO. MUCH. for this important post. as a teacher, i cry over this subject at least a few times a week. i have always felt that gender stereotypes and the most confusing and devastating thing people can push on their children. i yelled at a woman in walmart one time during christmas, because, as she was pushing her boy through the toy aisles, he kept reaching out and grabbing dolls… he was wearing soccer cleats and i thought it was so cool that he was free enough (at what… 4?! 5?!) to be open about wanting barbies, too. but his mom kept snatching them out and throwing them saying “BOYS DON’T LIKE DOLLS. you don’t want to be a PUSSY, do you?” and similar, even MORE shocking things. about the 3rd time she said something like that- i completely lost my mind. her son was crying uncontrollably repeating “i don’t understand, mommy….” and i ended up just getting her kicked out of the store for screaming curse words and throwing stuff, but her son…. i mean… gawd. if i could have kidnapped him right there, i would have :/ <3
it breaks my heart. my 8 year old niece loves doing hair and make up and playing soccer and wearing fake tattoos and singing and making up stories and kindly but assertively ordering people around (she’s going to run a corporation one day) and wearing fake mustaches and painting her nails. i MYSELF identify as a woman, but feel like i was skipped over when sexual orientations were given out. i have never had a preference, and i wear dresses and make up and have curly hair – and if i could grow a long, full beard and french mustache – i would be the happiest person on the planet. i’m a musician, and i box, and i sing and i wear lipstick and curse and call everybody “dude”. there is no such thing as a gender stereotype – there’s just ignorance. we are who we are <3
I love this so much! You sound a little like me, but a heap cooler! gender stereotypes are bullshit, can’t we all just live our lives as people?! <3
Well said, shellybort. We are who we are.
Maybe moms who tell their daughters to “think like a man” should spend some time watching shows like “Most Shocking: Dumbest Daredevils!!”….I have never seen a teenage girl limping away, howling, clutching her crotch after having landed on said crotch after jumping from the garage roof on a skateboard attempting (for the third time probably) to land on the trampoline…..just saying.
Thank you SO much, this is entirely perfect! I’m sharing this with every parent I know, bugger that, every human! Awesome! x
Great post Aunt Peaches … I once worked in an all female PR agency – they were the girliest women I’d ever met and consistently out did the men in every bid for jobs. They were brilliant.
It drives me nuts when people say you do something really well … for a woman. Aaaargh ….
Fil at Fil’s Place – Old songs and Memories
You’re awesome. (Can we be friends?)
Deb in Oklahoma
For what’s it’s worth (and I’m probably going to get lambasted for it), but consider this: the mom didn’t tell her daughter to ACT like a man, but to THINK like a man. I take that to mean, you’re going to have to deal with men (in a still-sadly deep-rooted patriarchal society) no matter what, so in order to manage THEM, you’re going to have understand how to think LIKE them. It’s that whole “Know thy enemy, Know thyself” from The Art of War, that ancient book by Sun Tzu. I’m not saying that than men are the enemy; I’m simply suggesting that perhaps the mom wants her daughter to understand that men are wired differently, and she needs to clue in to that in order to contend with them in corporate America. She can Helen Reddy it all she wants, but needs to understand how the opposition thinks, in order to figure out a way to work WITH them and not against them.
There are all sorts of personality tests (such as Meyers-Briggs) that help an individual figure out what their own traits are, but also, what other types of personalities they may encounter that differ from their own. These tests tend to provide great insight into how two or more very different personalities can actually work well together in a cooperative capacity and not constantly butt heads on everything. This is for both men and women.
Women shouldn’t have to suppress their “Chick in Charge” power because of any reason, especially men, but learning how to think like a man gives a woman MORE power because she can then lead the herd instead of following it. I’d bet that’s what that mother has figured out at this point in her career.
Point well taken Deb. I think we are both saying that people, regardless of sex/gender are capable of doing whatever they darn well please, so long as they take the time to figure it out. And yes, sure, for some that skill might come easier than others, but to slate that as a ‘male’ characteristic irritates me to no end. That girl deserves better. Hell, I deserve better too. We all do!
Don’t forget that there are differences between the way a woman thinks and the way a man thinks. Generally speaking it has to be acknowledged that men and women are different (equal, but different) and have different approaches to things. Men and women also use different parts of their brains to think about the same things. Study after study has proven that there is a spectrum of thought from the very extreme “Male” thought processes to the very extreme “Female” thought processes. Both men and women individually fit into this range at different points and the closer they get to the middle the closer they get to being “wired” like the opposing sex and thus Homosexuality, Bisexuality and Trans-gender tendencies can easily be explained scientifically. This is where in the past we obtained terms such as “Tom-boy” or “Sissy”, these were the ones closest to being at the center of the spectrum. At the far ends you have “Alpha-males” and “Girly-girls”. There are lots of books on the subject, but my favourite (despite the title) is “What Could He Be Thinking?” by Michael Gurian. Thinking like a man is more conducive to business dealings whereas thinking like a woman is more conducive to social interactions, this is a fact and backed up by evolution and science. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the differences between the genders, this does not mean that men are better at business than women or that women are better at social interactions, it just means that their natural thought patterns are more closely aligned with those tasks. This also does not mean that women can’t enjoy football and men can’t enjoy the ballet, but I’d bet that if those men and women who do took the test Michael Gurian advocates in his book they’d find that they are closer to the middle of the spectrum than those that prefer more “traditional” past-times. I am personally closer to the middle than 60% of women according to the studies on the subject (so 60% of women tested) which means that I tend to get along better with men, I tend to have similar complaints about women as men do and that I find women attractive physically although I am technically straight (bisexual thoughts and tendencies without action). Bias goes both ways, you assume she is perpetuating a bias towards women when in fact she may very well be advocating a scientific view of the differences between the sexes.
Made me cry. If you substituted the name of any ethic or racial group for “girl”, our society would be appalled. That it is so ingrained in our culture that the women didn’t even notice how they were being marginalized, is so tragic.
You hit the nail on the head right there. Exactly.
As a mama to a daughter now, I absolutely love this. I’ve wanted a girl for years. Now that I have one, I’m terrified of this world and all of the things that I need to teach her. I’m afraid of ignorantly, thoughtlessly wording what I think is good advice in such a way that I unknowingly suggest she is less-than because she’s a girl.
My sweet boy I’ve been raising for the past 8 years has been so much easier in this sense, though there are struggles there too. I just keep repeating “nobody is better than anybody,” with examples and stories, at his school-learned comments about girls.