Earlier this week we went to look around some secondary schools in preparation for applying for places for Rebecca. It was very interesting as each school had both good and bad points in terms of academic and social factors. Debating about the schools with Rebecca led on to a very interesting conversation about what Rebecca wanted to be when she grew up. As a very normal ten year old girl, the list was very eclectic. She either wants to be an actress, a singer, a judge, a scientist or a baker! I, of course would prefer if she was a judge or a scientist, but it would be her choice. All I can do is give her the tools so that she can make informed choices and keep her options open. I did suggest that she become a singing judge but she didn’t seem too keen on that one. At least she didn’t put WAG as one of her career choices!
As someone who believes that men and women are completely equal, I have tried to instil in Rebecca the belief that she shouldn’t rely on someone else to support her, but she can stand on her own two feet and be anything she wants to be.
Thinking of Rebecca growing up and making choices which will affect her future made me think about all the other influences in her life. As she has become older, school, television and friends have also played a large part in shaping who she is. Many times she has come home sad that she doesn’t seem to fit in with her peers. She is not a “girly” girl and can’t stand anything pink or fluffy, she would much rather watch “Mythbusters” than Hannah Montana and she can beat most of the boys at hockey or tag rugby. Unfortunately, society dictates that as a girl, everything she has must be pink, fluffy or sparkly and she must be a delicate princess who waits for a handsome prince to come and rescue her. From a very early age, it seems boys and girls are conditioned by society into roles set out for them without taking into account who they are. All the magazines for her age offer free lip gloss and tips on meeting Mr Right! This is not who she is. She is more likely to think of a cunning plan to save herself and “do a MacGyver” as she puts it! It makes me sad that she is worried about showing her talents and gifts because it’s not “cool” to be clever. I point her in the direction of Kari from “Mythbusters” who is cool and clever! No one on the show looks down on her “because she’s a girl” and she gets to do everything the boys do. I also point to Merida from Brave who doesn’t sit around and wait for help, she saves her mum by herself by using her skills and talents. I was very happy when Disney released Brave as Merida was not the usual princess who looked as if she needed a good meal. Merida was a normal body size, with untameable hair and she preferred riding and shooting to sitting around looking pretty. When Disney released the revamped Merida looking more like a Disney princess used to, I was disappointed. When I saw the online petition,I signed immediately. I do not want Rebecca to grow up thinking the only way you succeed in life is to be thin, pretty and marry someone.
This week someone asked me the question, who would you like as Rebecca’s role model, Malala or Miley? What a hard decision! Someone who fights for what she believes in at whatever cost and tries to make the world better, or someone who is so desperate for publicity she will do anything to promote herself. I do feel sorry for Miley as she is so young and someone who cares for her should be trying to help her rather than exploiting her for everything they can get before she burns out. I would hope that if that was my daughter I would be doing everything in my power to protect her and help her to make the right decisions. Unfortunately it seems the people around her are more interested in how much money she can make for them than in her.
Anyway rant over. I’m off for a run. See you in the funny papers 😉