I’m a feminist. Since like…birth. Which essentially means I’ve been on my own side, for my own team, my whole life. And when I was pregnant with Gia I couldn’t wait to raise her to be one, as well.
As I sat this morning, thinking about International Women’s Day, I couldn’t help but reflect on what today means for my daughter.
We are all very aware that little girls receive an obnoxious amount of unhealthy messages; pressuring and enticing them to practice conformity, which often leads to compromising far more than one’s sense of self. The stakes are high, as is the pressure to achieve the impossible anatomically (naturally), to be everyone’s friend, to fit in…to smile. The visual of a successful life is finely laid out for these little girls and it comes pre-packaged in a glittery must-have for your unboxing pleasure later on YouTube.
Take the weight of all of that, magnify it ten fold and that’s what a little girl on the spectrum experiences. In addition to all of the aforementioned messages (that they are very capable of understanding), autistic girls are often told to stop being yourself, look and act “normal” and practice conformity and compliance at all costs. A fun game for healthy boundary setting and self-esteem later on in life.
So, here’s my message to every little girl today and every single day. Be you. Let me say that again, BE YOU.
If that means loving the heck out of science, do it up. If you love to dance, dance your little heart out. If you communicate non-verbally, wonderful! I get bored of hearing people talk anyways. If you stim in a big way, love it! I challenge any one of you to not smile when my daughter does her happy stim. Dress the way that best represents you. If you play with dolls at thirteen, excellent. We should never truly grow up, anyways.
Am I succeeding at raising Gia to be a feminist? Check.
I accomplish this every day when I encourage her to be unapologetically herself, that she too can say, NO and know that her NO is going to be respected. We celebrate her individuality, uniqueness and her abilities.
I’m also raising my son to be a feminist, but I’m sure there are word limits to these posts, so thats for another time.
“Women should be two things: who and what she wants.”
Happy Women’s Day to every little girl. Be brave. Be kind. Be you.