Women… AKA The Weaker Sex.
I don’t deny that a good deal of men are physically stronger than women. Sure, they could beat me in an arm wrestling match, but true strength… it comes from within.
Thankfully, the term the weaker sex isn’t in use much these days, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not implied in plenty of situations. With three girls growing up in my house, I try to make it evident to them that they are anything but the weaker sex.
I am more than eager to share with my girls the fact that I played soccer for 30 years, was on my high school and college basketball teams and am quite a good boxer. I work in a field where it is 80% men, and I am the only female senior technical operator in my office.
Girls can do anything.
But it's not always easy to get that message across. When magazines are selling women as though they are products and stores are telling little girls they need padded bras at the age of 8, the message gets lost. So then what?
Talk. If a company is going to try and sell my 8 year old a padded bra, I am going to talk to my 8 year old about why she doesn't need a padded bra. If a magazine is going to show images of women with impossibly small waistlines and increasingly larger breasts, I am going to show them the secrets of photo shop. The American Medical Association has officially condemned Photoshopping. What more of a message do advertisers need?
With the media telling my girls that sex is power, I am in the other ear telling them that brains are power; good grades make for endless possibilities.
Thankfully, some marketers have good messages too. Take the Dove Movement for Self Esteem. If more advertisers got on board with a campaign like this, imagine how empowered our children could be. Dove isn’t the only one either, check out these other ads with positive messages.
I read an article about How to Talk to Little Girls. It stated that when we first meet a little girl, we are inclined to tell them how pretty they are and that we should start talking to them about their favourite books and ask them what their favourite subject is in school. While I agree with this philosophy to an extent, I think that self esteem is one of the major issues with little girls.
Girls worry about looking good (as do boys), and giving them a little reassurance is never a bad thing. Sure, being pretty is not as important as good health or being happy, and certainly it shouldn’t be the main focus of a child’s life, but a positive comment is always a welcome self esteem booster.
I often compliment my girls and tell them they are beautiful. I also explain that they are beautiful both inside and out. I tell them that being beautiful on the inside, being a good person, a truthful person and loving person makes their outside beauty shine. They also know that a person who is only pretty on the outside, but isn’t a nice person, will never truly be beautiful.
Our children are easily influenced for sure, but advertisers are only there as many hours as you allow them to be. The biggest influences are coming from your house, the classroom and the school yard, so talk to your girls. Let them know that you are there if they want to talk about anything.
And that there doesn’t have to be a weaker sex.