A letter for my daughter

 

On January 31, 2018, my daughter sent me this draft of her declaration for her english class at school.  Proud doesn’t begin to express how I feel. For all our daughters and ourselves, I share with you the words of a powerful and strong young woman.

 

January 30, 2018

A Letter for My Daughter

by Jordan Manning

 

“Jordan, that’s not ladylike.”

I’m sorry, I’m 8-years-old. I’m not a lady yet.

“Jordan, you throw like a girl.”

What are you talking about? Tom Brady throws like me.

“Jordan, you’re such a delicate flower.”

What does that mean? Flowers can’t do anything. They just sit there and look

pretty until someone plucks them and they slowly die. I’m not a flower.

“Jordan, that wasn’t very polite.”

I thought I was supposed to stand up for myself?

***

Society, don’t you dare try and change my daughter.

You’ve tried to change me so many times. You’ve even been successful once or twice.

But she’s the future and she’s where change starts.

Society, your standards for women have become a tool for oppression.

A self-conscious devil on the shoulder, reminding girls where you think they belong.

Society, you need to change.

***

In middle school, my friend was asked to change her shirt at the nurses office

because her shoulders were showing.

She missed the rest of science class.

Why?

Why is it my friend’s fault if her bare shoulders are distracting?

She was born that way. Telling her to hide herself from the rest of the class is not a

solution to a problem. Teaching girls to hide and shrink themselves is to say that we

were born the wrong way.

There’s something wrong with us?

How about we raise our boys to not be distracted by a girls shoulders.

There is nothing sexy or provocative about a shoulder.

So was my friend really the problem?

Every time we force girls to make themselves change in order to make up for our

inability to correct society, more problems erupt.

Why is a girl’s education less important because she has to leave class to change while

boys, who caused the concern in the first place, can remain in class?

Boys will be boys .

And girls will be whatever we need them to be.

***

Freshman year, my health teacher taught the girls in my class how to hold a solo cup in a

way that our hands protected the cup from roofies.

She told us to never lose sight of our drinks at a party.

She told us that of all the girls in the class, statistics showed that at least one of us would

be sexually assaulted in college.

***

Dear Society,

Stop training girls to adapt to the way you have allowed America to become.

Don’t prepare girls for college.

Don’t prepare girls for the real world.

Teach college how to behave.

Teach the real world respect and equality.

You told me:

Take small bites.

Salads are attractive.

Makeup is attractive.

Look good, feel good.

Carbs are the enemy.

It’s a man’s world.

Did I mention makeup is attractive?

Society, why are there standards in the first place.

If I don’t follow this etiquette am I below standard?

***

To my daughter,

Go on a date and eat the biggest burger on the menu.

Go to prom without makeup.

Wear sweatpants to school.

Practice the bench press until it is truly impressive.

Eat your favorite pasta like an animal.

Be the first female President of the United States.

Use your outside voice.

Rise above hate.

Be a strong woman.

Be polite, but stand up for yourself and others.

Play sports. You and I are a team.

Don’t be a delicate flower. Be a cactus.

Don’t worry about being ladylike. Be kind.

Don’t let American society change you.

You were born perfect.

 

Show off your shoulders.

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