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How We Teach Girls That Their Feelings Don’t Matter

How We Teach Girls That Their Feelings Don't Matter

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How We Teach Girls That Their Feelings Don’t Matter

I was reading this post today and I was in awe of the conclusion that this mom made.  There are so many instances in society where we devalue girls and their opinions or feelings, but sometimes they are so ingrained that they slip past us entirely.  That’s why I’m thankful for moms like this, who make us think about those little details that we may have overlooked.  As women, we have to think critically about how we raise our daughters and sons in this overtly sexist world and we have to give them the open-minded freedom to make choices that we couldn’t make at their age.

In the article mentioned above, a mother talks about her daughter being bullied on the playground and her frustration at the reactions of parents and teachers who find the bullying not only acceptable, but a source of flattery for her daughter.  It’s ok that a boy hits, teases or makes fun of a girl because “that just means he likes you”.  In light of the events with Chris Brown and the standing O he’s pretty much gotten for his ‘amazing’ comeback, I have to wonder how much this kind of talk really affects our girls.

I know that for me, I never knew that I could speak up when I was young.  If a guy hit me, if he put his hands where they shouldn’t be, I didn’t know that I had the right to speak out.  I didn’t know that.  I didn’t feel that my concerns were big enough to warrant a reaction from anyone and as a girl, I always questioned myself as to whether my concerns were worth being worried about.  Was I making too much of things?  Was making my feelings known going to upset someone else?  Would I cause more trouble than if I just suffered in silence?

How is it that so many girls fit into this mold?  I hate that I was one of those girls.  I hate that I was strong and independent, but still not strong enough to stop boys from hurting me.  How is it that I could be so strong and independent and yet allow a boy to make me feel so powerless?

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by their partners each year and 85% of all domestic violence victims are women. And according to WomenofSubstance.org38% of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18…that’s more than 1 in 3 of our girls!

Why doesn’t society see this as a sign that something’s wrong?  Why don’t we change the way we raise our daughters, and more importantly, the way we raise our sons?

Too many times the finger is pointed at women, shaming and blaming us, making us believe that it’s ok to feel less than whole…to suffer in silence and “keep the peace”.  Enough is enough.  Mujeres, we can’t let this go on for another generation.

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  • Maria Adcock
    February 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Such sad statistics. I think as a kid I would not have spoken out, too, because I had to "behave" and basically not rock the boat.

  • ezzylanguzzi
    February 17, 2012 at 1:51 am

    These are staggering statistics, Chantilly. I think there's so much that's mentally engrained in us by the media and how differently adults treat boys and girls, spoken and unspoken, that by the time we mujeres come of age, we can't help but feel less than, inferior. The disparity in pay between the genders, today, is a perfect example. WHY? It takes a strong mother and father who's "present and believes" it's important to raise children who don't inherit these crippling views. Excellent post. Change begins here.

    • biculturalmom
      February 24, 2012 at 12:19 am

       @ezzylanguzzi Totally agree!  Thanks so much Ezzy.  It definitely takes active parenting to overcome these beliefs that are so ingrained.  I'm so proud to see how many parents in our generation are questioning the norms.  <3

  • Jennifer
    February 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for a great post, Chantilly. Too many girls, and women, don’t feel they have the right to speak up when they are subjected to something they don’t want – and too much blame is put on them. We absolutely need to make sure to raise coming generations differently!

    • biculturalmom
      February 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Jennifer.  Speaking up is sooo important.  I'm so glad to be among so many strong, amazing women online.  It's definitely up to us!  :)

  • Tara Castillo
    February 21, 2012 at 3:06 am

    I loved your post. It saddens me but needed to be shouted from the rooftops! I'm so glad you wrote about this topic. It is one I'm passionate about. I was shy growing up and there were times, I should have spoken out but didn't. Boy have things changed. I know it is okay for me to do so and just let any one try to touch or speak to me in a violent way. It is so important for us to teach our children both girls and boys what is "right!" I agree with Ezzy… "change starts here!"

    • biculturalmom
      February 24, 2012 at 12:22 am

       @Tara Castillo Well said amiga!  I love the all these strong analytical women in the blogosphere!  I wish that it was easier to talk about these issues together in the real world.  Many times I think that women rule the internet because of sexism…this online world is one where we can truly speak our minds.  <3

  • biculturalmom
    February 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

     @Maria Adcock Totally agree Maria.  I think speaking out as a young girl can be intimidating for sure.  <3

  • K
    March 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    We should remember as we scream from the rooftops that the topic is complicated.  Sometimes women don't leave the men because there i s no "proof" and they don't want the kids alone with the men during visitation. If a friend asks your opinion listen and think first.  There may be things she will have to do first before leaving him.   

    • biculturalmom
      March 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Very good points.  Thank you for sharing.  I think it's so incredibly disappointing that a woman too often has to consider staying in an abusive relationship because of all the complications like the one you mentioned above.  I have a friend also, who is separated, but afraid to get a divorce because she would lose control over where and how her children would spend time with their father, not to mention, many other issues to deal with.  It just seems that there should be more ways to protect women, but even with all the resources out there, it's still just not good enough.

  • Darryl
    August 27, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Wow. My extended family is pretty much a matriarchy run by my mom and aunt, and my two grandmothers before that. I can't even imagine girls being raised like this.

    I don't have any sisters, but my female cousins are bad-asses. Tomboys in childhood, athletes in adolescence, mothers, wives and corporate powerhouses in adulthood. Men respect and/or fear them, and their husbands are strong and supportive.

    Maybe economic class is the defining element here. I realize that this isn't the way it is for a lot of women, perhaps most, and I believe the statistics, but it dismays me. Hopefully as a society we'll continue to make progress until we move beyond this garbage.

    Women, as wives and mothers, have the chance to have the greatest impact on these issues. First by finding and choosing men who are worthy of their trust, and second by raising their children not to victimize or be victims. It can't happen fast enough for my liking.

  • Camila
    September 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Sería genial si pudieras hacer una nota así en español :) ¿O tienes otras así?

    • Chantilly Patiño
      Chantilly Pati&ntild
      September 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Gracias Camila! Hablo un poco en español, pero escribir es más difícil que hablar. Voy a tratar de traducir este blog post y gracias por tu comentario! :)

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