As we sat for dinner last night my junior high daughter started running through her frustrations with the day.
I was surprised when she said two of her female friends don’t think a woman should be president.
She was caught off guard by these statements, as well, and was furious at the thought. The girls, most likely, repeating something said by their parents believe a woman can’t hold the role of president because of their menstrual cycle.
This isn’t a new concept, its not like we haven’t heard it before. Even when I asked my junior high daughter why they didn’t believe a female could be president; she shrugged her shoulders and sighed, like this was the obvious reason. It sadly apparently isn’t a new thought to her either.
I’m uncertain why I was so shocked by this. I’m not ignorant enough to believe that females are equal in any way in this country. I know sexism is still alive in 2016. For some reason, I just hoped that some of the more ignorant thoughts on woman as a whole had disappeared.
And I think there is only a small portion of people who would post a statement like this in social media or blurt it out at a dinner party. Unfortunately, I question how many people say it quietly behind closed doors in their homes.
What is truly horrifying about this thought is the young girls who live in these households and hear these thoughts. We can fight the legal system and politicians to enforce laws and policies to protect women but it is impossible to reach into the homes of young women and change the way they are raised.
This mindset continues a spiraling perception in society and among women that we are not worthy. That we are merely objects.
When parents tell their daughters that a woman can’t be president, they are telling them that they are second-class citizens, unable to accomplish jobs that entail leadership and intelligence.
I see very few men in these blogs struggling with body image. Don’t get me wrong, there are some but it does seem to be a majority of women.
A system that sometimes starts in our very homes has taught us that our image is by far one of the most, if not the most important things about us.. It tells us that we can’t very well offer anything more to society. Yet, at the same time a girl who is following the traditional rules of image often will be outcast as only getting where she is by how she looks.
There are far more important things in life than our image. Far more. Our health, our wisdom, our ability to make decisions that change the lives of others, our ability to connect with other people, our intelligence, our faith in whatever we have faith in, our examples, our kindness, the list could go on for hours.
It is unbelievably sad that a stumbling block for many of us to achieve the things above is our inability to overcome the anxiety, depression and self-loathing that we have for our body image.
It is not your fault. It isn’t. Plain and simple, you did not wake up one day obsessed with your body image. You were placed into a society that constantly around every corner told you, you should be. For most of us, that idea started when we were young.
If not for ourselves, we have to overcome this. We have to fight this for the next generation. We have to lift that burden from the girls who follow us so that they can accomplish more of the things that are truly important in this world. This isn’t just your fight, it is not just mine, it is societies.