Sunday, October 11, 2015

Girls Who Get It

This weekend (like most weekends), my daughter competed in an equestrian event. It was a fairly big ("USEA recognized") competition and, as often happens, they were running a little late. This meant that she and her horse were ready and adequately warmed up for her stadium jump course about twenty minutes before she was actually able to do said stadium jump course. 

And this meant that my usually unflappable girl was starting to get nervous.

One of the two coaches who was with us tried to distract her. First, she suggested that my daughter offer cross-country tips to a younger rider who would be competing later in the afternoon. Then she asked about college applications.

Alas, when you're an eighteen-year-old high school senior, all roads lead to questions about college applications.

"What are you writing your essay on?" asked the coach.

"The ERA," replied my daughter, circling her horse to keep him from getting bored or lazy or distracted or all of the above.

"What's that?" asked the coach.

"That," I interjected, "Is the problem. You don't know what it is because we ain't got it yet."

It's not this young woman's fault, mind you. (She's actually extremely bright and capable, having recently graduated from college and currently working as a special ed teacher when she isn't coaching young equestrians.) It's neither cool nor commonplace for her generation to identify as feminist.

Growing up on Manhattan's upper westside in the liberal and activist 1970s, we all knew what the ERA was. In fact, at a very young age, I marched in protest and solidarity alongside friends and their feminist mothers. It worries me to no end that today's girls and young women are so disengaged with the issue of women's rights.

For those of you who may think Lovin' the Alien is becoming redundant (see last month's "The Good Witch and the F-Word") ... fear not! I have good news this time.

In the summer of 2014, SheKnows Media launched a program to introduce the concept of feminism to a group of tween girls. Many of them didn't know what the term meant (one young lady asserted that she'd never even heard it before). After a year of workshops and exercises, these girls now self-dentify as feminists and have very clear definitions. 

"Feminism is everyone being equal whether they're a boy or a girl."

"Just because of our gender doesn't mean we should be treated differently."

And, most exciting, the concept has made them feel more empowered, not less.

"I believe women can do anything."

"Feminism has given me more confidence than I thought possible."

And my favorite ... "Being feminist just gives you that aura of greatness."

You go, girls!  

Watch a quick video here. Then start using the f-word with your daughters.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my book  Lovin' the Alien at 

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