- A girl’s job is to cook and clean
- Never raise your voice
- You can never be President
- Don’t play rough because that will give you scars
- Don’t trust boys
- Always ask for help from a boy.. even if you know the answer!
These are the six things that my mama taught me growing up. First of all, family is very traditional and conservative. We are born and raised to have families. That’s it. My family follow gender roles. Women clean after men, men make the decisions, women need to be passive, gentle, dependent and nurturing. Men are the leaders, protective, independent and dominant.
Looking back, the things that I was taught (see list above) were ridiculous. Yet, I follow about 80% of them.
My mind was like a sponge then. I soaked in any information that was given to me. Everything my parents taught me, I obeyed, and growing up I believed in these silly beliefs.
I feel like I was limited to do the things I want to do — because I am a girl.
I couldn’t play the sports I wanted to because I might fall and have scars on my body. No boy would want a girl with ugly scars. We were shunned upon becoming doctors because it was too much schooling is involved (I was told that boys would not want a ‘old’ girl for being in school too long. I was also told to have children young).
I was told to ask for help even when I knew the answer (this I never did!). Boys like to feel knowledgeable, because knowledge is power.
I was taugh to never trust a boy or be alone with a boy because boys will take advantage of you. All boys will. (Again, not true!)
But, I think, one of my worst memories was when I was with my mother where we were both watching TV. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told her I wanted to be the President. I was scorned at. She told me, girls can never be President. I would be shot and in danger being the President because, I am a girl.
Now this, enraged me. What makes me different than everyone else? Why should girls be limited to what they can and cannot do? Girls are very much capable to do anything a boy can do.
But, I know better now.
I am not limited nor my actions are not defined by my gender. And this is what I will teach my children one day.
What were some things that you were taught because of your gender?