Girls grew up being told they could be anything. But what they heard is that they had to be everything.
For my generation, the expectations on girls are to be ambitious, smart, pretty, socially active, athletic, kind, and liked by everyone. To succeed in education and career, but also to succeed by female standards of beauty and motherhood. Superhuman.
I want a different world for my daughter.
Yet I know we will never live in a world where society’s only expectation of my daughter is for her to stand in her own power, without taking any thought on what her thighs or lashes look like while doing so.
These societal expectations are so pervasive, they can’t be muted or ignored. But can we teach our daughters to not place any stock in those expectations? Can we show them that they are meaningless?
Can we model for them what it looks like to acknowledge—yet place no value on—societal norms for women?
Can we consistently and confidently choose Option B instead of status-quo Option A, and trust that we, through God, know our own correct paths?
Can we wear makeup when we want, but really feel just as beautiful without?
Can we dance—full out—and not even take thought what all our curves look like to others dancing with us?
Can we show through our own deeds that setting healthy boundaries is actually the kinder, more loving and authentic (not “nicer”) thing to do?
Can we be deeply happy for another’s success, without jealousy, but with pure love and support?
Can we shelter our daughters from feeling they “have to be everything” by showing them how much the world’s expectations mean nothing to us? And not only that they mean nothing, but that we can still be happy and at peace while ignoring them?
And most importantly, can we model all of the above if we are still healing ourselves?
One of the extraordinary things my generation will do is to show our daughters how to break free from the world’s expectations so that they can do even more extraordinary things in their generation.