Confession: I secretly Insta-follow this one friend of a friend (‘secretly’ meaning I don’t officially follow her, but will look her up every day to see what fabulous shit she did the night before). The kicker? I don’t even like this broad.
She’s actually a mean person. I once overheard her at a party call her own sister a whore. I legitimately have no reason to care about what she’s doing. Except for the fact that she’s pretty, she wears really cute outfits, I like her hair and she does fun things on weeknights.
I’m a 32-year-old mom, lusting after the life of someone who is a vapid gossip queen. What the actual fuck is wrong with me? Oh right, I’m a woman.
If you are sitting there thinking, don’t paint all of us with that retro sexist brush honey, you’re kidding yourself. We’re all like that, in one way or another, but it’s time to stop the madness. We need to start taking preventative action amongst ourselves and the people we surround ourselves with (both in real life and online) to save our daughters’ generation.
Ok, confession #2: I never wanted a daughter.
When I was pregnant, my husband and I were convinced that we were having a boy. On New Year’s Eve, I was overdue and pissy, when a friend swung a pendulum over my belly and told me, “It’s a girl!”
“Shoot me. Seriously. If it’s a girl, I want a refund.”
See, I have an older brother and he’s the best. No drama – ever. I didn’t have to deal with him stealing my clothes or pulling my hair, tattling to mom & dad, or using verbal attacks to slowly chip away at my soul (this is how I saw the sister-sister relationship growing up). I experienced passive-aggressive female warfare through junior high, high school, university, and into the workforce and beyond – like we all have.
It can be really traumatic and girls can be viciously mean. Lather on top of that the pressure from society to be pretty, thin, sexy but not slutty (but just slutty enough to hold the attention of a long-term boyfriend), outgoing, smiley… ladies, we’re fighting an uphill battle.
A little perspective (and some slightly more balanced hormones) has rendered me extremely thankful that I have a daughter; I have the privilege of helping to create a new wave of empowered females – Ah! What’s cooler than that?
She is already a fierce woman at six months of age, my kid. But I cringe when I hear people tell her she’s beautiful or tell her they can’t wait to take her shopping or for a manicure. That shit grates on my nerves.
This girl of mine will face challenges that boys and men will never fully understand.
She will be judged on the clothes she wears, on her hair, the size of her boobs, on the number of men (or women) she chooses to be intimate with.
She will be told she’s pretty before she is complimented on her aptitude.
She will be given pink, frilly shit because she’s got a vagina.
She will be conditioned to keep her hand down in class because she’s tired of never being called on.
She’ll be told to smile because she’s “prettier when she smiles”.
She’ll be called a cunt because she’ll turn down a drink or a dance from a man.
She’ll be called a bitch for standing up for herself, for taking initiative at work, for calling out inequality.
But she will learn strength by failing. She will learn independence through heartbreak. She will learn that if someone doesn’t understand the word ‘no’, spoken or implied, a swift kick to the balls and finger jabs to the eyeballs are alternative (and effective) ways to get her point across.
But how will I teach her not to get caught up in a toxic game of compare and contrast with her peers, both online and off? It’s a question that hangs over me like a dark cloud, every time her big innocent eyes catch me scrolling through my Instagram feed.
I’m thankful I got to grow up in a world where this alternate universe didn’t exist – Where my mistakes weren’t documented online, haunting me forever. If someone had something mean to say, they’d say it to your face on the playground, but there were typically repercussions for those words.
Maybe girls in the next town over were slapping pounds of makeup on, double-cupping their boobs and pouting into their disposable cameras but it would’ve been like the proverbial tree falling in the forest… would I have been impacted by it? Probably not.
I hope my daughter will be armed with the tools she’ll need to take on the world when she comes of age and I’m completely committed to doing everything I can to provide those tools for her… even if it means abandoning my beloved phone every once in a while.
(Send lady-strength, friends. Something tells me I’ll be needing it.)
Kat Kremblewski is a new mama to a 6.5-month-old girl named Penelope. She loves wine, reality TV, Tony Robbins and hilarious irony. She is a Naturopathic Doctor and the owner of FloraWellness, a boutique health clinic in the heart of Yorkville (formally known as Yorkville Integrative Health). Follow her stumbles through life, health & motherhood on Instagram @thenaturokat.
Featured Image: Drew Barrymore via @90s.coma