Earlier this week I took to twitter to rant about how upset I was that she (as well as man other young girls) are being told that the hobbies they are into aren’t considered, ‘Lady like’ after my niece told me of the trouble she is having in school dealing with the same issue.
I can relate to this, because I was once a young girl who was told that I shouldn’t dress a certain way, act a certain way or like the things that I liked. Growing up, I used to rough house with my brother on a daily basis, loved science and history, played video games and read comics on a daily basis and built Lego’s until high school.
So, I took it upon myself to write an open letter to the young girls that are currently in this situation:
My Dear Future Star,
I know many of your interests aren’t liked much by your peers. From your intense love of science, to the love of football you share with your brothers. Your teachers (and possibly your parents) don’t think its ‘lady like’ to use power tools for your science projects, and your girly classmates think you’re ‘dirty’ because of how hard you play in gym and how messy you are after you finish your labs in science.
You may also be outcast by the girls because you saw the NFL Playoffs and was talking about it with the boys before having an intense conversation about Fallout 4’s storyline and gameplay. The game was so good, you searched YouTube to learn simple ways to code so you’d be able to make your own video game to put up on a gaming site online, catching onto it quickly because of your advanced math skills.
Your dad’s had so many cars over the years, you happened to learn all the names of the cars and the engines after the frequent visits to the mechanic due to random malfunctions. This happens to make the guys in school think you are much more interesting, but not to flirt. Many of them are intrigued that a girl is into mechanics and playing with cars. In return, the girls made you feel ugly and horrible because all they could talk about was the flavor of the month and the best lipstick for their skin tone. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s all they had to bring to the table.
Despite all of this, you manage a great set of grades, but have become insecure because of the constant judgement and bullying. Just hang in there! Everyone will have an opinion about what you do. This shouldn’t stop you from being great. Those messy days in the science lab, your love of games and your ability to learn and teach yourself and your advanced math skills (to name a few) will pay off with good grades, a good degree and a great paying career that you’ll love to go to everyday. If they don’t already, your parents will understand that one day when they realize that you are doing things that you love.
Besides, isn’t it better doing what you like to do instead of what people want you to do?
Imagine if Mae Jemison (American physician and NASA astronaut known for being the first black woman to travel in space), Marie Maynard Daly (the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry) and Patricia Bath (first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention) decided not to pursue what they loved because it wasn’t ‘Lady like’? They would’ve never been able to pave the way for the later generations of science lovers to have the same (or similar) opportunites.
Don’t give up and find ways to continue loving what you love whether people understand it or not.