Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have a dream that we can all ban bossy.

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In honor of Gloria Steinem's 80th birthday yesterday, Women's History Month (yes, that's a thing) and the #banbossy campaign that I'm hoping never dies, I thought I'd write my own version of the "I have a dream" speech for women, only it's going to be far less eloquent and far more preachy than Dr. King's speech.  I apologize to no one.

I have a dream that one day this world will rise up and see that men and women are truly created equal.

I have a dream that one day the girl who knows what she wants, has confidence in her choices and asserts herself instead of giving into others' demands isn't labeled as "bossy," "high maintenance" or a "bitch," but rather she is called a "leader" like so many assertive men before her.

I have a dream that boys are no longer encouraged to interrupt in the classroom, causing girls to feel cut off, left out and less worthy than her male peers.

I have a dream that my nieces will be different than me, in that they will not be young girls who just assume that men start out knowing more because their whole lives it's always been the men who were the superheroes, the US presidents and the Army generals who won all those battles in the history books.  Instead they will grow up realizing the truth: everyone in this world has a whole lot to learn, and no one knows everything - and this will empower them.

I have a dream that my two nieces and two nephews will both be raised in a world where men are taught respect, manners and empathy in the same way women have been taught these traits for centuries, and that women are taught self-protection, competitiveness and self-worth in the same way men have been taught for centuries.

I have a dream that one day my nieces won't be judged by how they're willing to "think like a man," but judged on their ability to "think like a woman," and that society gets rid of this horrid lie that a successful, cunning thought is a masculine trait.

I have a dream that "girly" stops being an insult, but in the way of "manly," becomes a compliment.

I have a dream today!

That one day the tech offices of Silicon Valley and the law offices of Manhattan will have an equal ratio of estrogen to testosterone, and the woman with the master's degree in software engineering isn't asked by her male colleagues to order lunch or plan the birthday cake just because they figure that, as a woman, she's better suited to that sort of thing.

I have a dream that one day all men will be offered paternity leave in equal measure as women are offered maternity leave, so we can stop that poor excuse of why women aren't as desirable in the workplace, and so that men are given the equal opportunity to connect with their children.

I have a dream and that society never makes a man feel emasculated for taking on stereotypical female roles, because there is nothing inherently silly about what women do.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that just because a woman dyes or her hair, paints her nails or is into fashion, she doesn't have to prove her intelligence or worth any more than someone who isn't into "feminine" things.

I have a dream that stereotypically female interests aren't viewed by society as less profound than the stereotypical male pursuits of watching sports, playing video games or smoking cigars.  That we as a society stop accepting it as a given that "male" pursuits start out on a higher, more cerebral playing field than feminine ones.

I have a dream - whether she show up in bright red stilettos or knee-high combat boots - that a woman is always seen first and foremost as a force to be reckoned with, rather than merely a physical presence in the room meant to be mocked and critiqued for her lack of fulfilling some ideal.

I have a dream that one day no one will be seen as silly for having passions, emotions and drive, regardless of their gender, their body size or their marital status.

This is my dream.  This is what empowers me every day.

And now, for a little musical inspiration:

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