Dear little girl,
When I was born
I was born into a world of conditions
And because of tradition, and societal ambition
I grew up within the confines of my sex
For as a girl, I had to be different from the boys.
So I was taught to accept life’s sorrows and accept life’s joys
Knowing and showing others how a lady acts
Because the fact is,
There are rules that every girl must follow.
Unspoken, but clear. Denied, Yet revered.
And just as I feared
I became confined to these rules:
Be strong, but not too strong
The boys cannot feel overpowered, or devoured by your womanly strength.
For if your opinions are too loud and clear
Even if you feel they can’t hear you above your whisper
Boys will fear you.
And although we are taught it is better to be feared than loved,
We cannot exist without the love of a man.
And little girl,
You don’t want that,
To impact the world around you
It is better to be weak
Filter the words that you speak,
Or just don’t speak.
Be proud, but not too proud
For pride is not meant for you.
See, a prideful girl is not a pretty girl.
And you know how boys are.
They will complain, call you vain, conceited
Put to shame that needed flame,
Placing blame on who you are
Far before they know your name.
Do not overstep your bounds, which abound with underserved humility.
Shrink back from arguments,
For you are not meant to feel confident in your opinions.
So to prevent friction
It is better to leave pride at the door,
Accept forced humility
For stability is more important than self-confidence.
Be smart, but not too smart.
For no one likes a know-it-all
And even when you know-it-all
Let the boys answer the question.
And question them,
Only to ask for help.
See, they like to be the knight in shining armor
Even when the damsel is not distressed
Even when she has impressed her teacher with her knack for Calculus.
Learn measurements to cook, and biology to clean
And if it seems like the material is too hard
That is because you aren’t smart enough to know it anyway.
You can read and write, because boys will want love notes.
But the only chemistry you will need to succeed,
Is on your first date with the boy in basic math.
If you find that you are smarter,
It is better to be married and uneducated
Then single and vindicated by your wealth of knowledge.
Be ambitious, but not too ambitious.
For most jobs aren’t meant for you.
See, women aren’t meant to lead
And I know you need dreams
So dream and deem yourself worthy
Of one day serving your husband
In your very own kitchen.
That is why men work because they are made to have a career
And not to fear,
For you will always have a place within the family.
But let your husband feel manly.
Bury the skills you have and be glad
To stay at home.
Little girls can dream
In their days spent alone, cooking and cleaning
And looking to please their husband.
But if ambition clouds your judgement,
Turn and run, and one by one,
You will no longer be pestered by those meaningless desires
Success does not come
To a woman who does not know her place.
Now as you go out into the world, little girl
You have a choice.
You can choose to follow these rules
As I did for so long.
You can be more, than so many women before you
Who did not choose unwisely,
But chose precisely what they thought they had to choose.
And baby, you can’t lose,
For who’s going to stop you if you don’t let them?
See, they told me and my mother and her mother before
That before you could get more out of life
You had to be less.
But you know best,
So drown out the sounds of those around you,
And listen to my words.
For these are the rules I now live by:
Be strong, and never be ashamed of your strength
For sometimes, you will be the strongest one
And you will be there to assist those in need.
And sometimes being strong
Means admitting that you need help.
Be proud, of yourself and those who came before you.
And before you go outside, remember your pride,
Remember to stand tall and confident
And don’t resent those who resent you.
Because it’s often true
That they are not proud of themselves.
Be smart and ambitious
Attack each problem, and be vicious.
Choose to be the best, to ace each test, to surpass the rest
Unless you find that you have lost sight of your dream.
For it seems that that is easy to do.
But for you.
My strong, confident, brilliant, and motivated
You can change the world.