Here at Practical Politicking, we give the regular people a voice in politics. Here is one – Kristin McCarthy’s new column, Politics and Princesses.
On this snowy afternoon I’m sitting in my cozy, suburban bedroom watching my youngest little princess snooze away. Oh my GAWD she is so freaking perfect. Really all four of my daughters are.
I am the proud mother of four tiny, blonde beauties, all healthy, smart and adorable. Talk about blessed beyond measure right? The girls are being raised in the safety-net of the upper middle-class Midwestern ‘burbs that their father and I chose for them.
Yes, their daddy and I both went to college and earned higher education degrees. We chose family-oriented, respectable careers in education and medicine, always putting our children first. The crime rate here in our blissful bubble is damn-near non-existent, and cultural and racial tolerance are embedded in the fabric of our University town. The kids are surrounded by incredible, stable family and friends and I can honestly say that the greatest hurdle in their life thus far has been being grounded from the TV or iPad. No one gets hurt, no one is hungry, scared, or dying. Nothing truly negative has impacted their lives.
They are the fortunate ones.
Throughout their utopic upbringing mommy will be watching and monitoring their every move like a deranged hawk, ready to swoop down and peck to death anyone who tries to muck up this life that we have dreamed up for them. Our daughters will grow up and become anything they want to be someday, right?
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be teaching them?
I don’t know any more. That whole gender equality thing is basically a f**king unicorn. It doesn’t exist. I feed them these lies, but I wonder if I’m just setting them up for a real slap in the face when they leave the hawk’s nest and quickly realize that their degrees aren’t all they are cracked up to be, because they are female.
That is their crime. Even here in the mighty first world country that is the United States, they still are not as important and impressive as their male counterparts. Unless they are going to go to college and get a degree in growing a penis, they are going to be playing catch up with the opposite sex for a really long time.
According to the AAUW American women face a pay gap in nearly every possible occupation. There’s good news though; the gap is closing. Yep, by one whole percentage point in the past two years at this rate, by 2052, it should be almost entirely closed. Super. My oldest daughter will be in her forties. That won’t help her much either since the pay gap worsens with motherhood as well as with age. Hey, at least she’s white. Women of color face the trifecta of occupational doom. Aside from being female and non-white, they also face an even loftier wage gap, and struggle more with paying off student debt. All because of genetics.
So what exactly am I supposed to teach these daughters of mine? You are smart, talented and worthy, for a female? Pardon my French, but screw that shit! These girls of mine are smarter than most of the boys they know. They are empathetic, creative, and introspective, by nature as well as nurture. If they were smart, any company or sector of employment would be doing a happy dance around the boardroom at the chance to have any one of my girls on their team
And yet it breaks my heart a bit to watch this tiny two-year-old sleep in her cozy safety net here knowing I cannot keep her here forever. I can’t change the facts for her, nor can I alter the course of the universe so that she can be seen as an equal more quickly. That means her generation is going to have to take on the issue of gender equality, whether they like it or not. So you see she really needs this little nap of hers. It is going to be an uphill battle for her someday, and she is going to have to fight her way past the boys if she wants to get to the top.
Oh my sweet little princesses, you can be anything that you want to be, except a boy. Therefore, you’re going to have to be smart, stunning, creative, driven, and ruthless in a world that forever wants to oppress your amazingness.
Dad and I will do what we can. I hope we are able to raise you all with a mix of safety, security, and honesty, so that you have a fighting chance at becoming everything we know you can and should be.
Sorry about that whole not being born with a penis thing girls.