You are tucked up in bed dreaming of climbing trees and Troll movies. You are wrapped up in the soft blanket of your blessed childhood, and the world is your oyster.
While you are sleeping, I have been watching Michelle Obama’s impassioned speech about the right for women and girls to be respected, to be valued, to be given the opportunity for education and equal rights. She is the First Lady of America.
You may not have heard of her, but I’m sure you will in time. She is speaking out against men in this world who do not believe that women deserve the right to be treated as equals.
You see, people have been working hard for years and years to make sure that women and girls, just like you, are made to feel strong and empowered. They have been fighting for all girls in the world to be given the right to an education, the right to enter a profession, the right to work their way up and progress in whatever job they choose.
Sadly though, there are still those men in the world who do not respect females. Those who are selfish and greedy and think they can take what they want without a second thought for the feelings and dignity of others.
Think Vector from Despicable Me: a rich, spoilt brat and a show-off who gets what he wants. Or Hans from Frozen: a power-hungry, abusive creep who wants to take over the kingdom.
That is the kind of person Michelle Obama is talking about.
But luckily you, in your protected childhood, are not aware of any of this yet. In your world, boys and girls are of equal importance, and why wouldn’t it be so?
Boys are not seen as intellectually superior at your school. They are not given more attention by the teacher because it is presumed you girls will be taking some time out of your education further down the line. You do not get boys staring at you in a way that makes you wish your body was invisible. They are not given more house points than you just because of their anatomy.
Yes, some boys like football and cars, but then so do some girls. Some girls prefer skipping and dolls, but then so do some boys. Each individual makes their own choices and nobody is yet judged.
You are not hollered at by boys passing you in the playground, making you feel uncomfortable for being made the way you are. Instead, you all play happily together, shouting your opinions and emotions at the tops of your voices. There are no inhibitions, nobody telling you your voice is not worth hearing.
All the males in your life respect you. All the males in your life respect women. But you are lucky. Sadly, it is not like this for all girls your age in the world. Your world is a bubble.
I wish I could tell you the bubble will never pop. That nothing will ever change. But unfortunately I can’t.
In time, you will realise that there are men out there who will try to demean and belittle you, simply for being female, no matter how ludicrous that sounds.
They may leer at you, shout rude remarks at you in the street, and judge you on your looks. But always remember, their ignorant thoughts are meaningless to you.
You, my darling, deserve to be shown nothing but respect. And not for how your face appears, or the shape of your body, but for you being you. For your heart, your soul, your integrity, your strength.
I will always tell you, not how pretty you are, but how smart and strong you are. How valuable you are.
So sweet dreams my lovely girl. Keep dreaming your dreams, keep making your voice heard in the playground, keep working hard to reach your goals. And don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t.
With All My Love,
As featured in Huffington Post.
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