There are so many things our mothers taught us growing up about what it meant to be a woman, as a teenager, I have discovered that most of those teachings have set me up for failure. The teachings of our mothers and their mothers before them have made us slaves to the patriarchy, they have left us vulnerable to man’s will, and we wish were taught foundations opposite of the ones we have.
Beauty isn’t Everything
I see it in me, I see it in all of my friends, nothing can light us up more than the empty niceties complimenting our beauty, it makes us easy to crush. We’ve been raised to believe that we should be “pretty” before we can be clever or strong or kind, leaving us vulnerable for manipulation by anyone and everyone, easy enough to break, predictable enough to tear apart. Growing up, I wish my mother taught me to be at peace with myself, I wish she taught me that I am worthy of love no matter what I look like.
Other Women Aren’t My Competition
We were taught that other women are our competition, that life is a race to see which woman is more perfect, as if perfection isn’t relative, as if it could be measured, as if that is all that we are and all we could be. We were taught to one up our best friends in everything, it tore our sisterhood apart, especially through re enforcing our superiority over each other. This is what fuels the patriarchy and all it takes to tear it down is to realize that we are not meant to be competing with one another, rather supporting each other wholeheartedly.
I Don’t Have to be Soft
There’s this notion that we are born soft, delicate, and fragile. Some of us are, some of us are not, some of us used to be but no longer are. Some of us are burying our rejected love, building our broken spirits brick by brick, or trying to survive trauma. Some of us have been through things so unspeakable they left us void of every sliver of gentleness and beauty within us. We refuse to remain broken, to succumb to oppression, and to let the world tear us down, that makes us very hard places, sharp, unrelenting. We are not social niceties and empty smiles, we spit fire against injustice and we demand vengeance. I wish my mother taught me being a brutal woman does not make me any less a woman.
Marriage is a Choice
Countless hours of painful grooming, lessons on ridiculous social obligations, and perfecting a “polite” posture have been drilled into us growing up in the hopes of some man finding us attractive enough to marry. We were taught that success in life means securing a good marriage, and a successful marriage means being a doormat. My existence does not revolve around a man, I was not born to be man’s plaything or doormat, I am not a broodmare, the purpose of my life is not to look pretty and raise kids and make my “superior” husband happy. I do not want to get married, I want to chase my own dreams, I have my own ambitions, and none of them depend on a man. That is okay, it is not shameful or wrong, I am entitled to make my own choices, a man is not a part of my dreams and ambitions, I wish my mother taught me that doesn’t make me a defect.