Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

Why I Would Set My Daughter Up To Fail

on January 3, 2014

My one year anniversary of starting this blog has come and gone. I got an email notification in my inbox, and my first feeling wasn’t of happiness… I as sad. I SHOULD be happy. I have met some wonderful people on here, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one of your blogs, whether or not I comment or you know I’m there. But at the same time, in late December 2013, I was in the same spot I had been in late December 2012; starting a new job, strapped for cash, a small child, and constantly stressed. Constantly exhausted.

On the one hand, we would have moved for the husband’s job, no matter what… but I was making moves to leave the contract I had been on, anyway. It was stressful and horrible and my two managers were fucking nuts. I was constantly talked down to. While male coworkers were heaped with praise, another female coworker had to deal with my manager asking her when she would get married, and to be careful about the “state of [her] eggs.” The job before that, I lost while five months pregnant. I’ve  walked into boardrooms and been told to keep my mouth shut, or been told that I’m not “demure enough” for a woman. Most successful women I know, have had to fight tooth and nail to get where they are. And I’m not male-bashing… half the time, they have to fight other women who, instead of SUPPORTING and lifting each other up, will burn you.

So, when I saw this, I wasn’t surprised. It seems that the discrepancy in pay between men and woman start with our allowances, or pocket money. Boys are often given more for just being boys. The reporters discuss how parents should be sure to pay each child equally, and not to discriminate.

But why?

You know what you teach girls and boys when you pay them equally? That the world is fair. That Disney is right, good always wins, and you will *always* get that last cookie from the box. And it will be delicious. But the world ISN’T fair, and what has Disneyfication of our world gotten us? The Kardashians. Honey Boo Boo. Closing schools, and a recession.

I say we should set our daughters, AND SONS, up for failure. Pay them differently. Then switch it next week, and make the other one debate or develop an argument as to why they should be paid more. Very few people are handed opportunities in life; most of us work and struggle and negotiate our ways through the world. Kids should learn that at home. They should learn that $4 as pocket money is ok, but why not TRY to get more? Even if they fail, they’ve learned to TRY.

Likewise, we put our little girls into ballet classes, but often the boys go into karate. Why? I was in ballet, and I can honestly tell you that I have never once been granted a raise based on my ability to pirouette. SET YOUR GIRL UP TO FAIL. Let her know that the world can be dangerous and scary. Let her know that there are people out there who may try to hurt her. Because it’s true. AND THEN tell her that she can take ballet, and that’s lovely, but she will also be taking karate because grown-ass woman (and men) don’t start fights, but they DO finish them. They take pride in themselves, and they take pride in doing the right thing by defending others who may be assaulted or bullied. 

But most people don’t. They set their kids up to “succeed” with equal pay and ballet and Disney movies where birds sing songs and crows are outdated racist stereotypes. Tell your kids that life isn’t fair. Let them know that goals are obtained through effort and negotiation and hard work, not because everyone is nice. Set your kids up to fail, so that they can learn how to work around it and actually succeed.

And now, I will get down off of my soapbox for the day.

Happy New Year, you guys!!!!!!!

16 responses to “Why I Would Set My Daughter Up To Fail

  1. Well I’ve always told my daughters that they will have to fight for what they want in life along with my boys. My girls are kick ass if I do say so myself 🙂 My girls are athletes as well as my boys and I’ve taught them they have to work hard for what they want in life. God knows I’ve worked my ass off! I’ve taught all of them to never ever have to depend on someone else to take care of them.
    While I’ve taught my kids to be nice to others they have learned that kindness doesn’t always pay off and there will always be those assholes who mistake kindness for weakness. Folks around here have learned the hard way I am nice but do not fuck with me 🙂 I say that with a smile on my face.
    Yes I am in a pissy mood.
    Women have tried to get ahead by TRYING to step over me…they’ve had to learn the hard way ..that was a REALLY BAD MOVE! I am so tired of women stepping on others while we should be supportive and cheering each other on.
    There will be no stepping on my girls for as long as I breathe. I’ve taught them to treat others as they want to be treated but not to be surprised when some idiot tries to take advantage. I’ve always taught them to throw a mean right hook and how to gauge someone in the throat if their personal space is in jeopardy. I’m good like that!

    • H. Stern says:

      That’s it. You gotta be scrappy in life. YOU should be fair, but don’t expect it from anyone else. Learn violence, but don’t practice it.

      Men should be taught NOT to rape, but little girls should be taught that the best way to release someone’s grip on you, is to break their thumb.

  2. Sounds like you had the same reaction to your annoying WP anniversary “announcement” as I did. Made me feel like a loser. You, at least, have hundreds and hundreds of readers. I have the same 50 or so (not that I’m complaining — love you guys!) I have had for a couple of years. Anyway, having small children is a grind but you will get a good night’s sleep eventually — I swear. Working DOES suck. That’s why you gotta use your special writing power to get out of the office job BS. Didn’t we agree to write something…uh…recently? What did I say I’d do? I”m pretty sure I didn’t do it…

  3. Well Cheery-fucking-Oh to you too!
    A year, huh? Given the circumstances, maybe you should change the name of your blog to “Shitty Weather in Dublin…Again!” or something like that.
    BTW, FWIW, I totally agree with what you say. Afraid my daughter is FAR too girly to do the martial thing, or hit anyone. And yes, she takes ballet. She’s all ponies and fairies and flowers and shit. I swear I had nothing to do with it. Of course, she’s eight. Things could change. She could become like Buffy the Zombie-Slayer or something. Save her decrepit parents from the coming apocalypse.

    • H. Stern says:

      Show her the PowerPuff Girls. Show her Buffy. You can be a pretty, pretty princess, who also just happens to be able to strangle people with her ballet laces. Not… that that’s…. a good thing….. or anything. Right? I don’t know. I kinda want ballet slippers now, though.

  4. Oh yeah, one of my mother’s favorite lines when I was growing up was, “Honey, *life* isn’t fair.” I was a boy, yes (Really! I was!), but I was the geek/nerd/98# weakling. I learned pretty early to get what I could out of life. I was spoiled by my parents, but not by anybody else. Pretty much ever.

  5. As a father of two females (one 40+ and one 24) I have always had the concerns you raise here. My oldest is a tennis coach volunteer and the youngest just won the fantasy football league competition in the office. They are also popular and very sweet and in athletic condition. . My youngest was an NCAA student athlete on the varsity equestrian team. What happened? They played baseball and other team sports. I really think the team sport gave them the kind of confidence they use today. Thank you for raising the discussion

  6. ekgo says:

    Happy New Year and Happy Blogiversary! Hooray!

    We’re losing the director of our library this month; he’s moving on to worldly things (I’m not kidding – he’ll probably be in your town talking to library folks at some point). I bring this up because 1) it’s on my mind as it hearkens a huge change in business here but, more related to your post, 2) because for the past several years, he has taken the stance that it is vital – and not just to libraries but in every aspect of life – to make room for mistakes, for failure. In fact, plan on it because we really are not living in a Disney film. The reasons to fail are the same as you’ve mentioned: Failure leads to learning and strengthening and understanding (given that you’ve got the guts to get back up and go on instead of wallowing in LoserTown, of course).
    So I’m with you here. I would give my kids plenty of room to make mistakes…I mean, they’d be MY kids so they’d probably plan to make mistakes because that’s way more fun…and then I’d force them to learn from their mistakes! Probably by duct-taping them to a wall in the closet. Because that is also fun. It is also why I don’t have childrens.

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