Does your boyfriend or brother spend a lot of money on skin and hair care products? Does your dad spend much time at the hairdresser or beautician?
In your city’s daily paper do most of the political news items feature women? Are most of the stories in the business section written by and about women? Is there a special ‘Men’s Section’ filled with celebrity gossip, fashion and beauty tips?
When you watch a big sporting event on TV, are the athletes usually women? When you watch female sporting teams are there hot guys in tiny outfits cheering for them on the sidelines?
Do girls you know talk openly about getting off while watching porn? Do they boast about their sexual conquests?
When you’re at the food court, do your female friends happily gobble down a large burger and fries combo while your male friends pick at a salad and sip diet coke?
Do the majority of the fathers you know spend most of their time at home washing, cleaning, cooking and taking care of their kids? Do you often hear mothers refer to looking after their own kids as ‘babysitting’? Have you heard women talk about earning brownie points for cleaning their own house and washing their own clothes? Are you sick of men going on about how hard it is to balance work and parenthood?
Are your male friends afraid to walk on their own at night? Do they avoid drinking too much in case they get raped? Do they dress to protect themselves from attack and always carry their keys poking through their knuckles? When they complain about all this do your female friends shrug and tell them that’s just how the world is?
If the answer to all of these questions was yes, wouldn’t that mean something was wrong? Is that still true if the genders are reversed? Does it matter?"
Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.
The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum."
"Be kind to yourself. Stop telling yourself that whatever you are struggling with “should” be easy. If something is hard for you, it is hard for you. There are probably Reasons, though those may just be how you are wired. Acknowledge these things. When you finish something hard, be proud! Celebrate a little.
And really, just stop saying “should” to yourself about your thoughts and feelings in any context. You feel how you feel. The things in your head are the things in your head. You can’t change either directly through sheer force of will. You can only change what you do. Stop beating yourself up for who and what you are right now–it isn’t productive. Focus on moving forward."
"There’s a lot for you to live for. Good things are definitely in your future. I’m sure of it. You have no idea how many interesting people you’ll meet after high school’s over. Your life partner, your best friend, the most wonderful person you’ll ever know is sitting in some high school right now waiting to graduate and walk into your life—maybe even feeling all the same things you are, maybe even wondering about you, hoping that you’re strong enough to make it to the future where you’ll meet."
"Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Ride a roller coaster. Swim in the ocean. Go to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot; even if it’s in the middle of the ocean you can go by boat. Eat some type of ethnic food you’ve never even heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being. Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose—allow smells to be your vision. Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreign film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Just don’t go back to that miserable place you go every day."
Like most girls, my daughter hears, “That’s a pretty dress, did you pick it yourself?” or “What lovely hair you have,” or “You have the most amazing eyelashes,” or “I like the bows on your shoes,” or “You are so cute” almost every time somebody engages in conversation with her.
If family, friends, shop assistants, complete strangers, and even Santa only remark on how girls look, rather than what they think and do, how can we expect girls to believe that they have anything more to offer the world than their beauty?"