Can Girls Do That?

Can Girls Do That?

This is a question that has been asked so many times lately I can barely keep count. My 8 year old daughter has always been a girl who loves all things regardless of their gender specification. Sports, Arts, Science…you name she loves it and she never seemed to wonder if it was okay for her as a girl or not and neither did I. Both her father and  I have always encouraged her to do what she loved and what interested her, regardless of whether it was popular for girls or boys. It didn’t matter…until now.


Seeds of Doubt

It all started this past year when she started 2nd grade. Suddenly my little girl started to develop this fear that because some of her favorite things weren’t for girls she was no longer allowed to love them. Not only was she sad but she was confused. Every time she wanted to do something she used to love without hesitation she now followed her requests with “Can Girls Do That?”

My first replies were simple Yes. Of Course. Sure. Then I started to notice the pattern and began to wonder why my once adventurous and nearly fearless daughter was now so concerned with what was okay for her to do as a girl? So I asked her. The answer I got was so disturbing and hurt my heart so much I almost didn’t know how to react.

This little girl who always jumped into adventures and activities feet first had been told by numerous kids and a few adults that the things she loved to do were not for girls. When she started playing basketball and told her class she was told that was a boy game. When she started taking Taekwondo and showed off a few of her moves during recess she was told girls don’t do that. Lastly, when she was asked what she wanted to do when she went to High School and her reply was study science and play football she was told she could only look forward to science because football was not for girls.

With each reaction to the things that made her happy her heart was damaged. These people were placing seeds of doubt in her that before never had been a concern. She slowly began to believe what people were telling her. Was she somehow not girl enough because she didn’t like dolls, princesses and pretty pink fluffy dresses? Was she only allowed to dance ballet and tap, sing or model? Was there something wrong with her because she wanted to do more?

These are the questions she was now asking me and I literally had to hold back not only anger but tears for the little girl who sat in front of me not sure of who she used to be so proud to be.

I’m Not Like Them

She was now worried because she wasn’t like most other girls. She loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instead of Barbie, she would be happy for hours playing Super Hero with my son instead of Dollies with my youngest daughter and because her idea of a great outfit was a t-shirt with her favorite TMNT and her basketball sneakers instead of a dress or pink shirt.

I kept hearing her tell me how she’s not like them, like the other girls in her classes. She wanted to know what that meant? Why she didn’t like pink and lace? Was she bad for liking the boy stuff?

First I had to think. I didn’t want to do more harm than good in my answers. I am a combination of a Girly -Girl and a Tom Boy…I love my pink and pretty but I will hang out and play video games with my Chucks and jeans just as much. I told her this, I told her that as a Teenager I was no where close to being Girly. I was skinny, awkward and liked all the things other girls didn’t. I told her that was okay.

I talked and hugged and cried with my little girl as I tried to convince her that there was no such thing as boy stuff. All things were open to her. Anything she wanted to like she could and any thing she wanted to be was possible. She was a girl – yes – but that set no limits on her.

Girl Power

I answered her questions as best as I could giving her examples of strong girls and women who not only did the things she was told girls shouldn’t but did them well. Excelled at them even, all while still being the girls they were. I showed her stories about Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Candace Parker, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, Gina Carano and so many more. We watched Nickelodeon who now has a series called Bella and the Bulldogs all about a girl who plays football and still acts and feels very much like a girl.

Then last week we had the awesome chance to go to a Monster Truck Show. She was so excited and I was so happy because not once did she ask me if it was okay for her to go because she was a girl. Slowly I saw the light that had dimmed in her eyes come back.

While at the show we were cheering for this one amazing Monster Truck – Monster Mutt Dalmation. The driver seemed to be fearless taking jumps and chances that were amazing. Then the truck had mechanical issues. They stopped the show and the driver jumped out. It Was A Girl!! My daughter nearly jumped out of her seat! She was shocked and completely surprised. Despite Monster Mutt not finishing the show my daughter could not stop talking about it and the Driver, Candice Jolly. The impact it had on her was awesome.

We’re Not Done

I am so proud of my daughter for expressing how she felt and giving me the chance to help her. Yet I am still so saddened and disappointed with the adults and others who still hold the view that being a girl somehow limits what she can do. I now realize that no matter how far we have come as women we still have so much farther to go. We’re not done. There is so much more to achieve and to establish. Not just for ourselves but for the generations ahead of us as well.

Can Girls Do That? Yes! We Can Do It ALL!

Have you ever faced doubts placed in your children by others?

How did you deal with it?

**Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee - a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging & Vlogging Communities. As a Brand Ambassador, Tiffany has the opportunity to promote and support the brands she loves the most with her own unique perspective. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 BlogHer VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with Modern Social f/k/a iBlog Magazine and BlogHer. Growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.
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About TheMrsTee

Tiffany is the ‘ Tee’ behind TheMrsTee – a Lifestyle Blog created as a place to share her love of all things Faith, Family, Fashion, Food, Fun, Tech & Travel. Tiffany has established her influence within both the Blogging & Vlogging Communities. As a Brand Ambassador, Tiffany has the opportunity to promote and support the brands she loves the most with her own unique perspective. Tiffany has extended her presence beyond her URL to Television as a Panelist for the MomsEveryday TV Show for 2 Seasons and to the stage as a Cast Member of the Finale Season of The Listen To Your Mother Show. A 2016 BlogHer VOTY Award Honoree, Contributing Author with Modern Social f/k/a iBlog Magazine and BlogHer. Growing herself as a Brand and Influencer are always at the center of Tiffany’s passion.

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58 thoughts on “Can Girls Do That?

  • Erinn

    This is a problem I also face in my everyday life. With karate five days a week and over half the class being males I am made fun of everyday for just being there. Its so obvious sometimes that people are uncomfortable with me being there that it bothers me. Other times people are so impressed that a female is doing some of these things that it (again) bothers me. ((My blackbelt test got so many people to come and watch because a girl was doing so many of these amazing things)) However after seven years I think I have found the perfect balance in between. I understand doing karate is manly and I just don't care anymore. I wear a pink uniform. It really just doesn't bother me anymore. I realized that no matter what people thought I can still do whatever I want. Sometimes people stare because they are amazed. Sometimes people stare because they are amazed a GIRL could be so good at something so BOY ish. I just know that I'm happy with I'm doing and I'm happy with my choice.

    It really only takes some small steps to change these thoughts. My instructor–a big southern man–always used to say the phrase "hit like a girl". Being the hardcore feminist I am, I tried immediately to stop that. It was an amazing feeling to see a little girl hitting the bag and not being taunted for being herself. That's when I first realized the boxes we were put it. This post explains it amazingly. 🙂

    • MrsTee Post author

      I’m so sorry to hear that. My daughter loves her Taekwondo and sports and I am so happy she has not lost that love. It may have been a bit damaged but I hope to encourage and support her to get through it just like you seem to be doing.

      A few of her Teachers are women and I love that because it gives her the perfect example of Girl Power and Strength.

      Thank you so much Erinn and thank you for helping to reinforce my belief that it IS possible for her to excel no matter what.

    • MrsTee Post author

      I\’m so glad you went on a did what you loved despite what people said. I hope I can give my daughter the encouragement and support she needs to do the same…

  • Jennifer

    I work hard to teach my girls you can do everything. I am big on things are not for girls or for boys. That they can play with trucks if they want or they can play with their barbies. My girls can do anything that they want to do.

  • kieraoelle

    I'm so, so, soooo excited about my generation (I'm 18). I've heard from so many my age that it's time to end 'girly' and 'boyish'. It's time to start letting people go down the path they feel led to go down without bringing gender into the mix! And I really hope people my age can seriously make an impact, maybe so when your daughter gets old, science is a possible field (at this moment in time… I'd suggest a backup to any girl with a passion for science. That field is male-dominated, and they're so mean towards women. I could tell you so many recent horror stories from women in the field… it needs to change).

    We need these doors open. (: And until she does grow up, continue going to see or looking up females in 'boyish' fields! The Brain Scoop on Youtube has the incredibly fashionable and adorable Emily Graslie, who dissects big animals in style! (okay, not for the faint of stomach or heart, but it's cool and she does non-animal-dissecting videos too!) If you haven't yet, check her out! She's SO cool!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Yay or your generation!! My Teenager is 18 and you guys are definitely making moves in the right direction – thankfully. Yes, I will check out that channel. She loves science and all things gross and I want to encourage it as much as I can …LOL

      Thanks so much for such an encouraging comment and for reading 😀

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks so much! I must admit she caught me a bit off guard. I didn\’t really think this was an issue but I am trying my best to help her get through it with confidence and strength. Yes we certainly do!

  • Valery Brennan

    I am so so so thankful for moms like you who are trying to break gender stereotypes. I don't have kids myself but I already stress about having to explain to my child that there's no such thing as a "girl color" or "boy game." Glad to know there are other moms out there willing to stand up for their kids and the freedom to like whatever they want, regardless of gender norms!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks so much Valery… I honestly never thought of it as something to prepare for but now that I have dealt with it hopefully it will be easier to address with my other Kiddies if needed. Freedom for kids…I love that 🙂

    • MrsTee Post author

      The cool part is they can be both! GirlyGirl and whatever else they like. That’s what I want my daughter to know…she does dance and Taekwondo…best of both worlds 😀

  • Rayveniael

    I always tell the children ( I have two boys and one girl ) that they can do anything that they set their mind to. We emphasize the importance of hard work, tenacity and loving what they do!

  • pricelessyona

    Awe man, that really sucks…I thought kids would have outgrown that by now. I am the girlie-girl -tomboy type. I wear heels and a dress all the time, and won't hesitate for a second to toss the football with my nephew while wearing them. That's so cool that you showed your daughter inspirational stories of other women, and she got her 'tomboy' groove back. Love this post!
    My recent post Lots of Goodies and Variety are in the #Influenster Refresh #VoxBox

    • MrsTee Post author

      Yeah. Not cool at all. I thought so too but apparently we still have a ways to go. That was me too…I love dressing up but I know how to \’chill\’ too. I\’m glad she got her \’groove\’ back too 😀 Thanks so much for reading and encouraging 😀

  • Jaime

    I have a daughter and this makes me sad. When I was young I loved TMNT and played tons of video games. I don't want my daughter to think that she can't do anything because "it's not for girls". I'll work hard to make sure she does whatever she wants!
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    • MrsTee Post author

      Yes! TMNT was one of my favorite shows and I had hot wheels and tons of \’boy\’ toys but never thought twice about it. I am so determined to make sure this doesn\’t impact who she is and I know you will do the same. #GirlPower 🙂

  • greeneyedladyblog

    I love this post!!!! Very eye opening…Im a tomboy turned girly girl and sometimes I revert back. But I find myself getting on my husband about teaching Emma a bunch of boy stuff because well thats all he knows, she loves trains and cars and trucks and football. And while I love football too I need to trust that eventually she will come into her own and figure it out on her own rather than forcing her because my mom let us (my sister and I) be tomboys and once we came out of it she was glad but she didnt force it! No pressure…and Emma is young so she has plenty of time to figure out what she likes…because this year it could be trains and next year something totally different…but let her know its fine no matter what she likes!!!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks so much Clarissa… that\’s me too. I love my tomboy side and my Girly side and I just want her to have the chance to do the same without any outside influence. I\’m sure Emma will be just like her Mommy…a perfect combination 😀

  • Joseph

    I instill in my 7 nieces that they are capable of achieving anything they want in life if they put their minds to it. This is a great article for girls self esteem. Reach for the stars!

  • anallievent

    She can do it all! 🙂 It's sad that adults told her she couldn't do something because she's a girl. What??? Basketball is my favorite sport, followed closely by football and baseball. I was more of a tomboy in school. I'm more girly girl now. LOL Great response to your daughter!
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  • listen2mama

    It's good to let them know from early on that they can do anything their heart desires. I think you handled this really well.

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thanks Andrea!

      I was so torn between anger and sadness. My Kiddies have women instructors too. The owner is a woman and Master level. It so sad how other\’s opinions can stop kids from seeing what\’s right in front of them. I think with Moms like us our Kids will be just fine 😀

  • swood97

    Your daughter is blessed to have such a loving and smart Momma to handle these questions so splendidly. My youngest grand child is a girl with 6 older brothers. She is 6 years old. She told me recently that some of the children at school are saying things to her very similar to what your daughter has heard. She has SIX OLDER BROTHERS, she is going to be tom-boyish sometimes but she is all girl. It is sad that we are still having to deal with these types of problems in our society.
    My recent post Rain Barrels: DIY or Buy

    • MrsTee Post author

      Thank YOU! I had no idea how I was going to approach it but I knew I couldn\’t ignore them. My daughter has 4 brothers and that may have a lot to do with her TomBoy tendencies…LOL It is very sad but I am determined to help her get through it.

  • alyssa

    All little girls need to be told that they can do ANYTHING they want, despite their gender. Being a girl does not make us weak or less than. If we want to play football or be a judge or lead an army, we can do it.

  • Michele D

    Yay! For girl power. I think girls should have every option to do whatever they want to without feeling out of place. Great post!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Exactly! I didn’t even think it was an issue like that anymore…I guess that shows how naive I was. I don’t think it should matter in the slightest.

    • MrsTee Post author

      Haha! Same here Nancy. When I was growing up it was all about being a Nerd or Popular now it’s on a whole new level. I’m glad I found my confidence too (even if it was delayed) because now I need to help her find hers.

  • Jeanine

    We've actually struggled with this lately too. My girls want to play soccer this summer but someone told them soccer isn't for girls, it's for boys so now they are questioning it. I've had multiple conversations with them but they are still so unsure!

    • MrsTee Post author

      Really? I found that showing her popular and famous girl athletes and stuff really helped. We even watched a few YouTube interviews. Perhaps that could help them know it IS for girls. I know there are some really great female Soccer Players out there – EX: Alex Morgan and Hope Solo to name a couple…

  • plaguedparents

    Oh I can see how that would be upsetting…I hate when girls question themselves based on other peoples' standards! You are right, we still have a long way to go, unfortunately!

  • theruthlesscrafter

    Oh boy, the gender divisions. We were very careful to not favour a "gender specific" toy or route for our son or daughter and are amazed by their own natural choices. For the children that do not fall into categories or are confident in themselves to not care what others are playing with, I say hurrah!
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