They think the “perfect girl” is pretty, kind and obedient. In trying to be perfect for others, girls suppress their own needs, wants and talents. They stop pursuing goals and doing well in school.
Here are tangible ways to help protect your daughter from self-limiting, stereotypical expectations:
- Help girls be media critics. Discuss how women are portrayed in TV programs, movies, songs. music videos, and magazines (the emphasis on looks vs. action, being “victims,” etc.).
- Introduce girls to roles, experiences, and activities that are often reserved for boys (carpentry, baseball, automobile care).
- Encourage risk-taking in girls and care-taking in boys.
- Don’t rescue girls. Let them get dirty and make mistakes in the pursuit of their goals.
- Ask girls for their opinions.
- Talk with teachers about your daughter’s strengths and participation at school.
- Listen carefully to your daughter’s questions, gripes, and comments about school, peers, and home life. If you detect problems, address them.
- Take daughters into the workplace in their field of interest. Explain how the work contributes to the community.
- Encourage daughters to read books about strong female characters.
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