Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Letter to My Future Daughter

Dear Zoe,

It's been a few years since Dad and I went across the world to adopt you.  While we can't be 100% certain yet, chances are good that you will continue to identify as a girl and later as a woman as you grow older.  So, with that assumption being made, I'd like to talk to you about what it's like to be a woman in this world.

Your Dad and I have done everything we can to make sure that you have any and all options available to you, no matter what.  That's why we were just as happy to let you dress up as Captain Janeway for Halloween last year as we were to let you dress up as Princess Ariel the year before that, and a Stormtrooper the year before that.  That's why we bought you the new President Barbie doll for Christmas along with that cool microscope we used for your science fair experiment.  Our primary goal as parents is to make sure that you're safe, happy, loved, and have all opportunities available we can provide.  If somebody ever tells you that you can't do something because you're a girl, or any other reason, we will help you learn how to stand up for yourself and fight back.

The things you will experience as you grow older will be different from what I experienced as a girl.  And not just because I was born a little different from most girls, as we've already discussed.  They'll also be different from what your aunts and grandmas experienced as girls.  It was only a little over a century ago that women were allowed to vote!  It's only been a few decades since women were allowed to serve in the military, or go to college, or work full-time, or play sports.  A lot of women over the generations have had to fight for each one of those rights and more.  And every time women take a step forward, there are plenty of people who try to push us back.  There was a time when women were sold into marriage.  We couldn't marry who we wanted to, we couldn't own property, our husbands could beat us, we couldn't decide if and when we wanted to have children, we couldn't work and earn our own money.  And for whatever reason, some people want women to be treated that way again.  That's why it's important to always stand up for who you are and what you believe in.  Finally, there are a few lessons I want to pass along that I've had to learn the hard way.  It will always be my hope that you have an easier time learning to love yourself and that you pass these lessons on to whoever you love in the future.

How you look has no reflection on your worth as a person.  It doesn't matter if you're pretty or not, thin or fat, feminine or masculine, if you wear short skirts or baggy jeans, a human being always deserves respect, kindness, and dignity.  Every person has value, regardless of appearance.

Your body is your own.  No matter what kind of relationship you might have with someone, they have no right or ownership of your body.  That means only you can decide if you want to have sex, if you want to have children, if you want to wear makeup or dresses or skirts.  Anyone who tries to coerce you into making decisions does not respect you and does not deserve your love.

Never apologize for being smart.  Never pretend you don't know the answer or you don't have an opinion.  If somebody thinks you are stuck up because you speak your mind, it is only because they wish they were as intelligent and outspoken as you.  When in doubt, try to be like Hermione Granger.

There is absolutely nothing you "have to do" just because you're a girl.  This includes housework, child care, or even being nurturing or empathetic.  These are not things you should do because you're a girl.  This are things everyone should help out with, regardless of gender.

I'm going to share something with you that your Grandma Kowski taught me, "There are two kinds of people in this world.  People who masturbate and people who lie about masturbating."  There's nothing wrong with enjoying sex or masturbating.  They should be enjoyable.  Sex is a serious decision to make and I hope if and when you decide to have sex you and your partner use protection.  That being said, never be ashamed about your sexual choices.  Some people try to humiliate women for enjoying sex by using words like, "slut" or "whore" or "freak", but all of those people (and everyone else) exist because somebody had sex.

But most of all, never forget that you are worthy of love and Dad and I will never stop loving you.  You have the power to make this world better and I sincerely hope that you do.


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