Revising feminist advice to girls. Also, BOOBS.

A woman selling stuff in the hallway of my gym stopped me the other day. Of course she did. My husband can sail right past these people when they sing, "did you hear about our spring fitness challenge?!" Without missing a beat he'll say, "yes, I did!" and keep walking.

Me, I get sucked into a 20 minute conversation about heart rate monitors. Then we talk about their life story and I smile, and they go on. I must spend five hours a week hearing about strangers' boob jobs and their mothers-in-law. It's okay. I kind of like people. Anyway, while the gym lady/my new best friend was giving her spiel, she mentioned my posture is a little schlumpy. Schlumpy?

Yes, you're a little slumped over, try this! And she pulled my shoulders back and demonstrated a stance that reminded me of wonder woman.


As soon as she put me upright, I glanced around. I felt like an idiot. No, not an idiot, like a target. With these porny breastfeeding boobs I've got going on, I told her I could never stand like that because people would say, "who the hell does she think she is?" It's true. Soak it in. Stick these puppies out and trot down the hall and see what looks you get.

Sometimes I wonder about the advice we give to girls. One of the first Teen Magazines I ever got in middle school had an article urging young women to accept compliments when given instead of using them as an opportunity to shut ourselves down. The article instructed to simply say "thank you" rather than explaining that our outfit was on sale. I took it to heart. Being twelve, I assumed this was the way the world worked. I said thank you to compliments for years.

Then I figured it out. I'm a bitch.

Women who accept compliments are thought of as overconfident. I thought confidence was good? I've always seen men with big egos doing just fine with an extra dollop of confidence. But come on, you know it's true. Women who "act like men" when it comes to compliments raise an eyebrow. Or explode heads. Take it away, Amy Schumer:

I do still say "thank you" to most compliments, but it's rubbed people the wrong way and I don't think it's gotten me anywhere. I mean, I would still advise my daughters to accept compliments per this piece by Lipsticks & Lollipops, but in the back of my mind, I'm kind of on the fence about that great advice.

Sometimes, great advice makes for a harder life. Such as:

1. Encouraging bossiness. I happen to love the Ban Bossy idea. I was "bossy" as a kid and my oldest daughter is downright annoying in her militant direction at play dates. She'd be great as a CEO. However, if I empower all that, um, "leadership energy" she won't be liked by other kids. I KNOW! Being liked isn't everything. Neither is being a CEO. I've read some great contrasting things about ban bossy and I've decided I'm in the middle. I'm all for developing strengths, but I'd also hate to see my kid embroiled in mega drama and feuds because she, well, because she's me and we're bossy. (I am. It says it right in my signature at the bottom of this post.) Better advice: Be a leader and a listener.

2. Telling them to be astronauts. Don't get me wrong, that would be cool as hell if one of my daughters was an astronaut. Wait, no, I'd be worried sick because I don't even want them riding on escalators without me. That's not the point though. I'll tell you a very fast story: When I was in a special program in school for kids who tested well/were supposedly brighter than average (humblebrag!) we were given a clear message that we could be doctors, or architects or "anything we wanted". You know what was not ever mentioned? Housewife blogger.

I didn't think about the repercussions of the encouragement I was given until I said to my daughter the other day, "you could be a doctor! Or president!" and she told me she could also work at the zoo. You know what? YES. You can work at the zoo, baby. And I can be a housewife and it's okay. Someone needs to be the CEO of all the poop in this world. Better advice: You can be anything you want, big or small.

3. Tell the truth. Maybe I got this mantra after being shamed for a white lie as a child or maybe by observing some amazing bosses I've had over the years, but one thing I do (too) well is tell people the truth. How do babies get out of bellies? Vaginas. How much is your trade-in worth? It would fetch $1,000 at auction. I once dodged staying at a relative's house when I went to my home town for a high school reunion. With a straight face I said, "I didn't want to say this, but the mattress is uncomfortable, the mister thinks my old room is creepy and the place smells like cats." Sure, it was the truth, but was it kind? Better advice: Tell the truth when it does good.

4. It's just sex. This is probably too complicated for a paragraph, but I'll sum up my thoughts on slut-shaming with this: maybe you can have sex "like a man" with just whoever, whatever because Fun, but you'd be the exception. I'd get my heart broken if a guy didn't call me again and no, I don't call them. I'm the norm. But! Your sexual past is not like an ingredient list on a label. You are always the same person no matter what you do and don't do in the sack. SO CONFUSE. I know. Sorry. Better advice: It's just sex, but your health and feelings matter.

 5. Stand up straight. Sure, you may feel like you're sticking your boobs out and there might be some petty lady out there who thinks you think you're all that, but maybe you are. I'm not changing this advice. Bad posture looks terrible.

That lady at the gym was right. I'm standing up straight from now on.



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Filed under: Raising sisters

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