For Your Daughters & Mine

“I’ll never work for a female boss”

Said my friend, over the weekend.

“They don’t know shit” he added for emphasis.

This was in reference to a newly appointed female CEO.

While I was more amused than annoyed at this blatant display of sexism, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of father he would make to a daughter someday.

Would he teach her to always feel second best?

Or tell her she can be anything she chooses to be.

And how would he feel, if his daughter was told that she isn’t good enough just because she’s a female.

As for my daughters, this is what I would say, well some of it ; only Nicole Blackman says it better.

Daughter 

One day I’ll give birth to a tiny baby girl
and when she’s born she’ll scream and I’ll make sure
she never stops.

I will kiss her before I lay her down
and will tell her a story so she knows
how it is and how it must be for her to survive.

I’ll tell her about the power of water
the seduction of paper
the promise of gasoline
and the hope of blood.

I’ll teach her to shave her eyebrows and
mark her skin.

I’ll teach her that her body is
her greatest work of art.

I’ll tell her to light things on fire
and keep them burning.

I’ll teach her that the fire will not consume her,
that she must take it and use it.

I’ll tell her to be tri-sexual, to try anything
to sleep with, fight with, pray with anyone,
just as long as she feels something.

I’ll help her do her best work when it rains.
I’ll tell her to reinvent herself every 28 days.
I’ll teach her to develop all her selves,
the courageous ones,
the smart ones,
the dreaming ones
the fast ones.

I’ll teach her that she has an army inside her
that can save her life.

I’ll tell her to say Fuck like other people say The
and when people are shocked
to ask them why they so fear a small quartet
of letters.

I’ll make sure she always carries a pen
so she can take down the evidence.
If she has no paper, I’ll teach her to
write everything down on her tongue
write it on her thighs.

I’ll help her to see that she will not find God
or salvation in a dark brick building
built by dead men.

I’ll explain to her that it’s better to regret the things
she has done than the things she hasn’t.

I’ll teach her to write her manifestos
on cocktail napkins.
I’ll say she should make men lick her enterprise.

I’ll teach her to talk hard.
I’ll tell her that her skin is the
most beautiful dress she will ever wear.

I’ll tell her that people must earn the right
to use her nickname,
that forced intimacy is san ugly thing.

I’ll make her understand that she is worth more
with her clothes on.

I’ll tell her that when the words finally flow too fast
and she has no use for a pen
that she must quit her job
run out of the house in her bathrobe,
leaving the door open.
I’ll teach her to follow the words.

I’ll tell her to stand up
and head for the door
after she makes love.
When he asks her to
stay she’ll say
she’s got to go.

I’ll tell her that when she first bleeds
when she is a woman,
to go up to the roof at midnight,
reach her hands up to the sky and scream.

I’ll teach her to be whole, to be holy,
to be so much that she doesn’t even
need me anymore.
I’ll tell her to go quickly and never come back.
I will make her stronger than me.

I’ll say to her never forget what they did to you
and never let them know you remember.

 

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33 thoughts on “For Your Daughters & Mine

  1. Shaaa…very nice…honestly! 🙂 Why is it that i never find good write ups like this by myself? must be my prominent illiterate streak! 😦 Anyways…Thank you. for such a nice post. awesome read. thanks!!! 😀
    Take care and have a great day! Cheers!
    Kaiser.

  2. All of it was a bit extreme methinks. I grew up with three elder sisters in a middle class family. All our parents did was to encourageus to dream and made us aware of the world surrounding little SL. My sisters were never made to feel that being a women is a limitation to achieve their dreams. Ones now in the UN, other a proffesor and the other a doctor.
    The head of the telco was my client many moons ago and a good friend. She epitomises a strong women. Some men and women cant take that.

    1. DD, it is extreme, no doubt about that. but some also relevant if you really think about it.
      as for this head of Telco, i know who you mean, but my friend was referring to a different one. appointed last month at a much smaller company.
      but i do agree its sad when men cant take it but sadder when women cant either.

  3. It’s brazen for sure, but given the fact that I’m reading this particular book based on true stories, I can understand the trauma and feeling of worthlessness that the girl child has to go through.

    As for the female boss comment – I was apalled myself. I have guys reporting to me, much older men, and we get along fine. I’ve never had any incidences where they’ve made me feel inadequate for being a woman doing my job. Goes to show how much an open mind set brings.

    Kudos to all the men out there who treat a woman with respect.

    Nice post 🙂

  4. wow! that was amazing…….

    I love the openness in this… and how a mother tries to bring a balance is everything… bringing out the extreme thinking is something not many would approve of though…

    Absolutely loved reading this….

  5. i’ve worked under two female bosses and enjoyed the experience. Then again, they were pretty easy going and liberal, we were practically friends.

  6. LD, it is quite something 🙂

    Whacko, exactly. being a good or bad boss is determined not by gender but by a myriad of qualities and traits unique to each individual.

  7. Woow I wish I could write like Nicole Blackman! As a father of two girls though I worry how I would be able to handle such fierce independence?
    Well I agree gender does not make a good boss kindness and understanding does. Just a question? I heard that sometimes female bosses are harder on other females as they expect much more out of them? Just want to know if is just another “Kata Katha” or not?

    1. CJ, i can speak for only myself, but in my experience female bosses have been more demanding than male bosses. they pay more attention to detail etc. but this has also applied to all and not just their female subordinates.

  8. It’s significant that Nicole Blackman starts off by saying “One day I’ll give birth to a tiny baby girl”. I wonder if she’ll actually feel this way when she is a mother. Hopefully she will.

  9. David has made a insightful comment. Will she feel this way after actually giving birth to a child?
    I have a very open relationship with my daughter who is now a teenager and she’s encouraged to talk about anything with us her parents.
    I must admit inwardly I gnash my teeth when she starts to talk about the boys in her life. We try as much as possible to give her as much freedom as possible to make intelligent informed decisions for herself.
    Never ever has any of us in our family and extended family ever made any of the kids feel that gender matters.
    In this regard, Sri Lanka has been very fortunate in terms of non-gender bias. The first female leader of a country counts as one of our proudest moments in the history of the world.
    Your friend will be in deep shit sooner or later. Soonest I hope with his perceived gender bias and the Oedipus ego.

    1. DD, i think the first female leader of a country being from sri lanka had more to do with the fact that she had the money and the family name to back her up than her being female itself. we’ve been having only around 5% female representation in parliament for a long time and that paints a pretty gender biased picture imo.

      1. PP, you are right. just because we had a couple of female leaders,as a country i dont think we can brag too much about the lack of gender bias just yet. but hopefully this parliament representation is something that is being worked on.

    1. DD, no he’s not. he’s an amazing person. which is why this bias against women always puzzles me. especially since he comes from a family of successful females.

  10. Good post! I dont see any difference in working for a male boss or a female boss! as long as the term “boss” is emphasized more than the word following it all will be fine, if not all hell can break loose.

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