I was born in the 60s, went to elementary school in the 70s, was a teen in the 80s, and a young mom in the 90s. I’m not sure there is another generation that has witnessed the changing roles of women quite like mine.
Raised in a two-parent home with a stay-at-home mother, I remember both of my parents laughing hysterically when my friends and I sang every word to this Enjoli commercial. Do you remember it? “I can bring home the bacon (buh, buh, dum), fry it up in a pan (buh, buh, dum)…”
I remember being a bit confused by the messages I was getting as a young girl.
“Girls can do ANYTHING boys can do.”
“Women can be EVERYTHING to everyone.”
“Working mothers can have it all… career, family, romance.”
While all of these are positive messages, they put a lot of pressure on women of my generation to get a college education, have a career, start a family, keep a house, drive the kids everywhere, cook, do laundry…. there never seemed to be an end to what was expected of a “modern woman.”
Today, as my oldest daughter plans her wedding, I believe – at least in my world – I’m witnessing a little less pressure on women to be it all and do it all. I see a lot of husbands pitching in with cooking and laundry (including my own! There wouldn’t be a clean towel in the house if he didn’t throw in a load every other day. And his clothes from the hog barn? I never touch ’em. Seriously. If you smelled them, you wouldn’t touch them, either!)
Dads these days seem to share the childcare responsibilities. Bathtime, taxiing to and fro… Don’t let me hear a dad say he has to “babysit” his kids! Babysitting is something you do for other people’s kids. Parenting is what you do for your own!
So, anyway, last year I saw this commercial. Have you seen it? Yes, it’s a commercial for a feminine product, but that isn’t even something you know until it’s over. More importantly, it’s a commercial for GIRLS. Well, it’s for everyone, but it’s about girls.
This is a “girl-empowering” commercial. The Enjoli commercial from my formative years was also meant to empower women, but oh, what different messages these two campaigns send!
I had just finished writing Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek when I saw this ad. Dottie became famous because she was a girl who could throw like a man, run like a man, hit like a man at a time when only men played baseball. Still, she had to showcase all of her incredible athletic skills in a skirt.
I believe Dottie and the other women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League changed what it meant to “throw like a girl.”
Last week, the organization A Mighty Girl named Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek one of the Top 2014 Girl-Empowering Books for Children and Teens. I’m so pleased that Dottie has been given this recognition as a Mighty Girl.
But she’s far from alone. Check out all the books from 2014 that challenge girls to be everything they WANT to be, not everything the world says they HAVE to be.
And, girls… no matter what you do, proudly do it like a girl!