Gender Equality: Getting Serious About Propagation of Discrimination

While covering Catherine's bedroom walls with Minnie Mouse & Daisy Duck decals, we came across one sticker in the package that read: "Girls can do anything!" She asked me what it said and after reading it to her, she promptly responded: "well...boys can do anything too... actually, anyone can do anything." and as my heart began to swell with pride and satisfaction, she added: " long as their Mommy and Daddy or Teachers aren't watching."

Although this started my Sunday morning with a good laugh, I found myself contemplating a friend's recent facebook post: 

"I, for one, think that girls are strong enough to handle the word "bossy." And I don't think they need to be treated with extra-gentle kid gloves. It backfires. Makes me think of what Sarah Silverman said:

Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t. You’re planting that seed in their heads. It’s like saying, “Hey when you get in the shower I’m not going to read your diary.”

The whole "addressing the problem" instead of behaving in a way to prove it doesn't exist reminds me of the line in "Dirty Dancing" when Edward says "I never treated you like a prostitute." and Vivian replies (under her breath): "You just did."

Our sincerest intention is for Catherine to view all people as Human and give as much weight to their gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, creed and race as she does to the color of their hair. Lamenting, defending or proclaiming pride in differences only seems to propagate the human divide.

My wife and I view Catherine as a generational clean slate with regards to human equality. The challenge has been and continues to be the adoption of behavior and offering of  lessons that don't overcompensate for the biases we encounter and dream to circumvent.