The following was written by Kaci Palomino, a Brave Like a Girl follower, and babysitter to the two Brave Girls. Thank you, Kaci, for sharing with us a great way to start the discussion about gender equality!
Today, during the regular after-school pickup, one of my little ones asked me if green can be a girl-color, too. I checked my rearview mirror to catch her peering down at her bright green shirt. I shot a glance at her big sister, who responded with an It-Wasn’t-Me shrug and a Here-We-Go eyebrow raise. These kids are starting to know me too well…
“EVERY color belongs to EVERYONE,” I sang, “and the idea that a color should only belong to some people, but not others, is pretty silly, don’t you think?” She nodded, but her face told me she wasn’t yet convinced.
“A loooooong time ago, people believed that certain jobs could only be done by men OR women, but not everyone. Can you imagine?”
Her sister chimed, “Like waitresses?”
“Exactly,” I continued, seeing that our little one was trying to follow our train of thought, “and like doctors.”
“Wait,” she blurted, “Was ‘doctor’ a boy-job or a girl-job?”
“Neither,” I said, “but some people thought that only men should be doctors. In fact, plenty still think that.”
“But my mom’s a doctor!” she cried, still not quite getting the picture.
“Exactly. Because boys can be anything they want, like flight attendants or nurses or teachers, and girls can be doctors, lawyers or senators. Can you imagine if your mom never became a doctor because some mean kid told her at school that she couldn’t? Wouldn’t that be horrible?”
She nodded, a bit more confident now.
“Your mom is a doctor because that’s what she loves. And she helps her patients every day. Your dad is a doctor because he also loves helping people. And my mom wears green because it looks pretty with her eyes and my dad wears purple because it’s nice against his dark skin and I wear black because it matches most things. Why do you like green?”
“Because it’s a happy color.”
“That’s a great reason,” I said. She beamed up at me in the mirror with her two front teeth missing and her dimples shining. “You can wear whatever color you like and be whatever you want to be, okay Lil Mama?”
“Exactly. Just like Wonderwoman. And just like your mama.”
Her big sister tilted her head, shot me a piercing stare, and said, as though I had just missed an obvious point, “Miss Kaci, our mama IS Wonderwoman.”