Dear daughter

July 8, 2017

Saturday

Dear daughter,

Up until I was around thirteen, I didn’t want to be a girl. All my cousins were boys, except for one on my mother’s side. I was going to begin with “maybe” and list why I was unhappy with myself, but there were no maybes because I knew.

I knew girls and boys are treated differently because they’re seen differently. Because I knew from my father that if he had a son, he’d teach him how to wrestle, and when I asked him to wrestle me, he said no.

When I had a sister, I took the dolls away and discriminated against dresses. I taught her to fight me, and I learned how to stop little girls charging with full force against you by lifting up one knee so they slam against it.

I saw how girls get treated and abused, and I saw how men pointed at girls with short dresses and low-cut shirts and sneered. I saw boys treated girls like toys made for their pleasure, and I saw how not only boys but even girls shaming [shamed] a girl.

When I was young, I learned how to defend myself, protect myself. But in high school, I felt like I was in the losing side because only guys played video games, and I was in a video game [design] competition.

I had been taught from a young age that girls obsess over dolls and dresses and makeup and boys. And boys ruled not only in wrestling, video games, and school but in life in general.

Out of all the teams competing, only one girl other than me was entering the competition, in a team with two guys, of course.

So there I was, a one-person team, a girl, and a loner waiting for her interview trying to find a way to follow up to two guys from a school specializing in technology.

When I learned I won first place, I couldn’t believe it. On that day when a crowd of people witnessed a one-girl team step forward to receive the award for first place in video game design, I learned that gender doesn’t matter. That all my preconceptions that men dominated mankind was false.

Because, dear daughter, that day was so important to me, I still remember I don’t want to be a man, because I already succeeded as a woman.

Your mom,

R.A.

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