I’m a grandmother again. I now have two little granddaughters. They are beautiful, perfect, and the apple of their grandfather’s eye and mine too!. That said, I want them to have every opportunity to grow into competent young women. I don’t want them to suffer with antiquated stereotypes or to be harmed in any way.

Young women have it tough as the gender stereotypes remain. Young women are expected to be passive, gentle, kind, nurturing, and so on. Of course, the stereotypes aren’t necessarily true, but they are a perception young women must overcome.

Besides dealing with stereotypes women have to be constantly aware of their surroundings. I routinely talk with college age women on personal safety and one of my opening questions is, “What are the girl rules?” At first they just stare at at me, and then I prompt them with, “You know, things girls are always told.” Then the college age women can rattle off some of the rules and almost all of them are don’t do this or do this.

● Don’t walk alone.
● Keep an eye on your drink.
● Don’t dress too sexy.
● Keep your car keys in your hand when walking to your car.

And the list goes on and on.

The girl rules are real and I don’t want that for my granddaughters. I want them to enjoy life without being afraid or encumbered by societal conventions. As the mother of boys and now the grandmother of girls, I’m doing my part to bring equality into my everyday life including making young women aware of the subtle inequities they endure. Join me.

  • One of the only times I was not afraid while walking in the dark was while we were living in Vienna, Austria in 1990. It was a revelation like experience to be in the world and not feel volnerable to attack. It is a part of a girl’s/woman’s consciousness. And I remember teaching my daughter how to be safe. I wonder how much this mind set affects our brains….

    • Jane Tuttle

      I think it really is part of a woman’s subconscious thinking. I’m thinking any marginalized person probably knows their rules to keep safe. Sad statement. Thanks for reading.