Why “girl power” isn’t actually empowering

As a feminist, mom to three little girls, and Spice Girls lover, you think I’d be the first one on board with the cutesy phrase “GIRL POWER,” right? I see this phrase on neon signs in play rooms, adorable pillows, graphic tees, and I want to like it – I want to join these other #girlmoms and feminists and get some cute GIRL POWER swag, but I can’t – I just can’t.

Let me explain. Well, let me start with what girl power means.

What is girl power?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, girl power is ” the idea that women and girls should be confident, make decisions, and achieve things independently of men.” That all sounds good, right? How could you have a problem with “girl power?” you’re wondering.

Relax, I’m not a monster. I’ll start by acknowledging what is okay about this movement before I denounce it. Stay with me.

Related posts: Why Feminism is for EveryoneGod Doesn’t Care About Your Last NameWhy I’m happy my husband kept his surname.

A letter to Grandpa

12/13/17

Dear Grandpa,

Everyone thinks their grandpa is the best, and that’s really nice and everything, but the truth is, mine actually was the best.

You were the actual best grandpa, great grandfather, dad, neighbor, worker, and friend. You’re the man everyone aspires to be, the one great character every reader is completely enamored with and that every author hopes to write about – but quite honestly, it may be impossible for even the best writer to capture your wit, smarts, quirks, and charm.

Last night, you died, and when I held your hand, it was still so big and warm, just like always. You looked like you; you still looked so handsome; you looked finally at rest. I can still feel you holding my hands, cupping them around mine since I was a kid to keep me warm, and until the very end, you were still my warm protector.

Why beautiful is not a compliment (and what to say instead)

Everyone likes to feel beautiful, right? That’s what the media tells us; that’s what our inner nature tells us; it’s what we instinctively tell any little girl we see and the way we measure our attractiveness against other people’s, whether intentionally or subconsciously.

After finding myself telling my daughters this all the time, I had to stop and realize what I was doing, because telling someone they’re beautiful may be a true statement, but it’s not exactly a meaningful compliment.

If someone is, as you deem them, beautiful, that’s the way they were made. They didn’t do anything (short of extreme plastic surgery gone right, in which case you can compliment the doctor) to look like that. And even so, a compliment towards one’s beauty is merely a statement on their outward appearance, one they had no control over.

Related post: The problem with ‘everyone is beautiful’

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