An Open Letter To My Daughter: I'm Sorry About The Misogyny You'll Inevitably Encounter

by Toni Hammer
IvanJekic / iStock

Dear Daughter,

This world I have brought you into is a bit of a clusterfuck.

I’m sorry that it’s not set up in a way that acknowledges a woman as an equal. There are plenty of people who will look down on you just because of that fact alone. They believe that you are “less-than” simply because of the gender you were born as.

I’m sorry that people will judge you based solely on the clothes you wear. Your intelligence, your compassion, your bravery won’t matter a lick if you’re wearing a miniskirt and knee-high boots. There are those in this world who will try to shame you, who will try to make you feel bad about yourself, simply because you don’t wear clothes that they deem appropriate. They may even call you degrading names like “slut” and “whore,” and they will do it all in the name of decency when, in fact, they are the ones who need to be taught what it means to be decent and appropriate.

Don’t let them dictate what makes you feel comfortable and fabulous.

I’m sorry that you will have to fight to prove how smart you are because you have a vagina, and some folks think that has a negative impact on your intelligence. You will be able to come back with a brilliant counterargument or response to something they have said, and they will brush you off, saying that you’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional.” I’m sorry people won’t always listen to what you have to say because you have breasts.

Don’t buy into their bullshit narrative, kid. Keep speaking up for yourself, and others.

I’m sorry that your brother will have it easier in life because he’s a man. If you two take the exact same job at the exact same company, I’m sorry that he will most likely get paid more for his equal work because he has a penis. I’m sorry that you will be overlooked for promotions that you are more than qualified for, and I’m sorry he will receive more accolades than you even if you are equally deserving because you’re a woman, and he’s not.

I’m hopeful things will keep changing for the better, but I want you to be prepared, so you can hold your head high and fight for what is rightfully yours. You’re strong and brave, and don’t you forget it.

I’m sorry that because I’ve taught you to believe it’s okay to cry that you will be seen as weak by some ignorant fools. I’m sorry that because you go through a healthy, normal bodily function like menstruation that those around you will feel like it’s okay to judge you and your behavior and your words based solely on the fact they think it’s your “time of the month.”

Don’t let them make you feel ashamed of your body — ever.

I’m sorry that, if you decide to have children, that others will think you are doing your kids a disservice by working outside of the home. They will think you’re abandoning your kids and your priorities are screwed up. They will “feel sorry” for your kids because they are “missing out.” Conversely, I’m sorry that if you choose to stay home to raise a family that people will think you’re taking the easy way out, that you don’t work as hard as your husband, that you don’t deserve as much respect as him.

You choose what works best for you, my girl. Figure out what sets your soul on fire, whether that’s kids or no kids, staying home or working full-time. Figure out what you want, and do that.

I’m sorry that the world you were born into won’t give you the same respect you receive within these four walls, and I’m sorry that I’m seeming like a big, dark cloud right now. But I want you to know there is hope, and we are making progress.

There are many of us — so many of us — who are fighting to give you a brighter future. We are calling our government officials over and over again. We are flooding their email inboxes. We are going to protests. We are rallying together on social media. We are making a difference. We are opening up the dialogue and speaking boldly and fighting for you. For girls and women everywhere.

We are fighting for you to have reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. We are fighting for you to receive equal pay. We are speaking out against those who believe in victim blaming and shaming. We are fighting to give you, and your children and their children, a better life.

The road we walk as women is not easy. It is broken and treacherous and filled with ignorance. I’m sorry that this is where you’re growing up, but don’t lose hope, child. We are speaking up for you. We are fighting for you. Because being a woman isn’t “bad” — it is amazing and beautiful. We are strong and smart and courageous, and so are you.

Give ’em hell.