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She Says Girls Should Be Taught About Bravery, But Not Perfection

She Says Girls Should Be Taught About Bravery, But Not Perfection

Girls are often caught up in a web of confusion surrounded by status quo definitions of who and what they should be. Strong women rise above engraved definitions and challenge the status quo.

Some may not reach goals they aspire to, yet this does not fall in the ‘boxed’ definition of failure. It is about being brave enough to counter the challenge. Women tend to focus on positions and careers that they know they will excel in, which limits their vision. That is an avoidance of risk or failure. Smile, play safe and get the straight As. Stay closeted in a safely defined zone.

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Boys are taught to rough it up, climb and jump away. When they become adults men keep taking the risks and rising to challenges, asking for a raise or a date. They get rewarded. So in essence, we raise girls to venture to perfection and boys are taught bravery.

There are many reasons why girls need to be taught bravery. In an  annual Vancouver conference, Reshma Saujani shared a powerful vision in a talk “Teaching Girls Bravery, Not Perfection“. She cited research conducted on fifth graders by Carol Dweck, a psychologist. The findings revealed that intelligent girls gave up quickly on a difficult assignment. Boys with high IQs related to the difficult material as a challenge and increased their effort. Girls who outperformed boys in every subject not because of their ability, but because of their manner in approaching challenges.

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A Hewlett-Packard report indicated that men applied for jobs even if they only met 60% of qualifications. Women would not attempt unless they were fully qualified. This report clearly shows that women lack confidence.

According to Reshma Saujani, it was evidence that women are socialized towards aspiring to perfectionism, making them overcautious. They tend to take fewer risks. There is massive expansion in the technology and computing industries, yet women are being left behind as they have been socialized to reach perfectionism.

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The examples of girls achieving by learning to be brave in supportive networks are massive. Girls who have been socialized to imperfection keep trying. They learn perseverance. They reach their goals.

Here are some ways to help girls and women gain confidence and display bravery:

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  • Girls need to confront the notions engraved of female fragility. The media and societal views must be challenged that represent assertive women as destructive or unfeminine.
  • Celebrate accomplishments of competent women.

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    • Classes for child rearing would promote approaches that are not limited to gender stereotyping.
    • Ask girls what toys they would prefer. They may want a truck instead of a doll, or a chemistry set instead of a jewelry box.
    • Girls need to learn skills defend themselves and make points without apology.
    • Girls have the right to express themselves with originality and enthusiasm.
    • Decision making needs to be shared with girls in a home and at school. Girls need to be shown that their voices impact their lives and the lives of others.
    • Equal participation of girls need to be a requisite in all youth and public forums.
    • Girls reserve the rights to strive freely, take risks and take pride in successes.
    • There should be no acceptance of, “I can’t” or “I won’t.” Help girls with confidence to say they will try.
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      • Girls should be given platforms to speak without being interrupted .
      • Avoid the notion of ‘rescuing’ girls. Encourage them to be imperfect, to pursue goals, to make mistakes, to get disheveled and dirty.
      • Girls must accept and appreciate their bodies.They must be taught beauty comes in all forms, shapes, colors,and sizes. Encourage focus on strength, flexibility and health.
      • Enable them to become critical of the media, taking into account the portrayals of women and girls in commercial songs, movies, and television. Question portrayals of how female characters are judged.
      • Applaud girls for successes, efforts and skills. Keep praising them and showering them with confidence.
      • Girls have the right to have confidence in themselves and to be safe in the world. They should let off steam by punching pillows or yell out or visualizing and relaxing. Offer self-defense training and sports to promote strength.
      • Girls need to be encouraged to join in unison to improve neighborhoods and schools and every setting they feel unsafe in.
      • Girls need  preparation to take ventures of  interesting work towards economic independence.
      • Girls need an introduction to women role models who are able to balance work, volunteering, family and personal life.
      • Provide girls with an opportunity to explore roles reserved primarily for boys, like carpentry, holding snakes or constructing an electrical circuit.
      • The myth of ‘Prince Charming’ coming to the rescue must be debunked.
      • Discuss family financials openly with girls included.

      Spread the word to sisters, nieces, colleagues and employees that girls need to be comfortably imperfect. Teaching girls imperfection will build  a bravery and heal the world, making it a better place for all.

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      Nena Tenacity

      Screenwriter ∕ Filmmaker

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      Last Updated on January 18, 2019

      7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

      7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

      Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

      But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

      If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

      1. Limit the time you spend with them.

      First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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      In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

      Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

      2. Speak up for yourself.

      Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

      3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

      This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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      But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

      4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

      Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

      This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

      Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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      5. Change the subject.

      When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

      Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

      6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

      Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

      I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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      You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

      Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

      7. Leave them behind.

      Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

      If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

      That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

      You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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