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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 September 20, 2018

      7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

      7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

      What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

      For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

      It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

      1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

      The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

      What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

      The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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      2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

      Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

      How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

      If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

      Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

      3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

      Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

      If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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      These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

      What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

      4. What are my goals in life?

      Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

      Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

      5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

      Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

      Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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      You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

      Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

      6. What do I not like to do?

      An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

      What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

      Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

      The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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      7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

      Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

      But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

      “What do I want to do with my life?”

      So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

      Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

      Reference

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