I have just been reading on Facebook, a promotion for a book about women who have excelled in various fields. The purpose of this book (written by feminist women) is to be an alternative to stories like Cinderella where a girl is helped by a fairy to marry a prince. It is intended to give girls confidence.and make them feel that they are just a worthy and competent as boys.T his seems a laudable aim, but one thing worried me.:the statement that girls should be encouraged to believe that they could be anything they wanted to be. Now this is such a blatant lie.! There is nothing wrong in encouraging children to aim high, but to tell them that they con succeed at anything they want to is just to set them up for disappointment. All children should be helped to develop their special talents, but to encourage them to believe that they have abilities that they lack or to allow them to be blind to their limitations is just to be cruel and make them feel dreadfully guilty when they fail. It is bad enough that boys are pushed to dominate and excel at all costs, why put these pressures on girls too?
I am glad to have been born a girl and to have been born in the middle years of the last century. when girls were taught cooking and sewing and were expected to become wives and mothers rather than astronauts or physicists. I had a mother and aunts who had shone academically and had done well in their respective careers, but I was not put under the sort of pressure to excel that the boys I knew experienced. I was allowed to be myself, I was allowed to be ordinary. I am sure a lot of girls feel this way. Of course we should be grateful for the stalwart women who have opened greater possibilities for us,enormously increasing our choices of career, but how nice to be able to believe that we don't have to work long boring hours or battle our way up corporate ladders the way men have to do to be accepted.