If You Have a Daughter, You're Gonna Want to Watch This NOW
Maybe your daughter doesn't have to know the world can be a hard place for girls.
I am a mom to three girls, so when I saw a headline begging me to watch a video if I have a daughter, you better believe I was clicking "play."
In the opening scene we meet Ellie, a 5-year-old girl who knows how to do a lot of things, like brush her teeth and read to her baby sister. She also knows life is an adventure, and that there's no one else exactly like her.
But then the narrator says there are some things she doesn't know: "She doesn't know that the world can be a hard place for girls." As we watch Ellie painting and playing with Legos, we are told only 11 percent of practicing engineers, and only one-fifth of head chefs, are women.
We are then told how few women reach the upper echelons of success in various arts, and how girls typically feel less confidence when it comes to science than boys, even though they earn higher grades in middle school. All the while, Ellie is innocently taking photographs and conducting experiments.
The fact I found most disturbing is that by age 11, 30 percent of girls will try a diet, something a 5-year-old is blissfully oblivious even exists. And that 60 percent of girls give up doing what they love because they don't like the way they look. Heart sinking...
But then, the narrator suggests that maybe Ellie won't have to know about any of these disturbing aspects of growing up as a girl, because the world is changing every day. "Ellie is 5. All she knows is possibility. Let's join together to keep it that way."
The entire time I watched this video, I pictured my own daughters, especially my 5-year-old, doing what Ellie was doing. I smiled thinking about how innocent they are; they don't know about pay inequality, or sexism, or diets. How I'd love to shield them from these things forever...
Of course, this isn't realistic. The best I can do is teach them, and show them, that anything is possible if they believe in themselves. And that their bodies are beautiful, no matter what. It's a tall order, but then again, why else am I here?
What's your reaction to this video?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.