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Grandma’s Speech. She Talked About Twerking (she knows what that is!), and The Y-O-U-N-G Chant

Grandparents Day.jpg dinner

It was Grandparents Day, and I hosted dinner for the grandparents, and the grandchildren—all of them teenage girls. Cards were given, toasts were made, and then someone said, “Speech!” Boy oh boy did we get one. Grandma pushed her chair back, stood up, and began.

“Girls, it’s a man’s world. Take it from me, if you want compete, if you want to be good at anything, you are going to have to be bad first. Trust me on this; Grandma knows what’s good about bad: Attitude.”

This grabbed our attention—grandma is the good wife of a pastor.

Attitude Number One: Damn I’m good!

Now listen, you know how granddad hates The Simpsons’, how he says, That show teaches kids bad morals’.

He’s right. But I like The Simpsons, because it mocks all of us, the so-called, “good”, and “bad”.

Like the time Homer won a spa visit for two, while he and Marge were gone, the Children’s Aid Society took away the “neglected” Simpson children: Marge blamed herself for being selfish, with her face in her hands she admitted, ‘It’s so like me’.

Not Homer. Nooo, he doesn’t suffer false guilt, this is Homer,

‘O.K. pie, I am going to walk around like this’, he bites the air, ‘and if you get in the way, it’s your own fault.’

                It’s the pie’s fault.

Fiddle sticks, and crazy talk! Marge is too responsible; Homer isn’t responsible enough. And we all pretend this is normal.

Quit it, I say.  Girls, stop being extra nice, and stop being extra responsible.

You’re good enough without all that.

When you look in the mirror say it, say, Damn I’m good! Because you are (Grandma approves this one cuss.)

Attitude Number Two: Sexy, and I Know it”

“It’s nice to be sexy, and to know it. But, it’s not nice to be sexier, or smarter, or more successful than other girls, if you are, they won’t like you. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to be sexy, smart, and successful, and both genders will like them.*

Social biases have been dismantled before. Think, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gandhi, Nellie McClung—look them up, then download a book from your own generation, like, Lean In and, Good Girl Revolution.

If you don’t feel equal, do the next best thing: Fake it.

Pretend you are confident, speak louder, stand taller, until you are a confident equal. Feeling like a fraud is normal at first. You won’t be alone, you will be confident, equal, sexy—and know it!

By the way, equality is sexiest. Research shows the most satisfying, and frequent sex, happens in marriages where the partnership is equal, and the work is shared. Now that’s hot.”

The girls around the table exchanged glances, incredulous. Grandma snapped them out of it, as if to lift up their sagging jaws and focus them for her big ka-pow.

“Attitude Number Three: Be bold”.

I thought the third attitude must be the crescendo, at least I hoped so, my eyebrows couldn’t have moved up higher on my forehead. I was wrong,

“I am not talking about dance-floor boldness. Twerking, for example, is a bold way to get noticed but it sure ain’t about dignity. Be bold for dignity.

I can hear you say, ‘But girls don’t like girls who are bold about morals’. And it’s true. You won’t be liked if you promote your own self-righteousness. So don’t make it about you,” She gestured around the table, “make it about your sisters. Make it about the sister targeted for rape by the St. Mary’s University Y-O-U-N-G chant—those female student leaders could have used some bold talk on dignity before compliantly chanting, Y is for your sister, U is for under age, N is for no consent.”

The girls looked at their grandmother with new eyes. Grandma had captured them, and then released them with this,

“Remember what I am telling you, and tell it to yourself,

  1. Damn I’m good!
  2. I’m smart and confident, and I know it.
  3. I’m bold—for dignity and equality.

Granddad and I are cheering for you.”

With that, grandma took her seat.

Granddad gave a smile and a nod to Grandma. The rest of us applauded. Thank you mom and dad. Happy Grandparent’s Day!

 

*The Heidi/Howard Study is a study on gender bias. Hundreds of men and women read about a powerful, successful business woman, Heidi. They reported that they didn’t like her, wouldn’t want to work with her. But they did like (wanted to hire, and work with) Howard. The description of Heidi and Howard in this study are the exact same except for—you guessed it!—gender.

 

 

 

 

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