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The house was pretty chaotic when our copy of The Pink Hat arrived, but I tucked it away in my bedroom to share with my two daughters later that evening.
Later in the afternoon, as I was working on folding laundry on my bed, my kids came thrashing down that hallways and burst into my room. My oldest, the leader of the pack, pulled the package off the floor and ripped it open without hesitation.
“It’s a pink hat!” she squealed, handing the second copy to my middle child. With that, they cracked the books open and started to read.
My oldest is just now reading, so my middle daughter followed along in her copy, listening to her big sister sound out the words. I had planned to sit them down, to be the one to read them the story for the very first time, for this felt more special, but this felt more right. For big sister to read to little sister a book about a new movement of women.
They giggled over the pink hat serving as a baseball mitt and boxing glove. They laughed at it balancing on the girls’ head as she raked leaves. They gasped when they turned the page to see everyone wearing a pink hat.
We don’t talk about feminism in our home. I guess, I kind of felt like I wanted feminism to be the default for awhile and that talking about it would make it feel like it wasn’t normal. My daughters are young and I wanted them to get to experience a world, their world of mostly being with me and their dad, where being a girl was treated as nothing short of awesome. I didn’t want to ruin that. I didn’t want them to suspect or to be told, just yet, that not everyone treats women like equals. So, we never talked about the marches. It didn’t feel like time.
When my daughters turned to the last page, the page with a crowd of smiling people carrying signs and marching, I realized that not talking about the marches, not talking about women pushing back against discrimination didn’t just shield them from the knowledge of inequality. It hid them from something else, something awesome.
My daughter’s eyes went right to the sign urging, “THINK PINK” and then moved onto the sign that says, “GIRL POWER.” She giggled.
She hadn’t heard that phrase before and that is what has been missing from our home. In my attempt to protect them from the knowledge that they will face discrimination or harassment or unfair expectations, I’d neglected to share the whole spirit of the movement. I’d assumed that they’d would know that girls have power, that they are strong, brave, and awesome just because we model it in our home. But, without those conversations, without giggling over phrases like “girl power,” I hadn’t yet given the words to whisper to themselves as they begin to experience a world in which women are treated as equals.
It feels like a big step, to start explaining these huge ideas to my daughters who are in Kindergarten and Preschool, but now it feels like time. We’re starting small, with the the pink hat and the march, and why women need to push just a little bit harder in our world. Mostly importantly, at least right now, we’ve started reminding each other of our girl power.