Auntie Says...

It’s Clear Some Still Need Rules of Engagement When Talking With Young Girls! Here Are Five Do’s and Five Don’ts to Get You Started.

This is a bit of an Auntie Rant as I witnessed an older lady pinch the belly of a young girl and tell her she was getting pudgy. Can you believe that? The girl couldn’t have been anymore than five or six years old as she was in the grocery cart and the lady appeared to be part of the family group… Granny perhaps? Mean Auntie? idk. Ugh.

I wanted to go over and punch her! The Granny…not the little girl. But I thought better of it and watched from a distance. While the little girl seemed no worse for the wear, the words and feelings were now embedded into her tiny being for life and this made me so mad–and sad.

She shouldn’t have to carry around someone else’s crap judgement. Even at that young age the message is clear that her body is not right in some way.

When I was a little girl, I was called “husky”. Like what the hell does that even mean? I now look back on pictures and see I was a normal girl who had a label slapped on me early in life and it still resounds today. THAT is how powerful those words are.

When You’re Talking to Young Girls..DO NOT

1. Do not call a young girl fat, big boned, husky, chubby, pudgy, or any other slur that refers to weight. This is totally unacceptable and is internalized for years to come which affects who she becomes or what she thinks of herself.

I don’t care if the girl is 2 years old or 15 years old. Not acceptable. Got that?

2. Do not tell little girls how pretty they are! Or how cute! Or beautiful! These things are superficial and do not, and should not, define anyone’s path. I know a young women who grew up and received a lot of attention for her looks and I wonder who she would have been had she received a different, perhaps more compelling message as she was growing up. The focus on the external demonstrates a certain shallowness in that it is not a trait, or condition of life, that she could control.

Things like clothing, body type, hair styles, and facial features don’t make a difference in the person that she’ll become. Why not tell her she’s capable? or strong? or compassionate?

Time to change it up people.

3. Off the cuff remarks about mensuration, cycles, moods, tampons, pads, and anything else in this line are OFF limits. It’s none of your business. This is a natural human function and not one to be made fun of, create embarrassment, shame, belittling.

Way back in the day they sold sanitary napkins behind the drug-store counter wrapped in brown paper. This was way before my time but in that era, it meant having to ask for product and then carry home a secret package. How stupid was that? Who made up those rules?

I remember being asked once if I was “on the rag”. I had no idea what it meant and it was a boy who asked. He laughed and for whatever reason, there seemed to be shame around the subject. We need to do better with the boys understanding of bodily functions too.

ALSO It is NOT okay to ask a girl/woman if she’s PMS’ing or acting like a bitch because she’s on her period. Get over yourself and grow up.

4. Do not even think about commenting on a girls changing body. That includes budding breasts, her cleavage or lack thereof, her butt, her crotch, belly, or ANY OTHER PART. They are not yours to comment about and believe me when I say–back off.

I don’t care whether you’re Granny who notices a growth spurt and blurts out something about boobs or someone asking about pubic hair. Not acceptable. The teen years are hard enough–they don’t need to be made to feel uncomfortable or judged.

If you have comments, keep them to yourself unless the subject is brought up by the girl.

5. Do not attach labels. A girl who plays, runs, competes, gets dirty, doesn’t like nail polish is NOT a dyke or a tom-boy or any lesser female. She is doing what she enjoys. She should be encouraged to seek out physical activities if that’s what she likes.

Get rid of the notion of a little princess in a fluffy dress as being the “perfect” girl. This is a box that no longer should exist. If a girl loves frills and sparkle that’s fine but it needs to go further than the surface.

When you have a girl in your life…DO

1. TEACH her how to use a hammer and a screwdriver. When she’s old enough, let her have a chance at the electric drill to build something.

She may also want to add sparkles to the project and that’s okay. By teaching her how to use tools, she is building independence in knowing she can do anything.

2. Buy her a toy truck to go with her dolly and a stethescope too. Step away from the stereotypes of what toys or books a girl should enjoy. Let her choose for herself as you build her confidence and self awareness.

3. EDUCATE and explore options that have nothing to do with gender or limitations. Let her know that she can be an astronaut, and entrepreneur, or a mommy. All are perfectly lovely especially if she has options.

4. Let her know that her body is her own. No one has the right to touch it, or belittle it, in any way. Her body is hers to keep, to give, or adorn as she sees fit. Teach her that she is not here to serve a man (or any other partner she may choose) or put up with comments about being lesser than or “just” a girl. Drill into her that No Means No and she has every right to fight to defend herself.

5. Do let the girl in your life know that she has special SUPER POWERS. She is powerful from the tip of her head to the end of her big toe. There’s no such thing as being a cry baby, throwing like a “girl”, being too prissy, or emotional…

Emotions mean you’re alive and open to the world. They allow for conversation and communications beyond the mundane. Believing in one’s deep powers of sharing, caring, and being will take you to the ends of the earth and back.

Girl power is a real thing.

Auntie Lesson: It’s time to stop looking at the outside package and realize how strong and resilient girls are. Each is individual in her mind and spirit and we must respect the role they choose. Please know too that this post was written with the notion of any person who identifies as female.

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40 thoughts on “It’s Clear Some Still Need Rules of Engagement When Talking With Young Girls! Here Are Five Do’s and Five Don’ts to Get You Started.”

  1. When my daughter was about four she came to me and said, “Mommy, am I pretty?” I replied, “Well, yes you are, but that’s not important. It’s more important you have a brain in your head.” She thought about it for a moment and then asked, “Mommy, is my brain pretty?”

    1. Ah! The importance of being pretty. Sigh. Good for you to tell her to consider her brain! I wonder if she remembered that conversation later in life. Thanks for sharing Sally!, 💕💕

  2. I agree with everything you’ve written in this post, except for the ‘teach her how to use tools’ line. I don’t think it’s a necessary requirement to know how to use tools, or to build things. There are plenty of ways to teach young girls independence without forcing them to do things that they’re not interested in.

    My father was very big into the ‘my daughter needs to know how to use a drill and change the oil’ and so on and so forth, and honestly, I harbored a lot of resentment towards him for it. He never forced his sons to learn those things and all of his sons are very independent. There are a lot of ways to instill independence in a child that need not rely on teaching what society deems stereotypically ‘masculine efforts’.

    Giving a young girl an option to use tools is great. You can also give her the option to study sciences, chase athletic pursuits, hold positions of leadership, promote healthy sexuality and gender neutrality. There’s lots of ways to instill independence in young girls. Ya know?

    Everything else, though, absolutely on the same page with you!!!

    1. Hey V! Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciated. You make very valid points there and i accept that.
      I guess when I spoke of tools it was about (in my head) independence and empowerment. I agree it should be something she wants to engage in. It’s like a young boy learning to clean or sew a button on. Why do we still go down that road of gender bias?
      I don’t think requirements should enter in so much as it is life skills.. To know how to hang a picture, make scrambled eggs, or bake dog treats— it’s more about making those neutral. If that makes sense.
      I find it interesting that your dad taught you but not your brothers. Did you ever end up using any of those skills or was it totally useless?

      1. Oh yeah, independence and empowerment are definitely important.

        I also think that life skills are important. But, life skills aren’t necessarily what people still believe them to be. Being able to scramble eggs is handy. But you can also get a breakfast sandwich for two bucks these days. Being able to use a drill is handy, but if it saves me several hours of my time, I would spend the $20 to get someone to build it for me.

        And don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for just paying for everything and never doing anything for yourself. I just think it’s all about someone’s priorities. If a kid is being raised on a farm, or in a small town, learning how to make scrambled eggs is probably good for them. If a kid is being raised in the city, maybe the scrambled eggs might not be as much of a priority but instead the life skills the parent teaches are things like Karate and parallel parking.

        These are all, in value, very empowering things for a kid. These are all life skills . You know what I mean? I feel like I’m rambling a lot.

        As for me, I can’t say that I’ve used the skills my dad taught me. Well, I’ve hung pictures. But also, in a world of command strips that can hold ten pounds, even that in itself doesn’t carry the same value as it did 20 years ago.

        I grew up in the city. My mom taught me how to cook and clean and be a good wife and my dad taught me how to change the oil, fix a flat, build a dresser, etc. Truth be told, someone like me used the cooking skills because I have autoimmune conditions that put constraints on what I can eat. But my brother who couldn’t cook scrambled eggs if his life depended on it makes more money then he knows what to do with and could eat out every meal of his life without thinking twice. He loves working with his hands, and I hate it. I would way rather pay someone to build my furniture then do it. And I realize I’m in a position of privilege that I can do that.

        I’m talking soo much. I guess I would say that empowerment comes from discovering ways to instill in kids their own self-worth. It’s not necessarily the same way it was always, the ways my parents tried to teach me. The way I’m sure their parents tried to teach them.

      2. I love this! The world has changed a lot since In the last couple of decades for sure. As we grow through life our daily needs and skill set morph and change. It really does depend on where you are not only physically but mentally too.

        I guess the ‘teach her to use tools’ remark (for me) was more about stepping away from the gender bias and into a world that is just now beginning to recognize the labels and restrictions we put on our children or young people.

        We’re in agreement V. Totally. I love how you’ve taken the premise a step further in looking at being raised in the city v suburbs—need and reality are things we over look as we walk around with blinders on. I like the way you think. Thanks so much for not only getting my mind moving in a different way, but also for advocating for those young people who have different needs/interests/issues. 😊

      3. My boys know how to sew. They never did think of it as a girl thing. And they all cook, too. Didn’t have daughters. But I’m impressed with my girl friends that can wield power tools. I definitely see them as very independent and capable. My brother became a chef. He got interested in cooking because of the really lousy meals Mom made.

      4. Hi Val! I love this! I forgot that they actually include boys in sewing classes in school now. The world has changed in the last few years and awareness of empowering the child instead of the gender is beginning to occur. So important. Thanks for stopping by Val. Great chatting with you! 😊

      5. I also remember that when I was very young, I was allowed to go into the toy section of the department store and choose a toy I wanted for my birthday. I went into the “boy” isle. My mother was “no dear, that’s for boys, go the the girl toy section”. “But I want the spaceship with the astronaut”. My dad was a wonderful man. He shushed mom and told me to get what I wanted. I got the spaceship! Yay for my dad. I miss him terribly. He was a great guy. And yes. They had toy stores divided into girl toys and boy toys. Way more that it is today.

      6. I still find the toy section very gender specific. It’s like the pink and blue baby sections. Yay for your dad. He was ahead of his time.

  3. I agree, Faye. My younger sister was always referred to as “the pretty one”. Whenever anyone complimented my older sister or me, Mother would always have to say that our younger sister was prettier, had better hair than us and even commented on how our younger sister had bigger boobs than us. Christ! My sister has evolved into a Narcissistic Borderline Personality Disorder freakin’ horror show. I’ve cut off all contact with her 3 yrs ago. Focusing on the shallow-shit creates a shallow shit. I’ve even been distancing myself emotionally from my mother. She’s a Narcissistic nightmare. Build up the characteristics that count. I love my 2 yr old niece’s curiosity, and her excitement. She’s busy and clever. She is a delight to watch and interact with. I pray that no stupid ‘bitty’ pinches her belly and calls her fat. I’ve got enough garbage in my head from sis and Mom, and a Narcissistic ex to last me the rest of my life. And that’s how long I’m going to be working on erasing their damaging words. Happy with where I am now. Much safer and way better for my ego. I’m finally letting myself do what I’ve always wanted to do. Shine.

    1. Hey Val! Wow. A lot going on with the women in your family. It sounds so stressful to have to deal with. That narcissism is a terrible thing and I too have witnessed similar things. It’s sad beyond belief! I love that your little niece is curious and independent. Aunties have a lot of power and influence so make sure you keep your finger on the pulse there. I’m glad you found the strength to step away from the rest. Concentrate on that little one and break the cycle! Shine on ☀️☀️☀️

  4. You know reading this I can relate my younger sister is the same age and she’s called fat and plump by her close ones I’ve tried to stop them because I know in the long run she will mentally think that her body is not perfect but they are like she does not care much about what people tell her which is true but ultimately she’s only a 7 year old kid I mean grown ups here act like 2 y/o ffs grow up look beyond a girl’s body. She has talents she’s not here to be according to your whims and fancies and have a desired body. About a year back I was also told by the same person that you are looking over weight by 5-6 kgs. Though I did try my best to not get affected ultimately after the lockdown I lost 7 kgs. But I loved your points so valid and relatable. I’m glad you addressed this. Thank you☺️💜🤍✨

    1. It’s been my experience that the people that say these thoughtless things are usually hopeless puddles of angst and woe if someone said the same stupid thing to them. What’s up with that?

      1. Ya exactly the person who said all of this are just so in a puddle of angst. They just called her fat for ordering a burger right now and now she refuses to eat anything but salad.

      2. Those people should be ashamed of themselves. Anyone with a weight issue already knows it and doesn’t need to be reminded. 😟

      3. Exactly and she is not weight conscious its just because of the lockdown she put on some weight but once she starts going out she will lose that weight. Unfortunately they think its a joke and are just shameless enough to not be ashamed😔

      4. My younger sister put on over 100 lbs. But when I gain say 30 lbs – she’s the first one to point it out. Pot. Kettle. Black. And she’s always saying she wishes people would follow “the Golden Rule”. Hmmmm? No they don’t feel ashamed for their behavior or their hurtful words. It’s all about them. Only them. Others, I suppose, don’t have ‘feelings’. Not in their world anyways.

      5. They do have feelings. Only for themselves. They have no capacity to understand the feelings others have. It’s all about them, all the time.

      6. Hey Val. Yeah. Everyone seems to have their own bubble about themselves and others. Sometimes others will deflect the attention away from themselves and put it on others because they feel so shitty about themselves. It is heartless and very, very sad.

      7. Yes, it is very sad. For both. I know that I stay clear of these toxic people. They really don’t have close friends. And it seems that their only way to feel good about themselves is to hurt others. It’s taken me decades to just “walk away”. I feel so much better now. I’m not putting myself down anymore.

      8. Omg. I agree. But I also find that it’s older/elderly who’ve removed any filters and just say what they want. It pisses me off and I agree they probably heard it themselves or—worse yet— think they’re being funny 😫Thanks for stopping by Val. Really appreciated!

      9. anyone who thinks it’s funny to call others derogatory names or slurs doesn’t deserve anyones time. they’re idiots. clear and simple.

    2. Zenia! This makes me so sad. 😢That poor little girl. The damage will ruin her self image and self esteem! I want to cry. Please share the post with them. One thing your sister has is you. I am very thankful for that. Thank you for sharing. Stay strong.

      1. Exactly its ruining her self image. I was going to share this post yesterday and I forgot but I’m sharing it right away. Me and my mom we both are there for her yes. Thank you so much it means a lot❤️✨

  5. My peeve—- woman using the term: “Bitch” against each other woman. How terrible is that. to think that way about one an other. Stop the degradation amongst our selves. If “we” demean each other, why should men stop doing so. Food for thought. Stop using the word girls. Banish it. Be decent.. or else it comes to bite you in the butt. You only have yourselves to blame.

    1. Hi Marianna. I agree. It’s so degrading isn’t it. I think it began as an empowering thing of owning it so to speak but what it comes down to is that it’s ugly. Thanks for stopping by. So appreciated. Xo

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