We often say that girls can do anything to encourage girls to get involved in traditionally 'male' pursuits like sports, science, or math. Dr Elline Lipkin, research scholar at UCLA's Center for the Study of Women and author of Girls Studies, points out that these platitudes can actually be harmful.
"By telling girls they can do anything—without societal support undergirding this idea with actual opportunities—girls feel worse if they try and do not succeed at something,” she says. We should acknowledge, and not ignore the fact that sexism will affect how our daughters are treated. Instead, Lipkin suggests, say "There's no such thing as a 'boy' job or a 'girl' job."
“These insipid platitudes, which I sometimes refer to as 'fauxpowerment,' do more harm than good if they not only never effect systemic change, but rather place the onus of taking on change on an individual girl herself,” Dr Lipkin explains. "Then, if she doesn't achieve the outcome she hopes, the message of self-blame is reinforced."
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