I’ll never punish my daughter for saying no.
The first time it comes out of her mouth, I’ll smile gleefully. As she repeats “No! No! No!” I’ll laugh, overjoyed. At a young age, she’ll have mastered a wonderful skill. A skill I’m still trying to learn. I know I’ll have to teach her that she has to eat her vegetables, and she has to take a nap. But “No” is not wrong. It is not disobedience.
1. She will know her feelings are valid.
2. She will know that when I no longer guide her, she still has a right to refuse.
The first time a boy pulls her hair after she says no, and the teacher tells her “boys will be boys,” we will go to her together, and explain that my daughter’s body is not a public amenity. That boy isn’t teasing her because he likes her, he is harassing her because it is allowed. I will not reinforce that opinion. If my son can understand that “no means no” so can everyone else’s.
3. She owes no one her silence, her time, or her cooperation.
The first time she tells a teacher, “No, that is wrong,” and proceeds to correct his public school, biased rhetoric, I’ll revel in the fact that she knows her history; that she knows our history. The first time she tells me “No” with the purpose and authority that each adult is entitled, I will stop. I will apologize. I will listen.
4. She is entitled to her feelings and her space. I, even a a parent, have no right to violate them.
5. No one has a right to violate them.
The first time my mother questions why I won’t make her kiss my great aunt at Christmas, I’ll explain that her space isn’t mine to control. That she gains nothing but self doubt when she is forced into unwanted affection. I’ll explain that “no” is a complete sentence. When the rest of my family questions why she is not made to wear a dress to our reunion dinner. I will explain that her expression is her own. It provides no growth to force her into unnecessary and unwanted situation.
6. She is entitled to her expression.
When my daughter leaves my home, and learns that the world is not as open, caring, and supportive as her mother, she will be prepared. She will know that she can return if she wishes, that the real world can wait. She will not want to. She will not need to. I will have prepared her, as much as I can, for a world that will try to push her down at every turn.
7. She is her own person. She is complete as she is.
I will never punish my daughter for saying no. I want “No” to be a familiar friend. I never want her to feel that she cannot say it. She will know how to call on “No” whenever it is needed, or wanted.
You may think it’s unfair that we have to counteract and adjust ourselves for the ill behavior of other men. You know what? You’re right. It is unfair. Is that the fault of women? Or is it the fault of the men who act abysmally and make the rest of us look bad? If issues of fairness bother you, get mad at the men who make you and your actions appear questionable.
Because when it comes to assessing a man, whatever one man is capable of, a woman must presume you are capable of. Unfortunately, that means all men must be judged by our worst example. If you think that sort of stereotyping is bullshit, how do you treat a snake you come across in the wild?
…You treat it like a snake, right? Well, that’s not stereotyping, that’s acknowledging an animal for what it’s capable of doing and the harm it can inflict. Simple rules of the jungle, man. Since you are a man, women must treat you as such.
The completely reasonable and understandable fear of men is your responsibility. You didn’t create it. But you also didn’t build the freeways either. Some of the things you inherit from society are cool and some of them are rape culture.
"Tiffany and Tiger's Eye": New Young Adult horror novel with lesbian romance from Foxglove Lee (Prizm Books)
Tiffany and Tiger Eye by Foxglove Lee is a teen horror novel with a lesbian romance set in the 1980’s and starring a lonely, butch-presenting girl. It’s published by Prizm, where my books live as well, so I’ve had it on my to-read list ever since I got the notification on the internal author mailing list.
I think it’s a good read. It was a total relief to read a “historical” (zomg, the 1980’s were so long ago! How did that happen?) lesbian novel that, while not ignoring homophobia, didn’t make it the focal point or chief antagonist of the book. In fact, while one of my favorite images from the book was the bisexual love interests’s grandmother literally whacking at homophobic bullies with a broom (go Grandma!), the main antagonists of the book, besides the Evil Doll ™, are isolation-in-general (not just from being a butch lesbian but also from being poor and dorky and for family scandals that are supposed to be a spoiler so I’ll leave them be. And also the usual amount of insecurity many teens have about their love interests at that age.)
The basic plot is that the protagonist’s creepy little doll gets jealous when she gets interested in a flesh-and-blood girl and goes progressively more and more apeshit.
Kudos to the author for having the protag backpedal on her brief moment of biphobia, by the way — I was glad that was something the character was going through, and not the author. Especially since I’m somewhat of a “Tiffany” type myself — without spoiling anything, I, too, prefer women, but my tastes in men are very similar to hers. (If you follow my blog or have read my book, you already can probably guess what I mean.)
Definitely worth a read if you’re looking for lesbian YA where you don’t have to worry about the usual “nobody leaves anybody for a man, nobody dies, nobody gets fired for being gay, blah blah blah” list of things that sometimes make me scared of other people’s books :P
Even her family was supportive, by the way. I read it on my phone or I’d copy and paste, but the aunt who’s cottage the protag is staying with for the summer says something like “Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise” after saying her lesbianism is okay.