An Australian Storyteller

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In response to my prior entry Storytellers Wanted, Matt Langdon, shared with me an article by the Australian journalist, Anne Summers.

Link: Time to make the shoe fit – Opinion – theage.com.au.

In addition to her making the point that there are relatively few women in politics (as in the media), I was riveted by her comment that “we trivialize women in the public eye, obsessing over their appearance.”

How many times have I asked one of my female friends, “what are you going to wear?” It would never occur me to ask a man that.

More importantly, does my mindset play out in my behavior toward young girls, and what can I do to change?

Maybe the next time my daughter wants to dress how she wants to dress (which is everyday), and not allow me to doll her up (I love smocked dresses), I can remember Anne Summers' comment, and keep my mouth shut — and not even be wistful.

Yes, her clothes need to be clean, and yes I want her to be modest (read: wear clothes that allow us to focus on her, her personality, not her body). But beyond that — does it matter? I certainly don't obsess over my son's appearance. And maybe that's what my 6-year old daughter is really trying to convey:

“Mom, don't obsess about my appearance. I'm a person just like my brother, not an object — a person who thinks, who matters, who has something to contribute to the world, not because of how I look, but because of who I am.”

The big question is — if I can begin to focus on her and not her appearance, will she and all our daughters need to rethink their competence as they get older, or will they just already know they're competent?

And if that can be true, Leah will never have to leave the building.

Because she never entered.

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