We read a book tonight called “Baby Wanna Be”, which is geared towards little babies but Mario still enjoys reading it. Actually, I think he just knows that I will read it even after I have said “no more books” because it is a short read and easy to understand (hence, not a trillion questions coming at me with every page). We flipped past the Babby Wanna Be Firefighter and Policeman pages and moved onto Babby Wanna Be Doctor and Nurse pages. The doctor was a boy baby and the nurse was a girl baby. I asked what Maria and Mario wanted to be when they got older. Mario ignored me (he was too busy twirling around like a spinning top and shouting craziness) but Maria answered. “Why is the doctor a boy and the nurse a girl? I want to act like the nurse is a doctor and I want to be her.”
There it is! All my years of instilling that feminist spirit in her has paid off in droves. I have talked with her for years about the Gloria Steinem autograph I got for her when she was a young girl, and what Gloria Steinem did for women’s rights. I have made sure to point out that women can do anything men can do (and usually better) especially when a picture shows only men (typically seen in books about astronauts, cowboys, sports figures). I have reinforced that she is brilliant and caring and feisty and strong. Now, this must be balanced with the comment she made last night while at Panera. She saw a newspaper advertisement for a strip club of a woman with huge breasts cupping her hands over them and wearing little rhinestone underwear (yes, I now have to monitor the newspaper basket at Panera). She held it up giggling and commented “This girl’s boobs are really big, and I love her underwear!” She appreciates working hard and being smart but also having fun, I guess….??! Of course, Mario’s response was to yell throughout Panera “Ria, show me those boobs again!” Thank goodness it was packed with twenty-something college kids who were rolling in their seats over these antics.
So, there you have it. A proud moment for a mama whose own mama and stepmom and mom-in-law and little sister have ingrained in her the importance of independence and strength and determination and self-empowerment. It is flowing right along to the next generation, thank goodness.