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Growing Up Female My mother says a woman should have a set of screwdrivers.  I asked my grandfather if they should be common or Philips. He said that it didn't matter because my mother would use any screw driver for a hammer.

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Growing up female can be difficult because sorting out stereotypes from actuality can be very difficult from the "insiders" point of view (sorting out stereotypes about yourself by looking out at stereotypes through your own perceptions of stereotypes). There are so many stereotypes that abound today, especially sexual ones [Tolstoy once wrote that ladies of good families dressed like ladies of the night (we might say "hookers"), an observation surprisingly and ironically applicable to today in our post feminist liberation era]. Beauty seems to carry a special burden today that seems unique from other eras. Beauty is admired but crushed in anorexia and self-punishment; it is desired but abused; it is vaunted as a sought after goal but trivialized and objectified. For growing up female, it seems the best asset is a trustworthy pair of eyes that are not your own and that can see the stereotypes and steer you out of them.

Implicit Stereotypes

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Growing up female is both challenging and enjoyable.  As a girl moves through adolescence,  changes in the body and emotions sometimes are almost overwhelming.  With  good parental support and non-stop communication, the girl will flourish and look forward to all the new things that are happening to her. 

In the 21st Century, female adolescents know so much more than twenty-five years ago.  The media's bombardment of sexuality and body image has enabled girls to know more about their bodies than maybe female adults do about themselves.  Some of this knowledge is good; however, there are negative aspects as well.  Experts are not sure why, but many girls are starting puberty at an earlier age. Because of this early onset,  these girls may face problems of teasing, poor self-esteem, and  depression. Again with parental guidance, these challenges can be conquered. 

The media's emphasis on body image has not been always been positive.  Girls encounter models and movie stars who bodies appear perfect.  Anorexia nervosa and bulemia have sprung from these images.  Hopefully, through education and understanding these terrible disease will be eradicated. 

What fun it is to be a girl!  Sharing memorable experiences with friends--talking, telling secrets, working together are all pleasurable times that stay in the heart. Hormones hit, and the boys come calling.  Looking back now, waiting for the boy to call did not seem enjoyable then; yet today, those times were gone too soon.

Adulthood has its own set of trials.  Deciding on the career finds it way to the top of the list.  Searching for that special someone who will support and love her. Relating to the parents as they grow older.  When the children come, the circle of life begins again; now the female adult must guide her daughter through the tests that every girl faces.  Life is never dull growing up female!

http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-1103-graber.html

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Sure, a woman shoud have a set of screwdrivers, and the knowledge of how to use them. That way she won't have to depend on somebody else for everything.

As for having a youth, having a child when you're young certainly limits it. Mom's right, you'll never have this much freedom again. Use it, but use it wisely.

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Speaking for myself, a female who grew up when the role of female's changed dramatically in society, I think you should be a well-rounded female. That is what your mother wants for you. You shouldn't be helpless. You should try to do non-traditional things as well as traditional. Take your education seriously, have fun, make friends, be fearless. You never know what the path ahead will bring, so be ready to both be able to take care of yourself, have a family or not, and share your life with someone else or not.... the choice is up to you. I love being a strong role model for my students, someone who tries to do what she likes in terms of hobbies and being able to have a voice.

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When I look at your first post and then your second post, I see a huge difference in your realization of what you are really asking.  Your mother wants you to have a youth--the fun of school or work where you reap the rewards, having the time for fun,  the time with friends to spend having both fun and serious discussions about life, the time to discover who you are and what you want to do with your life, in short, all the things she really couldn't do as she wanted as she made the decision to have a baby so young. Your mom sounds like she raised a thoughtful, warm, giving person which makes her and you good people.  Growing up female means figuring out what being female means to you and living as you believe.  People may try to mold you into something you don't want to be simply because you are female.  You need to be the strong female who knows what she wants, who she wants to be, and how she plans to get there.

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