Wes and I were hiking with the kids last weekend and passed a family heading the opposite direction. My son went running past the other family, all gangly limbs and flying feet, at the same time a boy of around the same age went whizzing by me. I remarked to the mother in the family as we passed, “Boys have just the one speed, don’t they?”
It was meant to be a simple pleasantry. She took it as something more, however, because she replied, “Girls too.” The tone of her voice wasn’t humorous, it was serious. Her reply was meant to be a correction.
A correction I resent enough to write a whole blog post about because, really? Is it necessary to be so fearless feminist prowling the woods, politically-correct Seattleite who’s sensitive to so many things there’s almost nothing that’s not offensive, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar-or-else that she needed to correct a stranger in the middle of nowhere that girls like running, too?
Give me a break.
For the record, both my daughter and her daughter were holding hands and walking nicely while the boys in the family went tearing past with wild abandon, mighty yawps shaking the leaves in their exuberance. But yeah. Girls have just the one speed too.
I think this is what bothers me most: It was her assumption that I needed that daily dose of self-righteousness. Like she felt she was saving me from something, when really, she doesn’t know a thing about me.
For crying out loud, I chose to have a baby without pain medication. I write espionage fiction (how many super popular female espionage authors can you name? Exactly. My genre is kind of a sausage-fest, but I’m okay with it). I enjoy shooting guns, one of my favorite characters in the world is Zoe from Firefly, and I throw a decent punch.
I’m no wilting flower who needs to be reminded that girls are awesome. I am a woman, and I feel awesome. You know why? Because I’m out there being awesome instead of trying to remind people all the time of how awesome I am.
I’m going to continue to recognize other people’s strengths and merits (even, gasp! Those of the men and boys in my life!), because I know that acknowledging other people’s strengths in no way diminishes my own.
So take that, random woman from the forest who will never read this. Chill out and stop trying to make everyone agree with you. Just enjoy the walk, smile at strangers, and compliment your son. I promise, no one will make you turn in your Feminist card.