If I had a daughter, I would tell her I’m sorry. I’m sorry she has to grow up in a world where some condone a presidential candidate calling women ‘nasty’ and speaking about grabbing women and treating them as objects. I would tell her I am sorry that the only viable female presidential nominee we ever really have had, although extremely educated and qualified, has been so cutthroat and manipulative- doing things throughout her career that no man would ever have to- in her rise to the top, that she has become nearly unlikable.
If I had a daughter, I would tell her I’m sorry that she has to hear such uneducated graphic rhetoric about babies being ripped from a mother’s womb and murdered, knowing she may have to face such a life-altering decision at some point in her life. I would tell her I am sorry that we are still fighting for her right to medical privacy in 2016.
If I had a daughter I would tell her I am sorry she is still getting paid less than the man next to her, although her degree is more substantial. I would tell her I am sorry that she will be judged by how much she smiles.
If I had a daughter, I would tell her I’m sorry that a star swimmer will have more right to her body than she will. I would tell her I am sorry that she will have to prove that she didn’t ask for something just because she wore her favorite skirt. I would make sure to tell her I am sorry that she still has to fight for her basic human rights.
But, mostly, if I had a daughter, I would tell her I am sorry that she will be fighting the same fight I have, and my mother before me. I would tell her I am sorry that feminism is still somehow a dirty word in many circles. I would tell her I am sorry that everywhere she turns there will be a battle in the war. I would also tell her I am sorry she has to be cautious in ways a man never does.
I would tell her all this and more. But, then, I stop and think- I may not have a daughter, but I do have a son who is growing up to be a young man amidst all these same realities. I will tell my son what it is like to be a woman in this world, and to never use his standing in this world to keep us down. I will tell him these are not just women’s issues, but that he has the power to change the discourse around him. I will tell him all this and more.