We are all familiar with the general stereotypes placed on boys and girls; typically girls are taught to wear pink, love their dollies, stay clean, play house and be sweet, while boys are taught to wear blue, like cars and hunting, get dirty, eat a lot of food and be tough. Now, there is nothing wrong with falling into these general categories; however, I think it is important that when it comes down to it, all girls should know how to hold their own.
Growing up in a small town out in the middle of the country had a huge influence on the person that I am today. The endless fields and washboard dirt roads made an impact that most would expect: I have had the same best friend since kindergarten, we lived on acres and acres of land with every possible kind of animal, the county fair was a summer favorite, there are no strangers and you feel safe in the alleys at night. I grew up far from wearing pink and staying clean; I was raised as a tomboy who loved to play in the mud.
First lesson: cars. Every Christmas since I was 15, my dad has made a “fix-my-truck-kit” consisting of tools, air filters, oil, spark plugs and many other random necessities. I know it’s much easier, and may even be a fantasy, to call on some hottie to do the job for you, but every girl should know how to change her oil, change the spark plugs and fix a flat tire.
Second lesson: hunting. My first hunting trip was when I was 10 and even though I’m not fond of the whole killing Bambi’s mom thing, I do think that every girl should know how to load a gun, aim it and shoot it. If you aren’t interested in the sport of hunting, I still think it is important for safety. You never know what kind of situation you may encounter and the more informed you are the safer you’ll be, and those around you will appreciate that you know what you’re doing. Besides, it is more of a thrill than you would think.
Third lesson: get dirty. Having been raised on a farm, my brothers and I had tons of daily chores that involved cleaning stalls, feeding animals and working heavy machinery. Every girl should know how to get her hands dirty and do some hard labor every now and then. Every girl should know how to move heavy objects, kill a spider, clean up disgusting messes and play with stinky animals without cringing in disgust – you’ll live, I promise.
Fourth lesson: eat. If there is anything that my family is big on, it’s food. My parents cook enough food to feed an entire army and when the army doesn’t show up, they expect us to clean our plates. I fully understand the pressures that society puts on females to look like some malnourished Russian model, but trust me there is nothing wrong with consuming food, even massive amounts. If you’re hungry, eat. If there is a certain type of food that you love, eat it. Every girl should know how to indulge herself and order a huge burger with fries, a milkshake and dessert on a date. I think this is sexier than the Russian model look, and I know plenty of amazing men who would agree.
Fifth lesson: be tough. Having been the baby to two brothers who are notorious for the many black eyes they have given, I learned to protect myself and inflict some pain while in the process. Every girl should know what it is that she stands for, every girl should know enough self-defense to protect herself and every girl should have enough smarts to keep and talk herself out of a dangerous situation.
Although I may not have always understood the lessons that my parents thought were valuable, I have grown to appreciate what they put me through. I have also decided that they are lessons that are valuable to all girls, whether you choose to practice them on a daily basis or not.