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Ain't No Hollaback Girl!

Some of you may recognize the title here today. It's from Gwen Stefani. You don't need to check out the song or the video (both a little raunchy), but know this: Gwen is speaking for a lot of girls and women, saying: "I'm a lot tougher than you give me credit for. In fact, meet me after school at the track, and I"ll show you. I'm not going to yell beck you, 'cause I ain't no hollaback girl."

When I was in about 2nd grade, there was a boy who delighted in tormenting me on the playground. One time, he put his head down, and made a running start, hitting me square in the stomach. I was home for a few days, feeling ill. Finally, my mom (one of the gentlest people I've ever known) told me, "Bullies are really cowards. They only pick on you if you let them. When you go back to school, you clean that boy's clock."

(As an aside, this was 35 years ago. It was an age of simplicity and wonder. At school, you still COULD clean a kid's clock, with the explanation that he had it coming. Now, of course, should a child do this, the parents would all hire lawyers, counselors would be brought in for the little darlings who'd witnessed the traumatic event and at least one kid would need to find a new school.)

And I did. I cleaned his clock. He didn't bother me anymore, and neither did his buddies.

Now of course, we still have bullying but children are expected to "talk through the issue." Peer mediation might be suggested. And all that may work - eventually. Meanwhile, some poor victim is wandering about looking over his shoulder, because thus far, mediation hasn't worked.

I'm not saying we should encourage kids to create and/or respond with combat. But every kid, and especially every girl, needs to know where her boundaries are and  how to respond. And darn few girls get that.

Girls are still being taught to be "polite" in all situations. That is DUMB. We need to teach our daughters, nieces, cousins and friends, that we each have a "gut" and we need to listen to it. Our gut tells us that some guy in Target is creepy; we need to move away from him. When the elevator doors open and we see a shady looking guy alone, waiting for us to entire, WE DO NOT HAVE TO. You are under no obligation to get in an elevator with some guy that sets off your bells and whistles. Nor do you owe him an explanation.

Our daughters need to know that they can look a bully in the eye and said, "You are not treating me this way anymore." Then, whatever plan you've discussed with her gets put into place.




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