(Growing up Female)

by ChiTeen Lit Fest

(Growing up Female)

By Sylwia Szopa

When I was 5 I was told to play with girl toys
The ones that were pink
And the ones that sparkled
When I was 6 I wasn’t allowed to play with a boy
Because they were rough and rowdy
And I could get hurt
When I was 7 I was told I couldn’t be a race car driver
Or a mechanic
Because those careers were for boys
I could get dirty or hurt
When I was 8 I was taught to stay close to my parents
Because a strange man would kidnap me
When I was 9 I was told I could never go anywhere alone
Because it’s not safe
Always have an adult
When I was 10 my parents told me about girls that went missing
As a warning
When I was 11 my parents told me stories about girls that got raped
Because that could happen to me
When I was 12 I practiced screaming as loud as I could
So maybe someone could save me
When I was 13 I learned the best place to kick a man
So maybe I could get away
When I was 14 I learned to get out of zipped ties
When I was 15 I carried my keys between my fingers
And I mapped out routes to my house just in case

What have we done
We raise girls to be delicate
And then we expose them to the real world
We take their childhood away

Because boys will be boys
And girls will be careful

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