My daughter Maya is five and a half years old. She’s in kindergarten, and is as clever and adventurous a child as you’ve ever seen. She loves dancing and princesses and rainbows and anything that is pink.
Maya has also always, always loved cars and robots, right along with those butterflies and flowers and hearts. But recently she’s been saying that she doesn’t like these things anymore.
“I don’t like cars,” she told me, “because I want people to like me.”
This breaks my heart. And I imagine it breaks your heart, too. Five years old, and she’s already figured out just exactly how this thing works.
It turns out that “it got out” in school that she liked cars, so she says. And then the other girls in her class made fun of her for liking boy things.
All her life I’ve been talking about being true to yourself, about liking the things you find in your heart whether it’s a girl thing or a boy thing, and still, still, this is how fast it can unravel. Five years old, and she’s already trying to change who she is because she doesn’t think it’s who she should be.
Internet, talk to Maya, and talk to me. Tell us about girls who make robots and cars and bridges. Girls who build rockets, girls who can make and build and invent — girls who have grand adventures, but who can still go dancing, and still braid their hair, and still wear pink. Tell us about you. I know you’re out there.