Tuesday, January 12, 2010
From Smurfette to Equal Rights
As I ran the brush through Grace's wet hair after her shower, she played with some small figures of Smurfette. "Mommy, I love these gnomes. They are so cute."
"Grace, those aren't gnomes. They are called Smurfs."
"Well, I like to call them gnomes. This is my favorite. What are they called again?" she replied as she stroked Smurfette's plastic yellow hair.
"All of these smurfs are actually Smurfette. She was the only girl smurf when I was little. In fact, when the Smurfs first came on television, there were only boy smurfs."
"Hey Mom! That's not fair. Why was there only one girl?"
I was still working on finding her part, and found myself thinking it was a good opportunity to talk about how even in my lifetime that women's rights had some made strides...even if it was having girl representation in the Smurf community.
"Well, Grace, I don't know why it took some time for them to create a girl Smurf. Isn't it great that the shows you watch have lots of girls in them. Isn't it wonderful that every year that things change for the better?
In fact when my great grandmother was young, women didn't have the right to vote in elections. A group of women called the Suffragettes worked hard to make sure all women had the right to vote. You have some coins with the face of Susan B. Anthony on them. She was a Suffragette. It is cool to be a girl."
"I'm glad it is getting better because that wasn't fair."
"You are right Grace, but there are still people in the United States that aren't treated fairly. Remember how we talked about women who love women and men who love men, which is also called gay?"
"Uh huh. I remember."
"Well they still don't have equal rights in our country. Many would like to have the right to become married to one another. Right now, that isn't legal in all of the United States. I don't think that is fair."
"Me either, Mom. They are just two people who love each other. Are you sure they can't have a wedding?"
"Well, they can have a wedding, but the government doesn't recognize their marriage is real."
"It isn't fair Mom. Those ladies and men just love each other. Love can't be wrong. We're all special, but everyone is different. Jesus loved all of us. I learned that in religion class."
As I heard Grace representing a new generation of forward thinking (in my opinion), my heart swelled with pride, but I knew I had to remind Grace of one more thing.
"Gracie honey. I think it is wonderful that you believe in love, but I need you to remember something."
"There are and will be people you meet that don't believe what you do. There are people who think being gay is wrong, and that people who are gay should not be able to be married. You just be proud of what you believe, and don't be sad if others don't feel the same way you do. It takes a long time to help people change how they feel. Remember it took a long time for the Suffragettes to help give women the right to vote. It will take time, but I know in my heart that everyone will have the right to get married eventually. Make sense?"
"Uh huh, Mom. Can we dry my hair now?"
I smiled at her impetuous response.