is that there is something about being a woman that she may never understand. There is pain and humiliation and frustration and confusion and sensitivity and deep emotion in being a woman, and that she may not ever fully understand the what and why of it. I want to tell her that it will be difficult to sort through the conflicted feelings and the prejudices and the assumptions and the well-hidden slights against her. I wish that I could also tell her that it will all be alright, that she will understand it all so perfectly well one day, and that soon others will understand and she will feel less alone. I don’t yet think I can tell her that, though.
I will tell her to make deep bonds with her girlfriends. I will tell her to cling to other women for support and understanding. I will tell her to trust herself and her instincts and to never stop exploring what it means to be a woman, however far away answers seem to be. I will tell her that I understand, that all women understand on some level. I will tell her to write about it, to think about it, and to feel it. I will tell her to be proud of being a woman and to project that proud image of what she genuinely is, as a woman and a person, to the world in hopes that our gender will be less misunderstood. I will tell her to read books by Nicole Krauss, Betty Friedan, Sloane Crosley, the funny women of my generation, the strong women of my mother’s generation, and the even smarter women of her own generation.
I will tell her that this thing, this complicated nest of feeling and thought, created not by her but by those around her, is part of her whether she wants it or not. I will tell her that it is not fair, but that it is part of her and that I understand the pain in that. And we will both hope for the best, and we will do our best, together, with every other woman in the world.