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Honk Like a Girl

Posted on February 9th, 2017 by Margit Novack
From www.movingsolutions.com | info@movingsolutions.com | 610-853-4300

Someone cut in front of me, so I honked at him. It wasn’t much of a honk, more like a honklette. So I said to myself, “You honk like a girl.” “Like a girl”! Where did that come from? I thought about the video I had seen, “Always #LikeAGirl” and was ashamed of how sexist I sounded.









I grew up in the 50s, when negative stereotypes about girls were rampant. Here are a few of the sayings I, and women of my generation, grew up with:

  • Don’t be too smart, boys won’t like you.
  • Be a teacher or a nurse, they are good jobs for a girl.
  • Don’t go to law school; you’ll take the place of a man who needs to support his wife.
  • Do they give mortgages to women?
  • Girls aren’t good at math.
  • Girls aren’t supposed to have muscles.
  • Don’t sleep around. Why should they buy the cow when they can get the milk for free?
  • You’re too pretty to be smart.
  • You have expensive tastes — you better marry a rich man.

Although I grew up hearing these phrases, I came of age during a sexual revolution. Negative messages about women were being rejected. “Not us, not our future,” we said. We seized opportunities, defied stereotypes, broke glass ceilings and succeeded in not passing these negative stereotypes to our children. This was tremendous social change, and it happened in my lifetime.

This made me think about the other negative stereotypes I grew up with — ageism. As a young women, I refused to accept limiting visions of who I was and who I could become. Now I am once again coming of age during a revolution, except this time it is a revolution about aging. Perhaps we boomer men and women can reject negative stereotypes about aging, saying once again “Not us, not our future.” And perhaps this change too will happen during my lifetime. I am reminded of Victor Hugo’s prophetic quote, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Maybe it does start with me. This will not be me, this is not my future.

What about you?

4 Responses to “Honk Like a Girl”

Erin McEnaneyFebruary 10th, 2017 at 9:40 am

Amen Margit! Same here, faced the same negative stereotypes and look forward to further changing the revolution on ageism!

Great piece Margit. I also grew up in the 50’s when we did not question roles or expectations. We have come a long way and have a long way to go to confront that last socially acceptable ism — you called it — ageism. Keep writing, your blogs are wonderful.

HI Helen
Thanks for your comment. A friend recently mentioned that she goes to the gym but cannot bring herself to try any “Active Older Adult” classes even though she struggles in classes for mixed ages. Another example of the ageism within us. I feel another blog coming soon…

Hahahaha, I caught myself saying the same thing the other day – and wondering to myself if that meant I was going to be in trouble.

Granted, as I was growing up I didn’t really notice any sexism around me. Or not the kind you describe. As a male, I find myself constantly expected to BE a certain way, LIVE a certain way, DO certain things… everyone gets stereotyped. I do remember being told my job when i grew up was to get a job and financially support my family so my wife could stay home and raise kids. So this was back when you COULD raise kids and support a spouse on a single income…………. But that’s another topic.

Anyway. I grew up in the 80’s. It was different. But I think we’re getting past all kinds of things today.

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