It was Halloween morning and since I have a newly enhanced love of strolling with my dogs, I decided to walk my costumed daughter to her bus stop. She was smartly attired with a matching purple scrub top and bottoms purchased from a real medical scrub supply store. She was even donning an authentic stethoscope! As we approached the bus stop, the boys exclaimed "it's a zombie nurse!" then one corrected the others with a wiley smile and yelled "No! I was talking about her mom!" The cutely pertinent boy was probably accurate because I had just rolled out of bed with disheveled hair and barely open eyeballs!
Then the girls at the stop started chattering about how they liked her nurse outfit and always wanted to be nurses. Well, little did these unsuspecting youth know: in addition to "errand girl", I also play the superhero role of "stereotypical awareness girl" although I wasn't dressed up that day. I immediately had to point out--why not Dr.? Why did you assume that she was a nurse? I brushed aside my tousled coif and then went on to elaborate in my feminine studies sort of way. I explained "If I were to pick a profession in the medical field, it would be Dr., they get paid more and do less of the "dirty" work". Being the capricious and easily influenced birds of teenage indecision, they immediately adopted my philosophy. They began to espouse the virtues of Dr.'s and how they had always considered becoming Dr.'s (keep in mind they were infatuated with female nurses mere minutes ago). This experience led me to recall how easy it is to influence fragile teenage egos (especially when you are of the same gender). Did I poison young minds or instil confidence and broaden their horizons? I fear I may have set a dangerous idea in a young hispanic girl's mind. I asked this young girl what she was going to be for Halloween and like many girls it isn't a matter of "what" as "how" feminine they are going to be. She proudly exclaimed that she was going to wear the purple dress that she got for a friend's Quinceañera. The pinnacle of a Spanish or Mexican girl life is the Quinceañera: "Quinceañera refers both to a special unique birthday and to the girl who has turned 15. The event is comparable to the concept to a debutante's "coming out party" in other countries. The celebration acknowledges that a young woman has reached maturity and is now ready to start a life beyond childhood. In addition, the celebration is intended to reaffirm religious faith, good morals, and the virtues of traditional family values "(http://www.marryu.com/spanish/quinceaneras.htm). I have mixed feelings about this practice. While it is nice to uphold customs and have cultural "coming of age" ceremonies, it is another example of a dominant religion taking native beliefs and twisting them into something different. The Quinceanera is the catholic churches attempt to consolidate the ancient Aztec practice and it is a message to young hispanic girls to look forward to their lives as mothers and wives. Many hispanic girls are simply encouraged to get pregnant and begin families without much in the way of other options: "1) Almost one-quarter of Hispanic women will give birth before age 20; 2) Hispanic teens tend to look at the prospect of pregnancy more favorably than teens from other racial and ethnic groups; and 3) Sexually experienced Hispanic teens are less likely to use contraception than teens in the overall U.S. population. In addition, the brief presents implications for policy and practice"http://www.nsba.org/site/doc_schoolhealth_abstract.asp?TRACKID=&CID=1116&DID=37495
"Teen births - In 1995, Hispanic teen birth rates were the highest in the Nation, surpassing for the first time the non-Hispanic black rate, which had previously been the highest. Higher rates for Hispanics are primarily driven by the higher teen births among Mexican women"(http://library.adoption.com/pregnancy/new-study-profiles-hispanic-births-in-america/article/4761/1.html)
The question: To aspire be a Dr. or a young mom (or a slutty nurse/princess/cheerleader/fill-in-the-blank skirted girl? Which is the better for the woman and for society? Don't get me wrong, I'm obviously not an advocate for prudes. I have often pondered the nasty school girl or nurse costume, but as a fun role-playing option. Look at Addison Montgomery (fictitious character of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy), she is an accomplished professional and extremely sexy and could be a mother? Is her character entirely fictitious?