I AM a Girl

Don’t you want that baby doll?

            She’s pretty and you could dress her and feed her.

            How else will you learn to be a good mommy?

Girls wear dresses, not pants. Those are for boys.

            You’re not a little boy.

You look so pretty in that pink dress. Pink is a good color for you.

            Pretty girls like pink.

Boys play soccer and with cars and in the dirt. Girls who do that are different.

            You’re a tomboy. But you’re not a little boy.

Girls don’t play the fiddle here. You can learn to play violin. And wear a dress at our concerts.

            No, boys wear pants.

            You’re a little girl.

How about you play the clarinet? Girls play clarinets or the flute.

            Girls don’t play drums.

            You’re a little girl.

You run fast for a girl!

If you sing in this vocal music class you will perform in a dress. If you don’t show up your grade will be affected.

            You’re a girl.

Head trainers are men. You’re smart. You can teach these new students the techniques.

            You’ll make a good assistant some day.

            You’re a girl.

Women can play the piano, sing in the choir, tend children in the nursery or teach Sunday school.

            You should dress up sometimes. Wear a dress.

            This is how we wear make-up and prepare ourselves for our husbands.

            This is how we become good mommies and good wives.

Pink is a girl color. You should wear it.

            You’re a girl.

I want your advice and your thoughts on things. But I may use them as my own ideas.

You’re smart and you have good skills, skills that cannot be taught.

            But don’t focus on those things, or say blanket statements like that, or challenge patriarchy.

            Stay in your place, and mind your voice.

You’re a girl.

You’re studying Divinity? Like seminary? Where pastors are trained?

What does that look like? Can women really preach?

I AM a pastor.

And I AM a girl.

-Jeani Rice-Cranford

Jeani Rice-Cranford recently graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Master's degree in Divinity. During her time at Vanderbilt, she interned as a Chaplain with Operation Stand Down Tennessee--a non-profit organization specializing in helping Veterans connect with community, educational, and employment resources throughout middle Tennessee--and as a pastoral intern with Holy Trinity Community Church in Nashville--a sister church in the United Church of Christ. 

Jeani is currently discerning the vocational aspect of her calling to ministry and enjoys facilitating a bi-monthly conversation regarding the ways in which we can become more healthy when Responding to Change; as well as participating in writing projects related to theology and the practices of faith--seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God that we might love God with all that we are, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.