They tell me I’m vulnerable, and have to be protected,
because I’m their daughter.
They try to shield me from the inevitable: from late summer-night-2-am sneakouts
To hitching rides to concerts from strangers to smoking cigarettes in empty church parking lots
To fucking boys and kissing girls and having the audacity to not give a shit about what people think of me
They try to shield me.
Should I be sorry that I’m not the daughter they’ve always wanted?
Should I be sorry that I’m proud of my mind and body?
Sorry that I am capable of making my own decisions, of being bold and brash and fearless and all the other things that will make society hate me?
Well I’m not sorry for any of that.
Because I won’t apologize for not being a perfect, straight A student
who has never rebelled against anything in my life
I won’t apologize for not being the submissive innocent daughter you wished to raise;
A daughter who doesn’t know how to challenge injustice— a daughter who doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that such injustices exist
A daughter who will feel as if it is her fault that society will call her a slut and a stupid bitch merely for her existence as a woman.
I won’t apologize because that’s not our fault as women.
I won’t apologize for being gutsy and snarky and obnoxious and rude and trashy
And I sure as hell won’t apologize for taking up space.
They tell me I have to “try to avoid getting raped” because I’m “pretty”
Because I’m “too bold for my own good,”
Because I scare the shit out of them for being adventurous and daring
Because I’m their daughter they expect me to understand their concerns
Understand that they want to protect you and keep you pure and whole from the sins of society
Understand that you’re their only girl
So they take away your freedom merely because they know so much better and they love you.
Maybe they don’t want you to make the same mistakes as they did.
Or maybe, they’re just afraid of raising a badass.
They’ll try and try a billion times to save and protect you
From unfortunate realities where colleges will reject you
merely because they don’t want “too much Asian representation,”
Where basic white fuckboys will fetishize the color of your skin or your hair
and call you “exotic” as if you’re a fucking parrot from the Amazon Rainforest
or tell you, “you’re hot, for an Asian”— or, “you’re hot, I love Asian girls.”
They’ll try to save you from date rape drugs,
from the sexual assaults on college campuses,
From walks of shame, from STDs and being called a slut
‘Cause god forbid I have consensual sex and actually enjoy it!
And it’s funny, ‘cause I lost my innocence long before I lost my virginity
But suddenly, when it comes to rape,
it’s my responsibility to not get too drunk or too wild or be too bold or daring,
too sexually forward, too friendly, too unfriendly,
too smart-assy, not smart-assy enough.
But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if I’m too… any of those things;
I am not a little kid who can’t tell the difference between right and wrong
Not a reckless teenager, not a slut or a stupid bitch
merely because of my existence as a woman.
Yes, I am your daughter;
I am unapologetic and opinionated and brash and smart
And you can’t shield me.
You can’t shield me from the inevitable; from late summer-night-2-am sneakouts
To hitching rides to concerts from strangers and smoking cigarettes in church parking lots
and fucking boys and kissing girls
and having the audacity to not give a shit about what people think of me.
So instead of caring for me as “your daughter,” maybe you should start caring for me as a human being.