Just this morning, I was sitting in the office of one of my biggest role models. He is a man of many trades; but most notorious for being a Rabbi, entrepreneur, writer/blogger, technology guru, husband, and father to three kids. Every conversation with him sparks ingenious ideas. We were discussing this ever so popular Mark Zuckerberg story that has blown up all over social media. Before I go any further, I would like to, first, congratulate him and Priscilla on their baby girl, Max. Having a child is the most amazing, wonderful, exhausting, scary, stressful, and exciting endeavor one can imagine.
Rabbi Jason Miller was discussing the focus and message Zuckerberg conveyed in his beautifully, heartfelt letter to Max. He explained that Zuckerberg’s hope and vision for the future is to “advance human potential and promote equality.” Zuckerberg specified that through long term investments, advanced technology, risk-taking, and engaging closely to people, we can make tremendous progress in reaching those goals.
The letter was signed with love by both Mom and Dad. Rabbi Miller shared that he had, also, written a letter, or ethical will (a Jewish custom), to his daughter the day she was born. In this, he, like Zuckerberg, conveyed expressions of love, blessings, and what they desire most for and from their child. In both instances, the father dominated the voice in the letter, focusing solely on more masculine thoughts.
In an article published by Psychology.com, “the male brain is characterized by systemizing tendencies and mechanistic thinking. “Systemizing” is the drive to analyze, explore, and construct a system. The purpose of this is to understand and predict the system, or to invent a new one. In contrast, the female brain is characterized by empathizing tendencies and mentalistic thinking. “Empathizing” is the drive to identify another person’s emotions and thoughts, and to respond to them with an appropriate emotion. The purpose of this is to understand another person, to predict his or her behavior, and to connect or resonate with him or her emotionally.” It is clearly stated that men and women think differently. Therefore, I believe if Mark Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla, and Rabbi Miller’s, too, were to write a letter to their daughter, it would be extremely different.
Over the past several months, I have had many mothers approach me about my blog. They typically initiate the conversation by stating they follow my writing, they have similar issues with their relationship to food and negative body image, and they now have a daughter in which they hope to protect from it. So, based on how psychology.com defines the female brain, and the amount of women who struggle with eating disorders, negative body image, over exercise, or diet fads, I would like to project what the letter may have looked like if Priscilla wrote it.
You are beautiful. You were born with features that make you unique and special. You are one-of-kind. You are sweet, generous, caring, and conscientious. These qualities are what makes you beautiful.
We live in a world where the standard of beauty is defined by a woman’s height and weight. The thinner you are, it seems, the more beautiful you are perceived. As your parents, we are on a mission to change this issue. Our goal is to create awareness, alter the perception of beauty, and eliminate our desire to look a certain way.
At some point in your life, you will be judged, teased, made fun of, or socially excluded. Your teeth may grow in crooked, your hair on your legs may come in sooner than others, you may have a birthmark that is visible to the world, or your nose may be stereotyped as a “Jewish nose.” Your features are not flaws; they are character. Instead of looking in the mirror and cringing, I beg you to smile and love what you see. There is no extrinsic feature more beautiful than that of a kind, honest, hardworking, and dynamic individual. Please, do not get caught up in focusing on your body, weight, how you look in clothes, what color your hair is, and that pimple that just popped up in the middle of your forehead.
It is our responsibility as your parents to raise you in a society where our primary focus is on health, happiness, family, and education. Women struggle with an immense pressure to present themselves with a certain physical appearance; to aspire to look like the model posing on the front cover of Vogue, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Victoria’s Secret, People, Self, and Shape magazines. Our goal is to change the interpretation of beauty; that one day, the most authentic, honorable, loving, productive, or brave woman is the face on that cover. Ultimately, beauty should be defined by character; not by your weight, height, or size of your waist.
We urge you to follow your dreams, and never let being a woman get in the way. It can be challenging to be a woman in this male-dominated world. Though our society has made significant strides thus far, the issue still remains a reality. Once upon a time, women were a subservient role: responsible for being a homemaker, taking care of the children, putting food on the table. Men were out in the field making money for their family. Times have changed, opportunities have amassed, but, still, we are far from equality. We encourage you to strive to become the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, to pursue engineering if that is your passion, to become a professional athlete, or to even become the first female president in the United States of America. There is no limit on your potential to make a difference in this world. Even if you are a woman.
Most importantly, Max, we will continue to work tirelessly to make this world a safer and better place for you, your generation, and your children. We will do all I can to ensure you are a confident, influential, and positive woman. Love every part of yourself. Be healthy. Exercise. Eat a balanced diet. Indulge. Life is too short. You are beautiful.
With all our love,
Mom and Dad