Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called the Land of Wishes, a Little Girl told her mother “I wish I was a boy”. “Why is that?” the mother asked. “Well, I just think that it would be easier,” the Little Girl responded. The mother searched her daughter’s face but could not find a trace of the sly, joking smile she hoped would be there. She hugged her daughter tight and said: “You are my beautiful little princess, and I wouldn’t want for you to be a boy”.
Luckily for the Little Girl, this was the Land of Wishes – the land where wishes always come true.
Six Months Later…
It was summer. The children were out of school, the pools were open, and the sounds of children’s laughter could be heard throughout the land.
The Little Girl was having the time of her life. Her cousins had come down to stay for the summer. They played all day and she couldn’t think of a more fun time in her life. Life was perfect. Little did she know, her wish was about to start coming true.
That night, after a full day of playing and an evening of movies and popcorn, all the children were fast asleep. It was the middle of the night when the Little Girl suddenly woke up. She didn’t know why until she felt movement on her bed. She felt the blankets move off of her. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to stay perfectly still. Perhaps, the Monster she imagined was there, wouldn’t see or hear her. “It’s just me,” the Monster said and the Little Girl let out her breath as she realized who it was. “What are you doing here?” She asked. “I want to show you something”.
And so, her training to become a boy had finally begun.
Six Years Later…
The Little Girl’s training and been in full effect since that night. So far, she had learned how to dress like a boy, how to fight like a boy and how to talk like a boy. She knew what boys liked and she knew what she had to do to get boys to like her. And even though she had learned so much, her training was not yet complete. For the Little Girl was much too soft to be a boy. She cared, and loved, and cried too much for her to be a boy.
The Little Girl and her family went on vacation every year to the Isle of Cold. At this point in her life, the Little Girl cared the most for two things in the world: her younger brother and the family dog. The three of them always had a lot of fun together on vacation, but this time was to be different. For there was a Beast who had moved to the Isle. The Beast knew of the Little Girl’s care and love for her brother and the dog – it knew of her weakness. The Beast, who hated all things unlike itself, could not let the Little Girl continue to undermine his rule. The Little Girl, who loved her brother and the dog, was always ready to protect them. What she didn’t know was that it was that very love that would put them in danger.
The Beast planned its attack well. He waited until the Little Girl left the house, and snuck in while her brother and the dog were there unprotected. It locked the door and then attacked. The Little Girl heard the cries coming from the house and ran back as fast as her little legs would carry her. She cried out in frustration when she realized that the door was locked. She was unable to save the ones she loved. When the Beast finally emerged, the Little Girl’s rage swelled and she attacked back. She fought the Beast courageously, but it just laughed as it beat her down. For the Beast knew that the damage had already been done – the Little Girl learned that to care, and love, and cry, would only cause others to be hurt. And the Beast knew that it could always return if she ever forgot.
Sixteen Years Later…
The Monster and the Beast continued to make sure that the Little Girl never forgot her training. They were proud of the work they had done. The Little Girl had grown up and she was no longer soft or compassionate. Her identity had been carefully crafted to remove any trace of her womanhood.
While the Little Girl could accept her life for what it was, her mother was sad at what she saw. One day, her mother learned what the Monster and Beast had done to her little princess and she decided to seek revenge. The mother sought out the Protectors of the land and took the Little Girl to see them. She forced her daughter tell them what happened. After the story was told, the Protectors promised that they would do their job.
But the Little Girl’s training was not done. The Little Girl still needed to learn that there was no one who could stop her wish from coming true – not even the Protectors. For although the Protectors had promised, they never did their job and they eventually forgot about the Little Girl’s story. They eventually forgot about the Monster and the Beast. And after some time had passed, the Little Girl finally understood that there was nothing that could stop her wish from coming true.
Author’s Note: I am a woman currently enrolled in the Law Program at the University of Windsor. I was asked to contribute to this blog and to write about gendered violence in the legal profession. While I excitedly accepted the challenge, I quickly realized that I had no idea what it meant to be a woman in the legal profession. I had no idea what it meant to be a woman. Through no fault of my own, I have only now come to understand the role that I must play to stop the systemic violence against women that permeates our society – the systemic violence that starts the moment a little girl is born.