Shonda Rhimes on Raising ‘Stubborn,’ Confident Daughters: ‘I Don’t Want to Have a Nice Girl’
This story originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.
Shonda Rhimes is proud to be raising three headstrong daughters.
“They couldn’t be more different from one another, but they’re all stubborn — and I mean that in the best way,” the Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator, and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch, told Good Housekeeping of her girls.
“No one will ever take advantage of them,” she explains of Beckett, 2½, Emerson, 4½, and Harper, 14. “They will always go their own way because they have decided they’re going to.”
The 46-year-old single parent says that as a child, she too shared similar traits to her daughters.
“That was definitely like me as a kid,” she admits.
Rhimes, who served as the guest editor for Good Housekeeping‘s first ever Awesome Women Awards issue, explains of raising stubborn children in the September 2016 publication, “It’s so much better than having a nice, pliable child who can be easily manipulated.”
“I don’t want to have a nice girl,” she believes. “I’d rather have a stubborn girl.”
“The only difference between a woman and an awesome woman is how a woman defines herself, frankly. And what you choose to do with your life,” she says. “Because I think if you believe yourself to be an awesome woman you are an awesome woman and, in general, you behave as an awesome woman.
“If you don’t believe yourself to be one, then you don’t,” she adds. “It’s really about what you believe about yourself.”
Rhimes admits that she doesn’t understand the hype around the fact that she writes such strong female characters — because women are not naturally weak people.
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“I keep getting asked how I write about such smart, strong women, and my response is, ‘What’s the alternative? Weak, stupid women?’ ”
She also touches on the importance of being your own person, even if you are looking to any of her characters for inspiration on how to do that.
“They’re just normal people, not role models — if you’re aspiring to be like any of them, something’s a little bit wrong,” the author and producer says. “You may want to dress like one or have her job, but do not aspire to be her!”
— Natalie Stone and Jen Juneau