My sister has a tiktok and she showed me this girl named Claudia Conway, right away I felt connected to her for some reason. Like I wanted to protect her, while also looking into a mirror of some sort. She's 15, but looks older and while everyone around me seemed so shocked at how old she looks, I wasn't surprised. To me, she looks like a 15 year old that hit puberty at an early age. (AND then I freaked out when I found out that we have the same birthday...!)
I was wearing a wired bra in 5th grade, and my boobs hurt all the time. I remember I could no longer lean against my desk because of this weird mass growing on my chest. When I came back to 6th grade after that summer, I had boobs. I tried to dress like a nerd and wear a vest to try to hide them. By the time I left middle school I was a B cup, and at the end of junior year I was a DD.
Some of the articles written about Claudia are honestly horrible. I don't understand how our society thinks it's okay to attack a 15 year old. Yeah, she may look older, but she's still just a child; and I don't mean to say she's a child like she's stupid. She reacts so well to people calling her stupid and it honestly amazes me, at both how mature she is, but how wrong everyone is for even calling her stupid. It triggered every insecurity I've ever had. I was treated differently because I looked older, I pretended to be mature and people would take that at face value. I had no idea what I was saying, like I did, but I didn't, you know? Our media should be ashamed for attacking such a young woman, a teenager. We should all be ashamed and this behavior is not okay.
I only listed 10 reasons, but just because I only listed 10 doesn't mean there aren't more.
1. You're giving in to misogyny
I think most of us don't know what misogyny is. I'm just saying this because I know I didn't until recently; it's one of the words that is thrown around so often that we infer what it means, but we never actually look up the meaning. If we're getting technical, it means prejudice against women, but more than that it's rewarding women that chose to remain inferior and punishing women that do not conform to sex roles. It's the punishing of women that we often forget about. We reward women that have pick me energy, and shame the women that do not want to have kids. Women that have a career, women that date around, and I can honestly keep going.
This is why women hate other women that are "sluts". This is why, most women hate other women in general. I catch myself hating other women; either for being too promiscuous, or being such obvious attention whores. I hate admitting this, but I know the type of women I hate. I know I hate them, because I used to be like this, and I'm so sorry for being such a bitch.
I mostly encounter these women in the Army, but I'm sure they're in every group. I hate the girl that tries to be "one of the guys", but actually isn't chill enough to hang around. I do hang out with guys, and I catch myself getting caught up being a "girl" and acting fucking insane sometimes. I hate girls that think they're really good at makeup or hair and in actually it looks like shit. Again, my misogyny runs deep. Why do I have to hate on those girls? Why can't I just let them be? Why do they bother me so much?
2. We're destroying her self-esteem
I've been talking to my little cousins lately. All of them are in high school and going through similar experiences as I did when I was in high school. My cousins are way more healthy than I was in high school though. They have supportive boyfriends, which I'm honestly in shock. The guy I dated in high school fucked me up mentally, so I'm just relieved their guys are more mature.
I didn't have any self esteem until I was 20 or so. I was faking it. I didn't think I was really worth it, because I based my worth on how I looked. And when I wouldn't dress up, in my mind I would feel ugly and it meant that I wasn't worth anything. Long story short, I go on dates without makeup now and wearing my glasses. But this is a relative new thing.
Being objectified at 14 meant that people assumed I was a slut because I had boobs or was "thick". Especially guys treating me like I was a "tease" and wouldn't "put out". It honestly sucked, because although I looked 20 when I was 15, I didn't really have any urges or sexual needs, and the thought of sex scared the shit out of me. Can you imagine everyone treating you like you're a slut and you dead ass don't have a sexual drive? I masturbate a couple of times in high school, but it wasn't until I was 21 that I got a vibrator, and honestly I didn't even start getting horny until I was 20.
It really messed me up. I could see the way people looked at me, but I knew that I wasn't like that. It was hard because I've had people confirm that too. The, "oh wow you're smarter than you look", or the "you can actually have a conversation", and for so many years I wasn't able to feel like I could contribute to anything besides my body. I hate seeing this on social media. We have memes about "me when I was 13, versus 13 year olds now", and it honestly stabs away at my soul. Do you think it's funny? I guess it is, but when you've been in that position it's nothing to laugh about.
When you look "older", people expect you to be more mature. People expect you to have it together, when you're just actually just trying to enjoy being a teen, and I have to stand up for Claudia and any girl that looks older and is getting objectified, because that's just so fucking messed up.
3. She's being objectified at a young age
I've talked to my friends and some of them think it was cool that I've looked the same for the past 8 years of my life. The thing is, all I feel is the trauma. The uncomfortable feeling of being hit on by older men when I was 15. The stares and shit talking of women 10 years older than me, and how mean they were. Everyone acted like I was responsible for the attention I was getting, but I didn't want any of it. I didn't want people looking at my boobs, and feeling like I had to hide them ALL. THE. TIME.
All I wanted to do was wear a tank top, and I couldn't.
Even now that I'm 22 I still get triggered wearing a crop top and having old men look at my abs, its such an uncomfortable feeling and the only way I know how to stop feeling uncomfortable is to give them a bitch stare so they stop staring; and then I just look like a bitch. They look at my stomach like they've never seen one, and its repulsing. Just because girls hit puberty at an early age doesn't mean that they voluntarily signed up to get cat called. It doesn't meant that their bodies are yours to stare at. Let's be clear, one thing is staring, and another is to speak with your eyes and looking at her like a piece of meat.
4. Older women need to stand up for her, she's still a child
I was 19 when I went to Lollapalooza for the first time. Obviously I wore the sluttiest thing I could find. It was one of my "starving myself" moments, so to societal standards I looked "good", my legs were thinner, and my waist half it's size. I wore a thong body suit and a mesh see through dress over it. We ordered the uber and I forgot something so i ran back to my friends apt and when the elevator was leaving I hard a 30 year old woman say, "do you see what she's wearing, how tacky".
I was drunk so you know I was feeling courageous, and I was like, "yeah why don't you say that to face". I have to idea what she said back but I just responded with, "do you feel good bullying a 19 year old?". I laughed, but it fucking hurt. First of all, I hadn't eaten in like a week, so your girl is hungry asf. Then this older woman talks shit about you because she's insecure and her boyfriend was staring at my ass? Gurl you got a rude awakening, because most guys watch porn, so my butt is not the only butt he saw that day.
I think it's a generation thing though, like millennial women are way more toxic. The late 20s and early 30s women are less supportive than my generation, I think. No seriously, I think the women from that age group don't masturbate or something because they are so mean and disgusting towards each other. They tear each other down! Either way, women need to support women, but especially young women. We can't allowed the trauma that was done to us be continued. We need to stand up when a young girl is slut shamed. How is she a slut if she's a virgin? Like this shit does not fit my brain, how are we this fucked up?
5. Even though her body is banging, she's not "banging"
Why do we act so weird around bodies? I know I catch myself staring when a girl looks like a woman. I saw this on Insta the other day, but I'm pretty sure we're not taught to normalize all body types. Like there's only one type of body that we're used to and it's the super skinny, almost weak looking body.
I've done my research and my favorite Shakespearean play is The Taming of the Shrew. Women that don't eat and are that skinny serve two purposes. One, is that they are too weak to be strong and depend on males, so it's seen as a fragile thing. The idea that women can't be strong is deep and therefore keeping women inferior. I still don't understand why we freak out around bodies... Like are we scared, but then scared of what? Scared to fulfill our fantasies? Is the thought of sex with a curvy body that rare? I really want to know what it is...
6. You're teaching her she's only worth her body
I can't wear leggings and a tank top without getting harassed or cat called. But one time I wore biker shorts and a tank with the guy I like and we went grocery shopping, and instead of being harassed, everyone looked at him like he won the lottery. Oh yeah, we talked about it in the car when we left.
Now instead of being directly cat called, I'm objectified and I'm this guy's trophy, fucking great. I know the looks I get, and it's always weird hanging out with new people because I don't know if I should warn them or just tell them while it's happening? Like hey, by the way people are going to break their necks and stare extra hard when we go out and I want to look good, so beware, like who starts a convo like that?
7. Just because her body looks older, doesn't mean she is
Since I looked older, I was treated like I was more mature, and when I acted my age, it wasn't really allowed, like people would be mean or whatever. I think this tripped me up for the longest. I guess I just didn't understand that although I was older and had somewhat of an understanding of something, didn't mean that I was mature. I know that sounds super vague, but hear me out.
Perfect example, guys: because I look older people expect me to be mature when it comes to relationships. In reality I'm not. I only "dated" one guy in high school, and went off to college in Chicago with basically no experience. I would always feel so jealous and insecure because guys would always come up to my friends at bars or other places, and guys never speak to me. I'm not exaggerating, guys don't talk to me lol. If I don't make the first move, no one will talk to me. I've always lowkey felt really sad and insecure that guys don't approach me, because it made me feel like I was ugly. Then Julie explained it like this:
Guys are weak, they always hit on the average girls because they're less likely to get rejected. Like the reason why this girl gets hit on all the time is not because she's attractive, but she's attractive for a 5. She's more approachable, and the issue with that is that she now thinks she's hot shit. Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I realized that I never really developed my people skills when it came to talking to guys. I'm so fucking awkward and my friends tell me to play it cool and not be myself, but naturally I end up wanting to get to know them and their traumas and they ghost me (:
8. They will mature faster in some aspects, but not others
Along with not knowing how to talk to guys, I also realized that being treated like I'm more mature because I look older, it meant that I was faking a lot of it. I was faking being mature. Like yeah I knew I had to stop being toxic, but in reality I couldn't do it. Like pretending to not be jealous when you are, or lying about my emotions. You know the typical stuff.
9. How would you feel?
How would you feel being cat called or harassed when you were 14? Do you think you would handle it well? How would you feel, if people assumed you were a slut just because you developed early? How would you feel if guys only wanted to fake an interested in you, just to fuck? How would you feel, when everything you experienced at 14 was wrong, and it felt like no one was standing up for you? How would you feel if you were constantly projected on?
10. What would you try to teach your future daughter?
I think this part is important. My mom and I talked about this and she told me that she had no idea what to do. She would see men staring at me and didn't know how to defend me. She told me that she thought of leaving me home and never letting me step foot outside. In all honesty, I get it. Some of us may be in that position. How will we stand up for our daughters? How will we teach our daughters, that they are okay and it's society that is disturbed? How will we build them up? It's not this great mystery, it's simple. We defend them when it's happening. We may not always do it perfectly, but we cannot stay silent.