The phrases "for a girl" and "like a girl"
I'm sure we've all heard it at some point in our lives. "You're smart... for a girl," "you're athletic... for a girl," or "you run... like a girl," "you throw... like a girl." These phrases are always used to shame boys and simultaneously degrade the talent and skill of girls. It implies that everything girls do is lesser and that boys should be disappointed by the idea of being like that.
When girls play sports, it's somehow lesser.
I could write an entire article about being a girl in sports, but this mindset is just so infuriating. When people call it "ladies'" soccer, for example, they seem to be implying that the sport is somehow inferior or different because women are the ones playing it. It's something I heard my entire life playing sports, and I don't want that ideology to continue.
"Cover yourself, you're distracting the boys!"
This, to me, is one of the worst ones. Schools (with and without dress codes) are major culprits of sexualizing girls from a young age. Even at a school where I had knee-length skirts and sweaters, people told me to cross and cover my legs, hide my shoulders, my back, my chest. Nothing was to be seen because men could not control their desires. This kind of mindset ties directly into rape culture, and it creates a dangerous narrative that needs to end.
From the moment they learn about sex, society shoves far too many expectations down the throats of girls. Don't be an easy slut, but no one wants a prude. Don't have a body count but also be good in bed. Save your virginity for your husband, you can never get it back. Sleeping around is disgusting. The list goes on. What's the most frustrating about this is how men are rarely criticized for any of these things. They're actually applauded.
"He's mean because he likes you."
I heard this as a child, and it never really occurred to me how twisted it was until I was much older. Maybe the reason so many girls choose men who treat them poorly is that we're slowly indoctrinated as children to believe that harm should be equated with affection. Insane.
"You're such a pretty girl."
There's nothing wrong with complimenting people, but far too often I've noticed that girls are complimented more on their appearance than anything else. As a result, they learn that their physical features give them worth which is what leads to poor self-esteem and sense of worth. Compliment their mind, their work, their talent. That's far more important.
They need to smile all the time.
Simone Biles was once asked by a reporter why she didn't smile more during her routines, and she replied, "Smiling doesn't win me gold medals." I can't think of a better way to put it. There's such a ridiculous expectation for girls to constantly smile because "happy girls are the most beautiful." We shouldn't have to smile any more than men do.
"Don't eat that."
As someone who has seen their friends suffer from eating disorders, PLEASE stop telling girls to eat less, diet, exercise, etc. There's an enormous difference between teaching healthy food choices and shaming girls for having an appetite or a little extra weight on them, especially starting at puberty when girls literally gain more fat tissue. It's normal, and you don't have to be paper-thin to be healthy.
"Boys don't like that."
This one has always driven me nuts because it implies that everything I do if for the approval of men. I don't wake up every morning and ponder how I can please the guys I interact with. Can nothing I do be for myself?
"Is it that time of the month?"
Besides the fact that periods are still stigmatized, this phrase is so condescending. If girls show any emotion that isn't totally rational, everyone assumes they're hormonal. Why can't I just express how I feel? Men act irrationally all of the time, but no one pins it on something that's a part of their normal bodily function.
"Don't be basic like every other girl."
I was a huge culprit of this in middle school. I liked to play sports and read more than I ever liked makeup or fashion, so I constantly distinguished myself from girls who did. I genuinely thought I was smarter and better simply because I wasn't so "girly." I cringe when I think about this because there's nothing wrong with liking feminine things, nor is there anything superior about not liking them. We need to respect what girls like and stop shaming them for their interests.
"Don't be so bossy."
I thought about this recently and discussed it with my mom, and she agreed that she had never heard a boy be called bossy. Whenever girls take initiative, they're called b*tchy or aggressive, but boys are called leaders. You can see that mentality in more than school too. When women are leaders in their work or in government, they are constantly berated for being aggressive, but men rarely are.
"You'll change your mind about kids and marriage."
I love children, and I always have, so I know I want a family. Yet, when girls say they don't want kids, the response is always that they will change their mind. From a young age, girls are told that they will be mommies and wives one day. There's nothing inherently wrong with this idea, but I rarely hear people teach their little sons that they'll be dads and husbands. That's a conversation that starts much later for boys and occurs much less often. Maybe we should start teaching girls to belong to themselves and dream for a career before we they dream about marriage.
"You can't raise a family with that job."
This is similar to my previous point, but it adds another layer to the issue. When choosing a career path, women are constantly asked how they will manage a family and a job. We're expected to go part-time far more often, and we're criticized for wanting a busy work life rather than solely dedicating our time to raising a family.
Feminism is a bad thing
Everything I believe about girls come from a feminist standpoint, and I don't think any of what I just said was so insanely radical. People really treat feminism like some kind of awful, disgusting word. In the eyes of many people, believing in equal rights immediately serves as male repellant (which is absurd). Standing up for equity should not be something I'm ashamed of, and I'm tired of being told otherwise.
This list could be much longer, but I'll end with this: The future is female!