I attended a private, girls' school for four years and it was one of the most unique experiences of my life. To this day, I laugh that my school years are very neatly divided into 'public school' and 'girls only' eras of my life.
Of course, there were some drawbacks (no guys means less eye candy), but there was plenty about those years that made me realize single-sex education was not the evil it's often spoken of as. The fact that it was in another country may have also skewered my experience to an extent, but I think same-sex education is pretty relatable across the globe.
I know a lot of people turn up their noses at the idea, citing feminism and excuses like 'women have to learn to survive in a world with men,' but I think there's a lot to be said in allowing girls the freedom to express themselves at a girls' only school in their formative years because it offers opportunities that are otherwise not available. Maybe religion has something to do with it too since I'm Muslim, but I also have met Jews and Christians and people of other faiths who have expressed similar views.
Here are 11 reasons I loved going to a girls' only school.
1. We could let our hair fly free.Giphy
I'm Muslim and that means I have to keep a headscarf on when there are guys around. So, going to a girls' only school meant that I could actually wear my hair in a ponytail or a bun and it would make a difference. There was actually a point to French braiding your hair, and doing each others' hair was a common leisure activity.
2. Health was just so much easier.Paramount Pictures
First, it was an actual woman teaching us about health issues rather than the school gym coach. We also got to avoid a lot of the jeers and catcalls that are generally a norm because, let's face it––not every guy is mature enough to attend health and avoid turning the instructor into a flushing, bumbling, incoherent mess.
3. We managed to avoid a lot of catfights.Giphy
Believe me, you feel a lot kinder towards the girl who has better skin than you or can apply her makeup perfectly when she isn't making eyes at the same guy you are. Plus, there's less reason to be catty, which actually goes to show how much guys are responsible (often, unknowingly, poor souls) of the drama that erupts in the teen years.
4. Makeup was a want, not a need.Giphy
There was much less pressure on looking like a perfect life-sized Barbie model at every moment. If we wore lipstick, it wasn't to impress the dudes but because we actually wanted to. And if that lip gloss smeared, it was just a shrug of the shoulders rather than the impending apocalypse.
5. It didn't matter if you sucked at dancing.Giphy
I can't dance to save my life and I'm sure there are others in that category too. It's a lot easier to freestyle when you don't have to worry about looking like a loony grandmother waving her arms or about stepping on someone's toes during a slow waltz.
6. We could actually 'recycle' our outfits.Giphy
It wasn't the greatest sin of all times to wear the same shirt more than once. Girls might still remember it but it mattered much less in the general scheme of things. And if you felt like doing nothing more than throwing on the first ratty sweatshirt you could find after rolling out of bed in the morning, who was judging? And who cared?
7. Gender bias was impossible.Giphy
It's a little difficult to praise boys more for their math achievement or make gender-stereotypical remarks about girls' progress and performance when there are no boys in the class. All the computer geeks, word lovers and jocks were girls and that broke up the stereotype pretty quick.
8. Our dreams were sky-high.Giphy
Not only did we have awesome role models in our female teachers, we were encouraged to do what we loved and our dreams grew exponentially. We could be politicians, doctors, engineers, fashion designers––no dream was too big or impossible (except being a tooth fairy––that one was still never gonna happen).
9. We actually managed to focus on schoolwork.Giphy
Teens are distracted by a lot nowadays, but without boys in the class, at least we can stop wondering about the backs of boy heads, or about ranking guys on social and physical meters and actually concentrate on what we come to school for: Studying.
Let me tell you, study groups are so much more efficient when they aren't disguised under cliques. Add in the extra motivation of being able to excel in whatever we choose and you have the recipe for a reasonably good student.
10. We didn't have to worry about embarrassing ourselves.Giphy
Yeah, life sucks sometimes. There might be a day when you trip on the library stairs and because you were wearing a dress, it just peels back revealing your panties to the world. Now imagine that situation without any boys in the vicinity; that's 50 percent of my stress relieved right there.
11. All talk was 'girl talk.'Giphy
What could be better?