I was never really a girly girl.
I had always preferred toy cars to Barbie dolls and getting dirty outside to being clean inside. I was good at sports, which caused me to befriend more boys playing kickball at recess than girls doing each other's hair. Most of my childhood life was defined by the crack of a softball bat hitting an obnoxiously yellow colored ball and the squeak of basketball shoes on the court, or the squish of mud between my fingers or under my bare feet.
I was the definition of a tomboy. When I annoyed my older sister, she would go as far as to say that I actually was a boy. Not a great insult, mind you, but it was damaging and confusing enough for a six year old psyche.
For a long time, I wanted to be like the other girly girls. But eventually, I embraced the tomboy persona placed upon me, thereby rejecting anything and everything that I deemed "girly." I loathed the color pink throughout elementary school, I hated myself for liking Glee in middle school and I scoffed at other girls for wearing makeup to high school every day.
I have just graduated from high school, but it is only recently that I've started to give into my girly side. The past year, I started wearing makeup every day. For prom, I watched YouTube tutorials to learn how to do actual makeup-- and I was surprisingly good at it. I'm starting to learn how to do my hair and tricks to skin care. I'm baking more, and I'm apparently good at that too.
These are all stereotypically female activities-- they don't have to be, but society has long since deemed them as so. So, am I sexist for trying to be "girly" (whatever that means) now that I actually enjoy it?
I don't think so.
To me, a big part of feminism is embracing that which makes you feminine-- traits like empathy and gentleness and compassion. To exhibit those qualities in tasks such as cooking or doing makeup isn't sexist. If anything, it's the opposite.
Feminism has become a concept to many where females are expected to act like men to achieve equality. Essentially, natural womanly qualities can be erased in the search for equality between men and women, but that should not be the case. Men and women should be equal in terms of opportunities and discrimination and education, but they should not be equal in essence. In other words, men and women can be strong, but in entirely different ways, and men and women can be weak, again in different ways. Masculinity and femininity are very different concepts that cannot be equalized, but should both be celebrated, as every person contains qualities from each label.
While there have been many advances in feminism, like how women are now expected to work and to get educated, there are set-backs, like how stay-at-home moms are now often criticized. There is nothing wrong with doing anything stereotypically female if you're a female, and no one should feel like less of a feminist for enjoying those things.
From a person who felt the need to hate girly things for most of her life, I now think it's important to embrace the feminine or masculine qualities that you have. Feminism is not about every woman working and getting educated-- it is about having the choice to do so if you wish. But there is also the choice not to, and that shouldn't be shamed either. To be a stay-at-home mom isn't against feminism, and being a tomboy as a kid doesn't mean you should reject all things feminine.
I have never really been a girly girl, but I'm finally enjoying trying to be one.