An Open Letter To Society On Its Treatment of Young Girls

An Open Letter To Society On Its Treatment of Young Girls

"And you have poured self-hate down the throat of almost every female; I pray she has the strength to throw it back up."
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Dear society,

I understand that you have goals for us. You need people to fill your roles so that life can continue as planned, and you need to make sure people understand their own places within your hierarchy. But wow, you really should go about doing it another way that doesn't involve beating down and stepping on young girls every step of the way.

The contradictions and oxymorons that you feed to females throughout their entire lives are crippling enough. The lines between being confident or bitchy, proud of yourself or slutty and outgoing or conceited give everyone (even the socially apathetic ones) anxiety, making them stressed about accidentally coming across as more obnoxious or uncaring than they actually are and miscommunicating their purpose. But that isn't even what I am writing you to complain about today; it is about the gross unfairness that is heaped upon girls from the age of 12 to 15.

You tell them to find themselves and throw stereotypes at them, but only a select few stereotypes are the "chosen" good ones. Yet then, when everyone attempts to meet them since that is what is labeled as "successful" or "destined for success," suddenly they are basic, unoriginal and just another mimic. You tell them that they must be unique and creative to be themselves, but you permit everyone else to laugh at the ones that stick out and are different. You allow certain things to be branded as "cool" and "allowed," but then simultaneously look down on the people who enjoy them, even the people who genuinely enjoy them and don't use fads as a way to gain friends.

And speaking of friends. You teach kids that they self-worth is measured in the friends that they have, the number of people they surround themselves with at parties or in the hallways, the number of likes that they receive on Instagram. You teach them that they are only beautiful or worthy of being loved if they are told this by other people. Then you look down on people who have "fake friends" and who spend too much time on their phones, telling them they "clearly aren't enjoying life enough."

But what is "enjoying life?" You, as society, have glamourized drugs, alcohol and crime in ways that have made them accessible and desired by young kids. Middle schoolers own vapes and sneak out after curfew to smoke marijuana, sometimes even selling drugs to make extra money. Then you label these kids both "maturely developed" and "immature delinquents" at the same time and call for a disciplinary program to be instated, completely ignoring the causes of the problem.

And the kids that try to hide from this, to separate themselves from an age group they do not want to be associated with and to keep themselves away from habits they do not want to acquire, are labeled "reclusive and antisocial." Friendships made digitally are discounted and looked down upon, and kids are constantly reminded that their friends online might be predators and cannot be trusted (another example of the extreme overgeneralizations that pervade our society), yet another way of making them feel isolated and alone.

Yet possibly the harshest judgment that you pass upon these young kids, and most specifically on these young girls, is that of attention. You teach that there is an art to receiving attention - you must be funny or attractive, or both if you're really lucky, but anything short of that is obnoxious and you ought to be ashamed. And I would know - as a child, I won both a writing and a reading contest, and I was beyond embarrassed of the congratulations I received. I did not want to be in the spotlight, and I resented the attention I was receiving because it meant people were looking at me and judging me.

They probably weren't, in hindsight. But how was I to know, because you had instilled in me that everything was a competition? You had taught me from such a young age that being second was the first of the losers, that success could only be achieved by stepping on the heads of my peers and that to be on top was the ultimate goal. You taught me that eyes were everywhere, making judgments on my person based on my clothing, my hairstyle, my makeup and my posture, instead of on my achievements, my smile and the contents of my heart... and you have continued to do so. You have made young girls who dared to show kindness feel as if their lot in life is just to be used and taken advantage of and thus allow it. You have beaten down assertive women by calling them "scary," "brash" and "bitchy," making them feel as if they have to choose between being loved by others or living alone in a palace of gold and thus forcing them to leave their paths of success to a man, whom you will shower in praises of his manliness.

And I was not the stereotype that you'd told me I should have been, so I was ashamed of myself and I hid. I was not proud of myself. I was too tall for my age, I had braces and I had hit puberty a little bit too young, so I stood out. All I wanted was to disappear into the floor as I tried to hide the fact that I was wearing a bra at age 11 and I lied about needing glasses so I could fit the "nerd" stereotype, and then I didn't have to talk to anyone, and they couldn't see that I was boring and different. Was I? Of course not. But I wasn't the girl that you had told me that I needed to be, so I hated myself. And even until I was 15, I lied about my grades to my peers so that I did not seem to be as smart as I actually was and so they would feel good about themselves.

You have made brilliant, beautiful girls feel that they deserve to throw competitions and give away their rightful earnings to "make other people feel good." You have empowered some people to crunch others, and you have made others feel okay with being crunched. You have made people feel as if they deserved abusive relationships and friendships and have kept them in it because you have taught women that they are nothing without their men or their large circle of friends, and you have poured self-hate down the throat of every single woman that has ever existed, unless she was one of the ones that you empowered.

I pray that every girl reading this has the strength to throw that self-hate back up in the face of everyone that has ever tried to squash them. I pray that every girl stands up for herself, gets the new friends or new boyfriend that she deserves and is proud of her hard work. I pray that one day, you as society begins to embrace the unique spirit inside every female like you do with males and that loathing and bullying ceases. Because the ages of 12 to 15 are pivotal, essential to development.

And we need everyone, whole and empowered and complete, to get together, because these divides and put-downs are keeping us from working together to solve society's problems.

With an extreme hope for change,

Your daughter, who survived your abuse.

Cover Image Credit: HD Wallpapers (Admin)

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Speaking From Experience, Asian Beauty Standards Need To Chill Out

*Vividly recalling my mom trying to whiten my face with homemade face masks.

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If you are unfamiliar with the beauty standards in Asia and some parts of the middle east and north Africa, here, let me tell you. This article will be informative and also very rant-like so I would recommend sipping on some tea as you read this.

Growing up in a South Asian household, I was criticized on my appearance so much and still am, I know very well that this isn't just my family, but a cultural understanding of what beauty is supposed to be like and how that is engraved in every woman's mind in Asia.

Here's what is considered beautiful - super fair skin, big eyes, very thin body, hairless, and a small and pointed nose.

And yet every auntie in Asia expects girls to magically look like that and abide by such standards like we can be born with them or control them which is literally so stupid. I can't fathom how much this standard has ruined people's lives physically and mentally.

Let's break down the logistics of these standards real quick.

When it comes to fair skin, if you are "lucky" you are either born with it in your genes (or natural selection) or your skin matches where you are from and to help adapt to UV rays in Asia you have darker skin which makes sense.

When it comes to eye shape, it is still a mystery to scientists but if you physically cannot control what kind of eyes you are born with, whether you have monolid, wide-set eyes, or small eyes, it's simply something you cannot control.

You would think that being skinny is possible and it sure is, but in this case, I'm talking about looking almost malnourished. No matter how thin you are, you will constantly be criticized. I have literally witnessed my skinniest of cousins being told that they look "healthy," which translates to fat. THE WORD HEALTHY MEANS FAT. C'MON.

Hairlessness. Are you sh***ing me??

Us South Asians are literally known for our body hair, and you expect us to get waxed up at age 10 and not be traumatized? Making body hair sound so disgusting even though it is a normal and natural thing? Ridiculous. And then finally, having a small nose doesn't even make any sense because the shapes of noses are based on adapting to humidity levels and climates where you are from and if you don't have a bigger nose than people with European backgrounds, then you are just as "lucky" than those who were born hairless, fair-skinned, big-eyed, and high-metabolism-ed.

From personal experience, I have dealt with so much criticism and thankfully it has never impacted me as much mentally than it could have.

My parents are on the fair side, and I am fair/medium skin toned, but the catch with me was that unlike my cousins, I played sports growing up and yes, they were outside and yes, that meant that I got super tan. The calls that my mom would get from her mom about how she needed to put Fair & Lovely on me and lemon juice, and yogurt and all these things just to whiten my complexion was too much. It started literally the age of 10 and never stopped. I have grown out of the standard, but to this day my mom buys foundation shades that are at least 3 shades lighter than her actual skin color all because of this cultural standard.

I was blessed with big eyes, but I have seen my friends who are Chinese and Korean who have balled their eyes out wishing they didn't have monolids. It was heartbreaking to watch and that's when it really hit me how stupid these standards are. Even family friends who don't have big eyes have been doing makeup to make their eyes appear larger from a young age.

I was never skinny, I was either fit or chunky and it still goes back and forth for me when it comes to body type. And you best believe that whenever I would go back to the motherland, the aunties would look me up and down, pause, and tell me I look "healthy," which was every girl's nightmare. The pressure was always there, especially with my mom being a size 00 all her life while I fluctuated from 2-6.

When it comes to having body hair, my mom was very good about not making it a big deal when I was little, but the moment I went overseas, my aunts looked at me and took me to the salon to get my legs, arms, and stache waxed. I have gotten my entire body waxed so many times that it doesn't even hurt in the slightest, I have gotten used to it.

Oof, and having a small and pointed nose is like every brown girl's dream, at least mine anyways. This is the one thing that I have always been insecure about and absolutely hate about myself. Not only nose jobs, but surgeries to fulfill all of these Asian beauty standard "needs" are becoming very popular and common throughout Asia which is sad, but we need to make an end to this.

It's 2019, I can be as hairy as I want.

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