Owning my "Girly Girl"

Owning my "Girly Girl"

Being labeled as “girly” shouldn’t be such a terrible thing.
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I love pink. I love shopping and I’m bad at saving money. I often wear dresses and makeup. I have never played sports. My physical appearance is petite and thin. I am emotional and sometimes a drama queen. I want to be an elementary school teacher, yet I wouldn’t mind being a stay-at-home mom either, because I love children. I squeal when I’m around baby animals. I am a hopeless romantic who watches chick-flicks and dreams of getting married to my prince charming. I talk a lot. I am not good at math or science. I rarely curse. I am soft-spoken and at times unassertive. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always liked all things “girly” and I would say I have grew up to be very stereotypically feminine.

In the past, I have had to deal with people not taking me as seriously because of my femininity. In middle school there were girls who thought they were “cooler” than me because they were “one of the boys” or because their daily attire consisted of athletic shorts and a t-shirt. I didn’t judge them based on what they liked or wore, even when I didn’t like it. So I never understood why I was judged based on the clothes I wore and the things I like? When did being “girly” become such a bad thing? I have never thought I was suppose to be ashamed of being a woman. Yet, high school came around and so did the term “feminist”. Suddenly, it was cool to be a feminist. One girl patronized me and called me a “bad-feminist” because I was a girly girl. On one hand I believe that women who refuse to conform to the cookie cutter female image should not suffer for doing so. No one should ever be made to feel inferior because of their appearance, gender, sexuality or race - men as well! On the other hand, people like me who fit in the stereotype should not be looked down on either. The feminist movement was suppose to be about equality, right? I couldn’t understand why this so called “feminist” in my high school thought it was okay to put other girls down for having more traditionally feminine qualities.

The fact that pink is my favorite color does not make me ditzy. I am going to wear whatever I want to wear, because I am expressing myself and I deserve that right. My size says nothing about my strength. Just because I’m sensitive, doesn't mean I’m weak. So what if I want to pursue a traditionally women dominated job? Whatever path I choose to take, I am going to be proud. I’m not going to let anyone make me feel like what I’m hoping to achieve is any less important than a corporate career or having the right to call myself a doctor. So what if the path I want is to create a great future for my children, or to support my husband while we make a beautiful life together? I want to give my children the fundamental family unit I lacked growing up. I want to show them what real love and affection is -someone to nurture and guide them. Even so, I can still be a strong and independent women who knows her worth and will be okay on her own. I may talk a lot, but what I have to say matters. What I have to say is worth hearing. Above all, while my demeanor may come across as timid and polite, I have a voice that will stand up for myself and those around me. I am not afraid to fight back. I am a fearless women who has the power to change the world.

There is something quite heartbreaking about a society that makes young girls and women feel like they either need to be girly, or that they must totally reject it altogether. I am growing up in the age of women trying to be equal. I have been urged to never settle for less. I was told to find the cure for cancer, to create that business, and to get paid just as much as the boys. I have grown up, for the most part, supported and fought for by other women, so our futures could be bright and equal. But being a women and being labeled as “girly” shouldn’t be such a terrible thing. Being a “girly girl” doesn’t mean you can’t be strong, tough, brave and intelligent about the things that matter the most. The way I see it, being “girly” should be associated with the fierce and powerful women of our past. Being “girly” should mean all the things women have accomplished and if “girly” could represent the women of our past, then I am proud to be labelled as such.

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9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

The rainbow flag is certainly the most recognizable, but it isn't the only Pride Flag there is.
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It's Pride Month yet again and fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating. Normally around this time of year, we expect to see that all-too-familiar rainbow colored flag waving through the air, hanging from windows and sported on clothing of all types. Even when not strictly a flag, the colors of the rainbow are often displayed when showing support of the larger queer community. But what many people do not realize is that there are many, many pride flags for orientations of all kinds, so Natasha and I (Alana Stern) have created this handy guide to some others that you may not yet be familiar with:

1. L is for Lesbian and G is for Gay

The most recognizable letters of the entire acronym, L (Lesbian) and G (Gay), represent the homosexual people of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is defined as being exclusively sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Again, although the rainbow Pride flag is easily the most iconic and recognizable, there is a Lesbian Pride Flag as well. Specifically for "Lipstick Lesbians," this flag was made to represent homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression. Here are the Lesbian Pride Flag (left) and Gay Pride Flag with the meaning of each stripe (right).



2. B is for Bisexual

Bisexuality is defined as the romantic and/or sexual attraction towards both males and females. They often go unacknowledged by people who believe that they cannot possibly feel an attraction for both sexes and have been called greedy or shamed in many ways for being who they are, but not this month. This month we recognize everyone and their right to love. Here is the flag and symbol that represents the big B!


3. T is for Transgender (Umbrella)

Gender identities are just as diverse as sexual orientations. Transgender people are people whose gender does not necessarily fall in line with their biological sex. That is to say, someone who is born male may not feel that calling oneself a man is the best way to describe who they are as a person; the same can go for someone who is born female or intersex (we'll get to that in a bit). Someone born female may feel that they prefer to be referred to as a man. Someone born male may feel that they don't mind being referred to as either a man or a woman. And someone may feel that neither term really fits. Identities can range from having no gender, to multiple genders, to having a gender that falls outside of the typical gender binary of man/woman, to anything in between. The colors of the flag are blue (the traditional color for boys), pink (the traditional color for girls) and white (to represent those who are intersex, transitioning, or have a gender that is undefined).


Okay! Here's where we get into the lesser-known letters of the acronym. You may have heard of some of these before but didn't quite know what they meant or how they fit into the larger queer community, or you may not have heard of them at all. Either way, we'll do our best to explain them!

4. I is for Intersex

Intersex people are people who are have a mix of characteristics (whether sexual, physical, strictly genetic or some combination thereof) that would classify them as both a male and a female. This can include but is not limited to having both XX and XY chromosomes, having neither, being born with genitalia that does not fit within the usual guidelines for determining sex and appearing as one sex on the outside but another internally. It is possible for intersex people to display the characteristics from birth, but many can go years without realizing it until examining themselves further later in life. Here is an older version of the intersex flag which utilizes purple, white, blue and pink (left) and a more recent one that puts an emphasis on more gender-neutral colors, purple and yellow (right).


5. A is for Aro-Ace Spectrum

The A in the acronym is usually only defined as Asexual, which is a term used to describe people who experience a lack of sexual attraction to any sex, gender, or otherwise. People who are asexual can still engage in healthy romantic relationships, they just don't always feel the need or have the desire to have sex and are not physically attracted to other people. If that's confusing, think of it this way: you are attracted women, but not men. You may see a man and think, "He's kind of cute" or "That's a pretty good-looking guy," but you still would not feel any desire towards that person, because that's not what you're into. Asexual people generally feel that way about everyone. That's the "Ace" half of "Aro-Ace."

"Aro," or Aromantic, is a term used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction. Aromantic people still have healthy platonic relationships, but have no inclination towards romantic love. The reason Asexual and Aromantic are together is because they are very heavily entwined and oftentimes can overlap. Underneath that spectrum are also other variations of asexuality (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are asexual but experience sexual attraction in very rare circumstances, or only after they have a romantic connection) and aromanticism (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are aromantic but experience romantic attraction in very rare circumstances).

Below are two versions of the Aromantic Pride Flag (top and middle) and the Asexual Pride Flag (bottom).





6. P and O are for Panseuxal and Omnisexual

Pansexual and omnisexual people are not limited by gender preferences. They are capable of loving someone for who they are and being sexually attracted to people despite what gender their partner identifies as. The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan-", meaning all. Pansexuals or Omnisexuals will probably settle for whoever wins their heart regardless of that persons gender.


7. But what about the Q?!

The Q can be said to stand for Queer or Questioning, or both. "Queer" is more of a blanket term for people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or who identify as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (a term that has come to describe people who feel that their gender does fall in line with their biological sex; i.e. someone born male feels that he is a man). It is also possible for someone to identify as queer, but avoid using it to refer to specific people unless you know they are okay with it; some people still consider it insulting. Questioning means exactly what it sounds like: it gives a nod to those who are unsure about their sexuality and/or gender identity or who are currently in the process of exploring it.

There's no one flag specifically for the letter Q, as all of the above sexualities and identities technically fall underneath this term.


This list is hardly comprehensive and there are a number of other flags, orientations and identities to explore. Pride Month is still going strong, and there's always more to learn about the ever-changing nature of sexuality as a whole and the way we understand it. It's a time for celebration, but also a time to educate and spread the word.

For a more in-depth description of different types of attraction and how they work, click here.

For more complete lists of gender identities throughout history, click here or here.

For a general list of commonly used words in the LGBTQ+ community and their definitions, click here.


Now go grab a flag and fly it high--you've got a ton to choose from!

Cover Image Credit: 6rang

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Respect And Celebrate Different Identities

Just because you don't think it's "normal" doesn't mean you can disrespect it.

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I've always believed "respect is earned, not given" to be utter BS, but that's even more true when it comes to how people identify. June is LGBT+ Pride Month, which means you're going to be hearing about a lot of different identities (gender- and orientation-wise) that you've probably never heard of.

Please, for the sake of everyone involved, don't be an ass if you don't understand what they identify as. At one point, everyone has questioned an identity that they came across (and if you say you haven't, I'm going to say you're lying). Do that in your head, but be respectful to the person.

I've been online for years, and I'm guilty of bashing people's identities because I thought they were "weird" and didn't fully understand them. Guess what? I recognize that as being a horrible thing to do and have since matured.

It costs you nothing to be respectful.

When I see an identity I don't fully understand, I either ask the person about it (respectfully) or shrug it off because it's none of my business. The most it affects me is when it comes to their preferred name and pronouns, but even that isn't a big deal. It won't end my life if I call someone by a set of pronouns I don't understand.

Now, I'm not saying to not ask questions out of fear of being disrespectful; I'm saying to not be a total jerk when asking.

When in doubt, ask them about it. "Hey, can you explain what ____ means?" is a very different way to start a conversation than "I've never heard of ____ and think it's gross/wrong, so it doesn't exist."

The worst possible thing you can do is tell someone their identity doesn't exist. That pretty much tells the person that they don't exist, which is really just a dick move.

Because, again, what does it cost you to be respectful?

That's right, nothing.

Their identity doesn't hurt you in any way. Them being gay or trans or somewhere in the middle or both literally does you no harm. Respecting them does you no harm.

You may not understand if someone identifies as a "non-binary pansexual they/them," but they know full well what it means. That's all that matters. All you have to do is respect them and call them what they want to be called rather than what you think they should be called.

Nobody knows someone better than they know themselves.

Cover Image Credit:

Pxhere

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