Ever since I can remember, I haven’t been able to meet the thousands of standards of being a typical girl (at least, in American society). As a kid, I could be described as a tomboy who traded heels for sneakers, and pageants for Pokemon. But my youthful self would soon be sucked into the pressure of doing gender right, like most other girls and boys will feel (yes, boys too -- ow many times have we told boys to “man up!”). As I was being bred to be a proper girl I encountered other women and men, alike, attempting to lead me down the right path, but I soon realized that there is no rightpath.
You need to sit like a lady.
There is an unwritten code (or maybe there is a girl bible somewhere -- if so, please direct me) that details what it is like to properly conduct yourself as a lady in public. From the basic idea of crossing your legs, to avoiding loud bodily sounds at all costs, it seems as if our culture is teaching my girl counterparts, and me, to appear perfect at the cost of feeling uncomfortable. I can probably understand the whole crossing legs concept if I were to wear a dress or skirt, but what if I’m wearing pants or shorts?! Why does this rule still apply? And if you want me to hide my natural human body parts (which are in fact covered) from your unsuspecting eyes then I suggest this rule be applied to all genders across the board.
Can’t we just all sit and be human together without pretending that burping and sitting comfortably is only a guy thing? #GirlsBurp2k15
You would look so pretty in skirts and dresses.
Whenever I hear this, I feel as if I’ve time traveled back to the late 1800s. Yes, I do enjoy wearing skirts and dresses from time to time, but more than anything I love to wear pants or shorts. Why? Refer to the last paragraph as one of my top reasons. Additionally, they are so practical! What if I’m wearing a dress and heels when the zombie apocalypse happens?! But most importantly, please don’t tell me that I have to wear a long piece of tailored cloth to look pretty. Sweatpants are hot. Let me be! Although, let me just say that I applaud the girls who can wear dresses and skirts all day, everyday -- especially rompers (guys, refer to this video if you don’t know why it’s such a struggle).
Did you put on makeup?
This is something I would often hear my mother say as I rush out the door to work, practice, school, etc. “No mom, I’m just going to practice!” That doesn't matter to her. I know other girls have faced this struggle, not only with their mothers but with peers giving back-handed compliments insisting that they will look “even prettier” with just a little bit of makeup. Thanks? Again, we’re just humans! Good people should love you even if you don’t look like a Photoshopped Covergirl model, because nobody looks like a Photoshopped Covergirl. Nobody.
Furthermore, don’t feel pressured to wear makeup if it’s not your thing, for starters it’s hard to maintain, because sometimes people will see you without it and assume you’re sick. Ummm no, this is just my natural face. Secondly, it’s expensive. Thirdly, eyeliner running down your face during the summer. Must I go on? I think you look beautiful with, or without, makeup on, but please don’t force me to wear it.
Boys would like you if you weren’t so intimidating.
Being a girl means smiling more and complaining less with the ultimate goal of attracting a partner. But what if I wanted someone who would love me for me? Someone who didn’t mind my “resting b***h face,” and loved to hear about my passionate rants about socio-economic inequality. Is it really that big of a request to ask that a potential partner not be annoying and feel subordinate? If we date, I’ll be your biggest fan, and you will be mine. It’s not a contest.
I think if we applied all of the previous ideas into one final thought, it would be that the rules of gender all exist to impress. Why else do I need to suppress my volume, wear pink skirts, or winged eyeliner? If we, as a culture, could just get over this façade of women being perfect Barbie dolls, then we would realize that women shouldn’t be held to this expectation of altering their personalities to fit into a box. I’m not good at being a “girl,” and that’s perfectly okay because I don’t think any one person is the culturally ideal version of a girl. The idea of being a “proper lady" is a cultural construction. We created it -- so, now, we can fix it.
Sorry, everyone, we don’t exist to impress you. So, please stop telling me that I’m not a true girl, or I'm a tomboy or a crazy feminist. I'm just me.