Girls: Not Just a Gender

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As girls, we don’t know what to think. Our minds are jumbled thoughts of TV shows with flawless actresses and things boys said to us in 7th grade and how our moms act around our dads and how our dads act around us and how our older brother treated his girlfriends and the attention male teachers give to certain girls and how we’re taught about feminism in history class and the newspaper stories we hear about boys that get away with raping drunk girls.
We judge ourselves by how many old guys hit on us at work and how flirtatious the cute guy we rang up was. We judge ourselves next to the girls we sit near in class and see on TV and work with and pass on the street. We judge ourselves by the clearness of our skin, how much fat we squeeze on our stomach, how big our eyes are, how long our eyelashes extend, how small and perky our noses are, the size of our breasts and feet, whether our thighs touch and if our jeans are not tight enough or too tight.
We think our voices are too loud or deep, our bodies too tall, our lips too thin, our hair too curly or messy, short, flat, frizzy, greasy, stringy. We judge ourselves by whether guys call us “hot” or “cute” or “pretty” or nothing. We judge ourselves by how many boyfriends we’ve had, how many boys we’ve kissed, how many times we’ve been asked out. At the same time, we judge ourselves for having a lot of sex with one person, for being a virgin, for having sex with multiple people, for liking girls more than guys, for liking the wrong guys or the nerdy guys or the stoner guys. We judge ourselves by how friendly a guy is to us, if he smiles at us, if he flirts with our friend instead. We judge ourselves by how hairy our bodies are, how our eyebrows are shaped, how we look in leggings and yoga pants. We judge ourselves by how fast a boy texts back, by who texts who first, by whether he acts bored or interested—as if we knows what goes on in their heads.
We judge ourselves against Facebook photos of girls in bikinis and prom dresses, against girls with 100 likes on their pictures, by the sexual comments left to those same girls on those same photos. We want to be sexualized, be admired and stared at for our bodies, how fit our legs are, how flat our stomachs are, how small our waists are. But when we are treated sexually, we are insecure: we feel cheap and confused. Do they only like how we look? When we’re not sexualized we feel fat and ugly and ignored—unloved. Could anyone ever like how we look, be attracted to us?
Everything we do and everything we feel comes with a label. We are vilified for cheating on our boyfriends or getting drunk or cutting our hair or not covering our flaws with makeup. We are belittled for being quiet or outspoken, for voicing an unpopular opinion and not caring what other people think. We are insulted for seeming dumb or boring or slutty or crazy or annoying or bitchy. We are cut down when we reject a guy; we are made to feel guilty for not liking boys who like us; we are made to feel like failures for being single. Boys always choose to be single; girls never choose to be this way. We are desperate if we want affection or a text message from our boyfriend; we are overly emotional if we say how we feel; we are obsessive basket cases if we cry; we are bitchy if we put boys in their place for being rude, too sexual, too forward, too aggressive, too touchy, just plain mean. Boys compare girls and rate them and judge them for their asses and their faces, and then wonder why girls are jealous and catty and mean to one another. We are made to be animals competing for a man’s attention; the winner, the successful one at life, is the girl who gets the guy, gets all the guys. The loser is left to feel ugly, fat, unwanted, stupid, boring, weird.
Don’t call us weak. Don’t call us fat. Don’t say we shouldn’t wear tight pants because we have no ass or huge thighs. Don’t tell us to tan. Don’t tell us to grow our hair and straighten it. Don’t call us stupid when we joke around. Don’t call us bitchy when we hit you with an insult worse than the one you just handed out (it was just a joke right?) Don’t call us clingy when we want to hear from you. Don’t call us annoying if we like to laugh. Don’t call us weird if we’re shy. Don’t call us ugly if you’re not attracted to us. Don’t call us a tease if we reject you. Don’t ignore us and compare us to other girls and snap at us and get mad when we want to know why, when we want to talk, when we want closure. We are a gender, so are you. We are done being inferior.





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