How do you escape it? How do you escape what they say, and worse, what they think? We exaggerate, we’re melodramatic. We squeal and giggle like little girls, or maybe we try to act older than we are. That’s just dumb. When older boys like us, we’re sluts. When we find younger boys, we’re strange. We’re supposed to be more mature than boys of our own age, and when we’re not, we’re failures. We babysit, we ring people up at cash registers, we go shopping and wear too much make-up. We have very little to say—but that’s only because you tell us that we do say isn’t good enough. It’s petty, because we don’t know anything. Not yet. We’re too young. We’re silly teenage girls, remember? The pain we’ve felt about boys and our bodies and that test grade isn’t real pain, not the pain adults have felt. We live in a bubble. You live outside the bubble, but you won’t let us out. We have no experience; we’re not even in college yet. So, how can we know anything? How can we be in love? How can we be well-aware of current affairs and political debates? Our opinions matter very little because we’re probably not well-informed. We’re just too young to truly understand what the adults know. We get drunk, we take dumb pictures, we laugh too hard to get that boy’s attention. We perpetuate the stereotypes you’ve created because that’s easier than trying to prove you wrong. We tell ourselves that our worth is determined by the number of boys who ask for our numbers, by how we look in a tank top, and how clear our skin is. We complain about we look partially because we feel ugly, and partially because it’s easier to beg for other’s approval, people like you, than it is to look in the mirror and admit that we are beautiful. Life is stretched out in front of us, decades and decades; the idea is so massive and immense, and we don’t like to think about it. So we stick to the simple things. You tell us we’re PMSing. Fine, when we have our periods we’ll make sure to let everyone know. You tell us we care too much about make-up and clothes, and we know that’s true, but it’s better than not caring, because if you don’t care someone might hold it against you. So we’ll spend our extra money on some mascara. You hate that we cry when we’re upset, and we’re embarrassed that we do it, but we do it anyway because it’s easier than yelling, screaming at the top of our lungs; it’s easier than saying something is wrong about you, something you did caused these feelings. It’s easier to blame it on ourselves; to say that we had a bad day, a bad week, that we didn’t quite get enough sleep. It’s easier to agree. Of course we’re overreacting. We don’t want to say that sometimes we just get feelings for no reason and we don’t know why and that something you’ve said or done has made it worse, has hurt us. We don’t know why, it just has. We don’t want to explain it to you, because we don’t understand it ourselves. So, we blame ourselves. We’re being dumb, on our period, in a bad mood. It’s not what you did, forget it. It’s our fault. The cult of teenage girlhood. It’s not your fault; don’t worry. We might not apologize outright, but we’ll duck our heads, we’ll be a little more submissive next time, just the littlest bit. We’ll be just a little nicer the next day, and maybe you’ll forgive us for what we did wrong. But, I’ve forgotten now, what did we do? So don’t tell us we’re overreacting, don’t say you don’t understand, that we’re just being emotional. That we don’t get it because we’re stuck in high school. We didn’t choose to go to this school, so don’t hold your decisions against us. Don’t tell us we should act feminine because it makes you look more masculine; don’t tell us to focus on English instead of math because we’ll probably be better at that. Don’t tell us to curl our hair and wear it long. Don’t tell us to try putting on a bit of make-up to enhance our eyes. Don’t tell us to calm down. Don’t tell us to wear tighter outfits to the gym. Don’t tell us we can’t be good at sports, and don’t look surprised when we can throw a baseball faster than you or kick a soccer ball farther. Don’t ask us to be short and petite because it will make you look taller and bigger. Don’t ask us to hide, because we won’t. Don’t ask us to raise our hands, because we’ll refuse. And don’t ask us to quiet down, because our voices are strong and what we have to say means something.