My Identity | Teen Ink

My Identity

April 1, 2021
By maygong SILVER, Wellesley, Massachusetts
maygong SILVER, Wellesley, Massachusetts
5 articles 1 photo 0 comments

Identity is all about who we are and the roles we play in society. We are daughters and sons of our parents, sisters and brothers of our siblings, students of our teachers, leaders of our groups, and so on. For every identity we have, we correspondingly carry a responsibility. I think among all my identities, being a female is the one that puts the most responsibility on me, even though this identity is common and the least unique. As a female, I’ve been experiencing special “caring” and unfair treatment since elementary school, if not earlier, since I can’t really remember what happened before that. To me, it’s a pure miracle that I have been able to turn my pain into strength and empower not only myself but also the majority who are like me to stand up against unfairness and inequality.

In elementary school, at the beginning of each new semester, our teacher would ask “three big, strong boys”, in her words, to help her carry new textbooks from the front gate of the school to our classroom and distribute them to everyone. I wasn’t able to understand why at first, because I thought I could do it too, until more and more adults around me started brainwashing me: “good girls are quiet and gentle, don’t be like the boys, running like crazy in the backyards playing every afternoon, stay home and read!” When I asked them why boys could be like that then, they told me it makes them stronger and more manly. I knew that this probably wasn’t right, but I didn’t have the courage to ask or argue; and in order to maintain my “good girl image” among those parents and teachers, I stayed silent. 

As time went on, I was among the first of those who entered puberty in my class. My breasts began to grow in fifth grade. The boys in my class started making fun of me for being “sexy”. I was sure they were using it ironically, along with their exaggerated imitations of me walking with my chest held high. I was so embarrassed and so ashamed that I literally thought there was something wrong with my body. I wanted to be like everyone else so desperately that bending my chest inwards has become a classic posture of mine. I even started preferring winter to summer, my favorite season, only because in a heavy coat, it was hard to tell that I was already “so matured” while others were still “young kids”. 

I was in this state of doubting and hating myself when something even more “devastating” happened — I got my periods in sixth grade. For the same reason, I didn’t want others to know. Sometimes, there would be bloodstains left on the back of my trousers because I was too scared to go and change new pads in the school bathroom, and I could see the others pointing at me from behind and whispering to each other. 

The problem of all kinds of shaming only worsened when I got into middle school when everyone became more conscious about their appearance. Fortunately, I didn’t become the target of acne shaming because I didn’t have much. That was the first time I felt like God was starting to love me and to stand on my side of the fight. Even if I was not the target, I was more than familiar with the feeling of being targeted and shamed publicly. I became close friends with the “targets”, helping them overcome their hate towards themselves and the insecurity they had by telling them my elementary school stories. That was when I started to realize how much power my words have, and how much positive influence they could have on others. Besides, I was glad to discover that I was not the only one who was targeted anymore, and they were as well. So, I became braver and braver to reveal the bruises that I’d been hiding since I found that the majority of people were actually not those who enjoyed bullying others. They were only an exclusive small group, and the reason they dared to act so was that we, the majority, stayed silent and let them get away with it each time they did it.

I gathered members of “the majority” into a group chat on Wechat and I posted articles I wrote about body shaming and period shaming, hoping to inspire people who have experienced the same kind of mental dilemma as I had. I also encouraged them to invite anyone in the same situation to join us in the group chat and perhaps to share their thoughts and anxiety with us. We could then talk and inspire each other with love, until eventually, we are all able to equip ourselves with the strength to say “no” to the school bullies and tell them that they are the ones who should be genuinely ashamed for what they do — objectifying the female gender.

I am proud of my identity as a female, because I, as a female advocator, have found the value and duty of my existence in society, and I am proud to see people not experiencing the pain I experienced because of my help. I sincerely hope that one day women’s lives can be freed from all kinds of unspoken restrictions and judgments which are unnecessary and unacceptable. When that day comes, we will be proud of our uniqueness, because we understand that each and every one of us deserves to be accepted, respected, embraced, and loved by the world for who we are.


The author's comments:

I'm a girl who live for myself, and I love how I look and what I wear, because I am my own queen and others have no right to judge.


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