To Be A Girl: A Pentalogy | Teen Ink

To Be A Girl: A Pentalogy

December 15, 2014
By peachybabe BRONZE, Cicero, Illinois
peachybabe BRONZE, Cicero, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
if i can't trust you then damn it, hannah, there's no future, there's no answer.

you are 9 years old and you hate anything to do with femininity.

you pull at the pigtails your mom gingerly braids into your hair every morning, you tug at your once treasured plaid skirt, and you turn your nose up at the color pink.

you are not a girl.

yes you are female, but you are not a girl. you do not want to be a girl.

being a girl is a weakness, being called a girl is an insult.

you clench your tiny fists, press them against your sides as the boys call you names.
“you run like a girl”
your legs ache, your thighs burn, you are short of breath. you press on. faster, faster
“you hit like a girl”
you dig your nails into the palm of your hand to keep from swinging. you fight with your brothers and you know you can hit. hard. (you ache to demonstrate)
“that’s not for girls”
you keep quiet. your brothers watch wrestling so you want to join in. you are usually loud spoken and argumentative, but whenever you open your mouth to speak, they interrupt.

you are 9 years old and you sneer at femininity so you can be just like them.

"you aren't like the other girls" they say. for some reason you feel pride.

you are 13 years old and a boy calls you b**** for the first time.

you do not understand. you are not acting any differently than him. you are not acting any differently than any of the boys in your class. and yet he snickers and he points and the rest of the boys you had once wanted so badly to be accepted by nod in approval.

you hear your first “go back to the kitchen” joke in gym class that same year. you feel an anger grow within you that spreads like a wildfire throughout your entire body. your face burns red, your throat feels dry, and your eyes threaten water.

you want them to feel the humiliation that pools in your gut whenever their lips curl and their noses point upward at the thought of you being better, let alone equal.

you are 13 years old and when a boy tells you to make him a sandwich, you hit him.

you are 14 years old and you are cat-called for the first time by a group of men on the street.

it is 91 degrees outside. you are wearing a skirt your mother had allowed you to buy specifically for this moment. you are excited and eager, and you skip as you walk. you are going to the hard rock cafe to see one of your favorite artists play.

as you and your mother make your way down the street, hands clasped tightly together, you hear it. you turn around because you are unsure of what is going on, but when you see the look on the men’s faces, you understand.

you feel dirty and ashamed and there is an apology about to roll off of the curve of your tongue--

but you stop. you bite down on your tongue, hard enough to draw blood. because that is when you see the look on your mother's face. lips pursed, eyes narrowed, jaw clenched.

you had felt embarrassed, you had felt responsible, but when you see your mother, middle finger proudly raised over her head, you understand.

you are 14 years old and you realize this is the way things are going to be from now on.

you are 15 years old and you think you understand feminism.

you speak about it excitedly, a newfound discovery you need the world to know about. why aren’t more people talking about this? why have I been kept in the dark for so long? it is a movement you find yourself following easily, but you grow angry when others are unable to.

you are 15 years old and when you proudly proclaim yourself feminist, people scoff and sneer. they respond with eyerolls, exasperated sighs, and loud snorting.

you shrug it off.

when your best friend tells you that feminists are “too extreme” for her, you shame and you berate her and you do not speak to her for three days. you cannot believe someone you so deeply care for has disappointed you in this way.

what you fail to do is help her understand. you think she has made her choice.

You are 18 years old and you are trying. You really are.

Boys still sneer. Boys still make jokes. Your hands still ball into fists, but you have learned to control your anger. Sure, your face still burns red, and you still tremble after you speak, but you are no longer staying silent and that is all that matters.

You adore the strong women that surround you, you are supportive of the women you spend your time with, and you are fiercely protective of the girls who are 9 years old, 13 years old, 14 years old, 15 years old as you once were.

You need them to understand that:

I do run like a girl. I do hit like a girl. And my interests and likes are not limited by my gender.

My place isn't in the kitchen, but it's okay if i want it to be. I am not a b****, I am not bossy. I am a leader.

If I get cat-called on the street, if I get shamed for the length of my skirt or the makeup on my face, it is not my fault.

Feminism isn’t about shaming women, it’s about creating a safe space for women to uplift and empower each other.

I am 18 years old and I am a feminist.

I wear makeup and I read books and I now understand that it's okay to do both. I can be an intellectual and a beauty. I can be feminine or not.

I finally understand that it is about choice.

I am a girl and it is my choice.

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