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Rejecting the Girly? Hashing Out my Femininity

When I was a kid, I wasn't a fan of typically "girly" things. I refused to be associated with dresses, tea parties and Barbie dolls. Being seen as a girl made me feel horrible.

I don't really know why.

I used to go out of my way to tell people pink was my least favorite color. I was vehement on it. One year at summer camp my friend Casey offered me a hair tie, but I refused to take it. It was pink. “Only girly girls wear pink!” I said, stalking away with hair in my face. What was my problem? Why was I so obsessed with not being labeled as a girl?

I grew up with a twin brother and an older sister. My sister wasn’t “girly,” she loved to draw and her favorite animals were dinosaurs. My brother was your typical boy, liked sports, video games and wrestling with us on the couch. Together, the three of us played Spyro, soccer, and Power Rangers (I refused to be the Pink Ranger for obvious reasons). My brother and I were around the same size so we shared clothes until we couldn’t anymore. I didn't care about my clothes. The Old Navy boy’s section was my closet until I was fourteen.

Even at my private school, where girls were required to wear a jumper, I asked my mom if I could wear the boy’s uniform. “I like pants,” first grade Mary said. “They keep me warm when it's cold and I can run better at recess.” I wore a modified version of the boy’s uniform until the fifth grade.

I can’t explain why the thought of being a girl disgusted me, even when I was six. I still have some issues with it today. Most my friends are guys (to the irk of my boyfriend) and when I’m with them I think, “Okay, I can’t be the party-pooper female friend. I have to be one of the guys.” Why? Why do I put so much pressure on myself playing Puyo Puyo Tetris with friends (the game is stressful enough)? Why do I order beer at the bar when I’m in the mood for a glass of wine?

I don’t look down on women who like to do “girly" things. Some of my best female friends get their nails done every two weeks and love shoe shopping. It’s not that the idea of participating in these things never occurred to me, I just refused to try them. “They’re too feminine, they’re so lame.” But what’s actually lame about it, Mary? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Maybe there’s just something wrong with me.

While I was making this blog, I realized something. It is covered in flowers. My blog, the virtual representation of myself, is covered in the girliest thing in the world! And I don’t mind. I love it, I think it’s beautiful, and, for some reason, I don’t see it as girly at all. It’s mature, vibrant, and colorful. It’s a reflection of how I feel. Ten years ago, I would have never put my name on this. “Ew gross, it’s so girly.” But now I love it. And, still, I don’t know why.

I don’t hate dresses anymore. I feel flirty and beautiful and feminine. Since when has that been a good thing? I just brought an umbrella with sakura petals on it. Pink sakura. I upped my make-up game from once a year to five or six times. Where did the change come from?

Maybe my perspective has changed since that year in summer camp. I hate feeling a weakness related to what I am. People say society is the reason the female gender is associated with negative traits and, if that’s the case, society is a scary thing.

I hope that one day I won’t have to worry about what’s girly or what's feminine. I just want to be confident in myself. I’m still not 100% there, but the fact this blog is covered in flowers means I’ve come a long way.

It’s beautiful and powerful, feminine and worthwhile. Just like me.


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