I don’t want to lie to myself, I feel absolutely terrible. Truth be told, I’ve been through a rough time and finally, I am out of a toxic relationship. After a little over a year, I realised how much I’d been lied to and more shockingly, how much I’d been lying to myself. Now I’m done with all of it, so here goes a series of chaotic and conflicted self expression posts. Hopefully, this proves to be cathartic because I’m unsure what else to do with all the anger I’m filled with.
A single day out of three hundred and sixty five is celebrated as Women’s Day, and it’s made out to be a glorious twenty-four hours to commemorate the triumphs and achievements of women such as being the first to climb Mount Everest or on becoming the first female president.
These mould-breaking achievements are remarkable in the race of life, but an important one is often left unappreciated. Everyday women around the world are running a life-long marathon in interpreting and discovering their own sense of femininity and carrying it like no one else can. We are racing to the finish line, believing that somehow we will be ‘Girls’ and it is no easy feat.
A ‘Girl’ with a capital G is that woman who has poise, class, is attractive and popular and the epitome of femininity that is perpetuated through movies and the media, reinforcing the existing stereotype of what a woman ought to be or what a woman is. She is one-sided and singular in facet.
That is why the journey towards becoming this iconic form of a woman is pointless. There is no one in the world who can be a ‘Girl’. Instead, we are all girls with a small g and each one of us has the power to define what it is to be a woman in our own right.
A girl can play soccer and love chick-flicks at the same time. She can drink beer and paint her nails. She can love shopping and do her hair up in different ways. She can wear guy t-shirts and refuse to accessorise them. She can be whatever she wants.
That last part is important. It’s all about choices.
I remember once that I was asked if I played computer games by a guy and I said that I don’t. His immediate response was, “So you fall in line with that stereotype that girls can’t play video games?” to which I answered that I can certainly kick ass on a PlayStation.
Even if, suppose, I’m not very good at playing video games (as he quickly assumed), there’s no shame in it. There are definitely girls who are and aren’t. You can’t generalize from a single woman to the entire gender. It’s unacceptable to shame women for certain things that are associated as stereotypical. Just because women are stereotyped as passive doesn’t mean that we now have to be aggressive to prove that assumption wrong.
Going shopping for clothes and accessories are seen as ridiculous things that women do but on the other hand those who do not use makeup are seen as less feminine than others. It’s contradictory and unfair. If someone likes painting their nails and going to the salon, then there’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t like accessorising or dressing up then that’s okay too. Just because a woman is homemaker does not mean she is a conformist to society’s ingrained traditional women roles. It is her choice and no one can disrespect it.
In fact, isn’t that the beauty of femininity? Its fluidity ensures that it’s always in play, never rigid. A girl is whoever she wants to be.
This realization takes time to surface because let me tell you, it is a struggle, not made any easier with people’s constant and rather unnerving judgement, but once it occurs, it’s like seeing a monochromatic world in colour for the first time in your life. Triumph lies in finding ways to be comfortable with being your own girl instead of running the race to be a ‘Girl’.
And once you figure it out…
you’re free to be.
p.s Find the strength in your femininity. Don’t disown it.