One thing that I have surprised myself with in getting older is that I’ve become a lot girlier. I really never saw that coming. If you’d asked me at 13 what I would be like at 31, I would have said cooler, taller, richer, more sure of what I want in life, stuff like that. The idea that I would become more stereotypically feminine never occurred to me.
Not that I was ever a tomboy. I’m not into getting dirty, and I was born with a sports disability that has yet to be remedied. (Went to hip hop class [note that the girl in the video is not me. That is the teacher. I look even dumber attempting to do this dance.] again tonight. It was a sad state of affairs. Really wish there was no mirror so I could happily delude myself into thinking I sort of looked like everyone else while doing this stuff. But no. The ugly truth just continued to stare me in the face while hopping lamely around.)
No, I was really just more of a nerd as a young’un. I read a lot of books, including a science fiction phase. I was in band and played the flute. I took honours math. Not only that, I did extracurricular math contests. (Mostly because they always seemed to be scheduled for my gym block, and missing gym with a legitimate excuse was not the sort of thing I was willing to pass up.)
But I was never much into dolls when I was younger or makeup when I was older. I never learned to style my hair beyond brushing it and dresses or skirts always made me feel self-conscious and over-dressed.
Sometime in my twenties though, I started to really be attracted to all the extremely girlie things out there. This weird transition happened where I was now loving dresses and skirts and sparkly things and delicate lingerie and pink stuff and people’s frothy wedding photos and bubblegum pop music and artistically decorated cupcakes and chandeliers and kittens and beautiful shoes. (I even tried living with the beautiful shoes for a while, but they didn’t love me back, so eventually that affair had to end. We still visit sometimes though.)
But what bugs me is that being girlie has this association with being a) shallow or b) dumb. (I blame Sex and the City for the shallow association. I blame almost every other piece of media out there for the dumb association.) I’m pretty damn sure I’m neither. Yes, I will coo at a beautiful piece of lace negligee, and I have a thing for garnet jewelry. But I also still get a bang out of an elegant geometric proof, I’m better read than most of the people I know, and I’m interested in and care about almost everything. And you know what? If I’m pissed off about something, a new handbag isn’t going to fix it.
But all that stuff is fun. It’s the fluffy side of being female. There are lots of crappy aspects to being born a girl. In many countries, much more dramatic things than here, but even here: we still have to listen to guys call each other women, or bitches, or pussies when they want to deliver a particularly cutting insult; we still have to fear walking alone at night where guys don’t; we still get paid less for the same work; we’ll always be the ones to suffer the barbarism that is childbirth if the world is to be peopled; and we still get told we were probably asking for it somehow if we get raped. All of that really sucks.
So if there’s fun stuff about being a girl and it attracts me, then why not enjoy it? Why should I be judged for it? How does it make me dumb? How does it make me shallow?