I grew up in a passively sexist society.
This time warranted the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper.
I can relate.
I washed dishes while my brother, the same age, was left to his own devices with his transformers and his castle grey skull.
My She-Ra and little ponies would breach that castle eventually but that’s beside the point.
I think I read that Cyndi wrote this song about being a child and having to do chores while other kids, boys, played and were given the clear message to follow their dreams. Do what feels good to you. Nothing to do with duty. Test your limits.
While girls were given fear, and limitations.
I experienced teachers not only NOT calling on me in class but actually rolling their eyes when I raised my hand.
It got so bad that around grade 3, I stopped raising my hand even though I knew the answer for fear of this humiliation.
I dropped that fear silently in grade 4, and did my best on a science test.
I got an A+.
It had been a year since I’d scored so high and I was so incredibly was proud of myself.
I told a friend, quietly. Not quietly enough apparently because I heard whisper’s saying “she’s showing off”.
I was horrified and never talked about a good grade again.
Actually, I lost the want to even get a good grade.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!
I became invisible until I grew breasts.
Then, I couldn’t stay invisible no matter how much I tried.
I had attention.
I started wearing makeup at that point. It was junior high. I was 12.
I remember a boy stopping me in the hallway and telling me I looked like a “porcelain doll”.
I was so flattered.
My self worth went from a 2 to 11. If I wasn’t going to be valued for my mind, I might as well be valued for my looks.
It didn’t get better from there.
I spent the rest of my teenage years overlooking my personal feelings of worth in favor of a negative idea of who I should be.
I should look like a manikin. Like a porcelain doll.
Let’s face it, 90’s fashion definitely supported this idea.
Babydoll dresses anyone?
There were definite extenuating circumstances in play so I can’t blame society completely for this, but it didn’t help.
Today, 2022, I see younger women in there 20’s & 30’s and I’m so impressed!
They don’t seem to have the same shame instincts that I had.
The same obligatory hesitation for anything.
I’m so happy about that.
Because we’ve come a long way baby! (The slogan for Virginia Slims cigarettes back in the day)
This past week I’ve seen two incredible doctors, both young woman, who just impressed the shit out of me.
Over the past 10 years I’ve met so many young women that also have impressed the shit out of me.
I’m so excited to see what they do.
I’m excited to take inspiration from them and see what I can do.