So, if you don’t like the way I look, well, I may care or I may not, I’m not sure yet


“So, if you don’t like the way I look, well, I just don’t give a damn!”

– “Can’t Stop the Beat”

I’m an advocate for equal rights. I, however, am not an advocate of teaching young girls that they are somehow wrong unless they are strong, independent, boisterous, and opinionated.

It seems that in every book I read these days the protagonist is a loud-mouthed woman who speaks out about what she wants, easily overcomes her insecurities, and somehow ceaselessly balances her multitude of responsibilities, all while looking like she just stepped out of a Vogue magazine. She gets the guys by beating them at their own game and impressing them with her strength and prowess.

Last I checked, I wasn’t a lioness.

I’m human. I’m a young adult. I’m female. And that makes me a lot of things.

But, there is a part of me who rejects sides of who I am because I’ve been brainwashed into thinking that they’re wrong. Our society, and the resulting literature and music, have trained me to hate the part of me that is quiet, reserved, and loves my pink, flowy dress.

The only time it would be okay for me to wear a flowy dress is if I was going to a ball hiding knives underneath the voluptuous skirt, ready to jump out at a moment’s notice, fight the enemy, and save my fellow warriors and innocent bystanders from imminent doom. I could wear a dress then.

The only time it would be acceptable for me to be quiet and reserved is if I were gathering intel on foreign spies. And even then, simply being quiet wouldn’t be enough. I would need to move with an impossible, stealthy grace so that I could overhear them plotting World War III. I could be quiet then.

The only time I could smile demurely is if I were engaging an enemy in a delicate dance of sensual accusations. I could smile demurely if I were trying to work information out of a guy. I could smile demurely if I were using it to trick some feeble-minded male who would have no defense against my feminine weapon.

For it feels like that is all my femininity is allowed to be anymore: a weapon.

And if that is not the way I choose to wield my femininity then am I really a woman? Do I really support women’s rights?

But you see, real women aren’t like the ones in books.

Real women are both quiet and loud.

Real women are strong and weak.

Real women are afraid sometimes.

Real women are complicated.

Real women are desperate for a man, and they don’t need them, all at once.

Real women are shy and cry and don’t take any crap.

Sometimes real women need validation. Sometimes they don’t care what anyone thinks.

There was a time when “real women” to me were the women in my books. And I wanted nothing more than to be strong like them.

Now, the real women to me are the women in my life. The women who helped raise me and the ones who walk through life with me now. The women who have taught me that it’s okay to simply be. And that when I simply am, I am a woman.

“So, if you don’t like the way I look, well, I may care or I may not, I’m not sure yet.”

– Me