This is a cruel world for girls.
My friend and I have ongoing debates about this subject. He insists that life is equally difficult for men.
"Grasshopper," he says, using the nickname I've grown to love, "Men face just as much pressure as women. They are subject to just as many expectations and demands, although those demands may be slightly different."
I can't understand that.
Perhaps it's true, but I have seen the way women are objectified. I have succumbed to the insane pressure to be unrealistically (and destructively) thin. I've had to teach myself that it's ok to have imperfect hair or an imperfect nose. Or a ribcage that doesn't protrude the way it once did.
In my experience, women are supposed to be mysterious and reserved. They're expected to sit back instead of taking the reins. Many books claim that women should be passive, patient, and calm. Seriously...there's a whole genre of books dedicated to making us more "feminine" by teaching us to be demure. These aren't books from the 1950's, either. They are new and popular and readily available on your Kindle.
There are a ton of rules to being a girl, huh?
Overstep a boundary, gain five pounds, or speak out of turn and you're basically ejected from the game.
I'm 30 years old. Most my friends have spouses and kids, but I still haven't decided if I want children.
Some days, I wonder how it would feel to hold my own baby in my arms. Other days, I fly around the country in a state of pure bliss and reflect on how thankful I am to be uninhibited, unattached, utterly free.
If I do have a child someday, and if that child is a girl, I can promise this much: I will love her so deeply that she won't be able to resist loving herself. I'll tell her she is gorgeous, and she undoubtedly will be. Whether her hair is brown or black or blond (which doesn't seem likely, considering my own dark shade), whether she is a size zero or a size fourteen, whether she has my big Italian sniffer or one of those cute button noses I've always admired...she will be simply perfect. In her own way.
And I will constantly remind her of that.
I will celebrate her personality and her life choices. If she's shy and prefers to work behind the scenes, fantastic. If she's incredibly outgoing and Type A, that's wonderful too.
I hope she never hears the term "mind-the-gap-Mondays." Better yet, I hope she hears the term and laughs at its sheer absurdity. Because there's absolutely NOTHING appropriate or admirable about judging a woman based on the space between her thighs. It's disgusting, in my opinion. It's truly sick. Then again, many aspects of this world are ill, broken, degrading.
Fortunately, hope is not lost. Sure, this world is a tough place for a girl. I'll always believe that. However, I also believe it's possible to defy the norm. Break the mold. Ignore the negativity. Love yourself in a healthy way...and teach others to do the same.