In many cultures around the globe, it is acknowledged that being born a woman means life isn't going to be fair to her. There are all these preconceived notions about women in our society that cannot be easily changed because the definitions of strength, weakness, woman, and man are so deeply sown in the history of humanity. And these definitions aren't really in favor of women. Being a woman is difficult. Ellen, from the Tingly Mind, expresses this frustration further:
Being a girl is hard. It’s not just hard because as a girl, I bleed 5 days a month and my mood is regulated by my hormones, but it’s from the day I realized I was born into a society that values men more than women; from the disappointed look on my father’s face for not having a son because to him, only sons, not daughters, are able to handle important matters in the family.
It’s hard from the first PE class when my gender and physical strength were tied to one word: weak; from the time I struggled to get my voice heard, my opinions valued as I was the only female in the room and being a female is automatically assumed to be less smart, less capable; and from the realization that I will always have to do more, do better to prove my ability, my worthiness.
Being a girl means everything never seems to be right. I’m told everyday that I need to change something about my body, my face to be happy, to be accepted, to be loved. I’m taught that beauty is essential to my identity and giving birth is my purpose of existing, and thus, if I’m not beautiful, yet single and childless, there must be something inherently wrong with me that needs to be fixed.
Though, if I’m beautiful, it’s even a greater sin because that will be all what I’m seen for, not my brain, my soul or anything that makes me whole. As a man touches me and says I’m sexy, I’m irresistible while disregarding all what I’m and what I have to say, I come to hate every feminine part of my body, my curves, my attractiveness because I’m led to believe they stand in the way of me being appreciated as a human.
Being a girl is hard because my body and sexuality is somehow everyone’s business. I’m judged for the clothes I wear, the people I’m with and every little choice I make about what to do with my own body. I’m compared to cows and locks and my sexuality becomes a commodity attached to my value. Also, when it comes to sex, there is really no way to win as a girl: if I sleep with a man too soon, I’m a slut; If I refuse his advances, I’m a prude.
And because he’s a man, it’s understandable for him to NOT be able to control himself and want to have sex with me but it will be my fault if I’m assaulted or raped by him because I don’t know how to say no, or because I don’t have self-respect, or because my clothes are too revealing, or because I’m stupid. Even if I’m not assaulted or raped, I will always have to worry about being seen as easy and cheap even though it’s just as normal of me as of a man to have sexual desires when being intimate with someone I’m attracted to.
It’s always because I’m a girl. Everything is because I’m a girl. I need manuals and instructions to breathe, to live, to please others because I’m a girl. I’m a girl so I’m always the emotional, the sensitive, the vulnerable, the weak one, and most of the times it’s not by choice. I cry myself to sleep because I struggle to be loved for me, for the person I’m, not for being a female I physically appear to be, not as a sexual object I’m degraded to be.
All that being said, I won’t deny that being a woman is powerful and wonderful and I love being a woman like I love my mother, sisters, grandmothers, and all the women in the world. I wouldn’t trade anything for these feminine curves, imperfect stretch marks, for being able to create new lives and the magical maternal bond I would have with my child from inside my womb till its first cry.
But yes, the whole thing is incredibly hard. At times I don’t even know how to be a girl. I wish I could just turn into a wise woman and make no mistake but I’m never wise enough and I will always make mistakes. I will still cry and still struggle but I guess I have no better choice than to start from accepting myself as a woman and embrace every bit of that womanliness.
Being a girl is hard but I’m strong and I will fight. I will try my best.
Ellen Nguyen is about many things and definitely one thing: she loves to write. She talks honestly, openly and positively about young people, lifestyles, cultures and well-being. You can visit her at http://thetinglymind.com where she shares with readers about her experiences, opinions and attempts at fiction.