Rooting For You
Seriously, I’m in your corner, girls.
I know that this is a trite topic, but I don’t think people get it yet. Let’s face it, our history of intolerance is cyclic, and a lot of people still need to be told over, and over, that much of our culture was built on values that are morally questionable, to say the least. The fundamental right of having a positive self-image has remained mostly foreign to women since the start of history, and so I’ll say it again: it’s time for a paradigm shift in how society views women, and it starts with how women view women.
Let’s begin with how girls view girls: Last night, one of my friends told me, “It seems like all girls hate each other a little bit.” And it does seems like that, doesn’t it? I remember watching my own friends suck in their empty stomachs when we were only ten and refuse to leave the house without eyeliner on by the seventh grade, trying to be someone they thought other people would value instead of decry. I remember the “necessity” of being branded, and the unnecessary humility that came along with being unable to afford the school uniform: a North Face jacket, Uggs, and a Vera Bradley bag. (Absolutely hideous — and yet so expensive.)
We used our eyes to judge quirks instead of our minds to value them, encouraging people to be different, but only within a minuscule range. And still, I’ve seen girls get humiliated just for being human: sweat stains, unshaven skin, bushy eyebrows? Put behind social bars. Please, tell me why I grew up educated in one of the top counties in the nation, with endless access to knowledge — yet I spent half of my secondary education scared about not knowing what the other girls were talking about behind my back.
Flash forward to college — we’re young women: seemingly independent, sometimes poised, and constantly in a state of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Nevertheless, we’ve all sworn to leave the shameful social scene of high school behind for better, more prideful days. Yes, the “cool girl” is now redefined to be a range of possibilities instead of a single definition, and it’s amazing how aware we all are of our strength. Accept of course, when an interview approaches, and girls instinctively think they’re only there to fill a gender-quota. Or a really cute person passes by, and girls work humiliatingly too hard for their attention.
Every time we allow our actions to give into these norms, our collective confidence disintegrates, and we reinforce the stereotype of weakness. Please, tell me why I attend a top-notch college institution, and yet half the girls on campus glorify these archaic, pop-culture struggles just to end up feeling bad about themselves the next day.
I’ll tell you some of the reasons why: We’re taught math, science, and everything objective in this world, but we’re not taught to love ourselves and each other. We’re shown how to write rhetorical prose for our critical audiences, but not how to preach to our critical selves. We’re told that if we’re successful, it’s because of external factors, and not because of hard work and skill. And we’re bred to admire the singular type of girl depicted in media - to love the Snapchat filters that soften our skin and lighten our eye color - but not to create our own positive body image from the inside out.
It’s the 21st century, and it’s an absolute waste for girls to spend their time growing up in toxic environments rather than supportive ones — our self-worth should never be in relation to anybody else. So think about the last time someone told you, “I want you to be happy.” If you’re lucky, it’ll have been recent. Maybe by a significant other, friend, or family member. If you can’t remember, well, I’m telling it to you right now. Seriously, I’m in your corner, girls. But at the end of the day, the most important person who should be telling that to you, is you.