Today I was reminded of the 90s by a buzzfeed quiz on “how well do you remember the lyrics to sk8r boi?” (to people who are too literal, the 90′s, aka my childhood, lasts until 2009.)
Not that the particular song was necessarily problematic, but it made me a little uncomfortable when I heard it again.
I realized that exactly the “sk8r boi” song type of culture or mentality for 90s teens/kids was pretty much the epitome of the “I’m not like other girls” idea that was so detrimental. I used to be that. I feel like “I’m not like other girls” was in particular used by girls who considered themselves smart, because masculinity being the epitome of everything means that pink things and makeup and dresses and feminine things are “weak” or “stupid”. I feel like this led to a lot of girls suppressing their femininity because they didn’t want to look “weak” or “stupid”, and felt always they had to prove that they were strong or smart.
Although I will admit that, unfortunately, I might have been one to say such things as “I’m not like other girls” or “girls cause so much drama”, in practice my closest friends were always girls, and I didn’t develop close friendships with guys until late middle school and high school. I hope against hope that children these days will not have gender stereotypes shoved down their throat by society. It would be incredibly hard to deal with as a parent. I imagine a lot of times it feels like there’s nothing you can do—I know my own dad used to say “sweetie, you can still wear dresses and kick butt.”—but to no avail, because I was “not a girly girl”.
Today, in 2015, I’m happy to say I wear dresses and kick butt. I don’t personally like wearing makeup often, or pink, but you know, I applaud women who do (that’s such a SKILL bruh) and I am amazed by that girl who pulls off all shades of pink so well and so coordinated (also a skill~)
Feminity is a beautiful thing, and it is strong and it is smart. I was worried a lot coming to MIT about gender and STEM (for obvious reasons) but actually, the people I ask for help all the time are often girls. At our admitted student meeting in Colorado, the only current freshman who showed up were all girls.
Girls are pretty cool.
(*I could add many disclaimers about what this post is not intended to be about and stuff, but I hope y’all get it)