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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

Being a woman in today’s society is no easy task. Disclaimer: in no way is this article dismissing the experiences of men and boyhood – it simply is to highlight the experience for each woman that is girlhood.

I distinctly remember how lucky I felt to be a girl in elementary school. I would look at the boys at recess and feel guilty they didn’t get to experience their mother braiding their hair before bed. They would never understand the feeling of creating a dance party with your cousin to persuade your mom into letting her sleep over (it somehow always worked – thanks Mom). I would always tell my mom I was so happy I was born as a girl, not a boy.

Fast forward to middle school, and my thinking was quite the opposite. I would wake up each day, put on makeup, do my hair, and get dressed – yet I would spend the whole day being self-conscious. No matter how hard I tried to look put together, it never felt enough. I would try so hard and nothing felt enough for myself. I remember wishing I could be a boy, so I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my looks. If I were a boy, I used to say, I would be able to roll out of bed and go to school with no insecurities to worry about. While that is far from the truth, I truly believed that being male would relieve me of all my problems.

When I got to high school, the real fun started. Boys looking me up and down rather than making eye contact, feeling a random hand breeze by me in the hallway, etc. Little actions added up, and soon enough it led me to hate myself rather than the people making me feel that way. I began questioning my actions and whether I deserved what was happening to me.

margot robbie in a barbie movie
Warner Bros

Am I dressing too immodestly? Am I leading boys on? Am I being too much? Am I too much? Unfortunately, I quickly learned I was not alone in these thoughts. Many of my friends felt the same way. We began to learn that to feel less harassed, we had to be less in general. I stopped doing my makeup, stopped dressing the way I wanted, and just generally stopped trying to look desirable to men. I quickly learned that this was a one-way ticket to having no social life.

So there I was – hating the fact that I had to dress up and look pretty all day, while also simultaneously doing so to please those around me. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the universal girl experience everyone has dealt with at one point or another in their lives. Women feel this constant pressure to please those whom they don’t even like, and that terrifies me. Where did this desire to please men come from? When did women go from being confident to being selfish?

Unfortunately, I have no answer to these questions. What I can do, however, is highlight the importance of being a woman. I have struggled for years to love my body and my identity as a woman, and I will probably continue to struggle for a long time. In a society that does not quite see men and women as equals yet, it will be difficult to love myself with no boundaries to my gender.

Being a woman means I can ask my best friend to watch a Barbie movie for the third time with no questions asked. Being a woman means dressing up fancy just to take photos on top of a parking garage. Being a woman means sitting in front of the mirror and telling myself how much I love myself. Being a woman means knowing and feeling love from a very young age.

We pick flowers and make daisy chains. We choreograph dances and sing Hannah Montana karaoke. We use colorful highlighters to do homework and dot our I’s with hearts. These are things ingrained in our bodies. Girlhood is knowing these things from a young age, and yet doing them into adulthood. Girlhood is the livelihood of a woman. It has no end.

Girlhood is beautiful, though the struggles that come with it feel heavy. We are born into this hateful world that feels so against the presence of feminine energy- and yet, we persevere. Women are creating a new world in which positions of power are possible and achievable. We are creating a beautiful world in which nights out with our friends can remain safe and enjoyable.

This world we are creating will be different. That’s what girlhood is about.

“Lying there Ma said, ‘You all listen now, this is a real lesson in life. Yes, we got stuck, but what’d we girls do? We made it fun, we laughed. That’s what sisters and girlfriends are all about. Sticking together even in the mud, especially in mud.”

Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing

Here are some of my favorite songs to scream when I am feeling a surge of feminine rage:

  • Labour – Paris Paloma
  • The Man – Taylor Swift
  • Man’s World – MARINA
  • All-American Bitch – Olivia Rodrigo
Hi everyone! My name is Katie, and I am a senior at Grand Canyon University. I am from a small town in Washington State. I am majoring in communications with an emphasis in media. I love playing tennis, spending time with my dog, or hanging out with my friends!