I'm Tired of Hearing "I Hate Being A Girl"

 

I’m clad in pink from the moment I am born; pink shoes, pink bow, pink dress. I am a girl and the world must see it.

 

I’m five years old and the boys are allowed to roughhouse because “boys will be boys.” The moment I join, everyone looks shocked and I’m told to get out because it’s dangerous, and I can’t act like that. “Go back to dolls and pink dresses.”

 

I’m nine years old and it is time for my first introduction to sex-ed. The boys and girls are put in separate classrooms. When the boys come back into the room, they all laugh and joke because we “have it harder than them.” Periods and pregnancy? “No thanks,” they say.

 

I’m twelve years old and I overhear the boys talking about how they get up only ten minutes before they have to leave for school. They make fun of my best friend for getting up at 5:30 AM because she “has to do make-up.” She hates her face and spends hours covering up her acne. “I hate being a girl,” she says.

 

We’re fourteen years old and we’re complaining about cramps. My friend’s boyfriend says: “Wow, must suck to be a girl.”

 

I’m sixteen years old and I hear a girl in the bathroom taking a pregnancy test. It comes back negative. She’s relieved. “I hate being a girl,” she says, “Having to worry about this all the time.”

 

I’m nineteen years old and every time I want to go on a walk on my own, I have to hold my keys between my fingers and be wary of every single male that so much as glances at me because I live in a big city, and apparently it’s my responsibility to protect myself from being raped, instead of just teaching our boys not to rape. And there’s no way I’m going out there in the city alone at night. “I hate being a girl,” I find myself muttering.

 

When are we going to stop telling our girls, and our boys, that being a girl sucks? When are we going to stop acting like periods are so “hush-hush?” When are we going to stop teaching our boys that they are better and our girls that we are weaker? When I was younger I was taught by all the kids at school that strength means being big and strong, so the tiny little girl I was felt powerless. That’s not true at all. Strength isn’t about size or gender, it’s about resilience. And I’ll be damned if there is a single girl in this world who isn’t resilient.