By Ginger Mayo
1. Boys being surprised that girls are attractive AND smart. “I never knew such a pretty girl could also be so smart” is a direct pickup line from a party when I was 16, by my fellow 16 year old. I don’t think I can even bother going into why EVERYTHING about that is so fundamentally wrong – but I will say that SURPRISE, it’s 2015, women are educated regardless of their physical appearance. Apparently there ISN’T a filter for stereotypically attractive girls when they’re learning at school… all that juicy information, calculus and biology classes DO work! Apparently, girls can be multi-faceted! CRAZY! Wow. Science, huh?
2. People calling girls ‘strident’ and ‘emotional’ when they express their emotion. This is an old one. And I’m not polarizing the blame on boys alone! Because OTHER GIRLS ALSO do this to trans* girls, non-binary girls, minority girls and LGBTQ girls all the time. They say “so and so is just being strident.” – which is a cheap and painful shot to shut up any competent but perhaps passionate opponent. It is feeding off stereotypical gender roles that dictate that women are emotional messes who cry and scream and lust in order to get what they want. And it works – I have LOST it a couple of times when I was otherwise coherent because some joker told me to ‘calm my emotions’, because talking about rape culture upsets me. Just don’t do it. It is crude, cruel and honestly really weak.
3. Celebrating non-inclusive body acceptance. While most people are championing 2014 as a year of great leaps in terms of body acceptance, their references to such are usually very limited and problematic. For examples: Meghan Trainor’s ‘curvy’ anthem All About That Bass is geared towards individuals like herself – who are, in fact, white, thin, and curvy. It is also tailored towards the male gaze (“Boys like a little more booty to hold at night”). And FOR THE LAST TIME, JLaw is not a beacon of body acceptance! She is like a size 4! Let’s celebrate Nicki Minaj’s wild, unabashed sexuality, which praises the power of thick girls. Let’s celebrate Mindy Kaling’s normal sized body which she refuses to let be fetishized or branded for the body acceptance movement. Lets celebrate Laverne Cox and Janet Mock’s profound love for their bodies.
Love yourselves. This is your year. FIght for all the things you wished for, and keep up the good fight against the patriarchal hogwash that evades our cries. Make 2015 a year of self acceptance, growth and support for other girls!