Femininity: brains and beauty

Femininity: brains and beauty

Sam Rush

I am grateful for the fact that feminism has gained a lot of traction in the past 10 years. Issues like the wage gap and pink tax garner a lot of attention, but there are small injustices that women endure every day that get overlooked or swept under the rug in the shadow of these more shocking issues. It’s unfortunate that they don’t get as much coverage within the feminist movement.

The fact that society looks down on feminine traits is a massive issue. A lot of girls go through a phase when they are young, where they begin rejecting traditionally girly things. This is something I noticed in my peers, as well as went through myself. It wasn’t until I thought more about why so many girls fall into this pattern of thinking that it all actually clicked for me.

It all really boils down to wanting to be taken seriously. From a young age, we watch television shows and movies that depict the stereotypical “girly girls” who wear all pink and are high maintenance drama queens. When girls grow up being fed an image over and over again of a person who is always stupid and the butt of the jokes, it’s no wonder that they would go to great lengths to break away from being associated with this stereotype. Personally, I never wanted to be “that girl.”

As a kid, I never wanted to wear pink, or makeup or a skirt. I didn’t want to do anything that I assumed would make my male peers think I couldn’t keep up with them. I thought that if I did those fun, girly things that I sort of wanted to do, I would be looked down on or seen as stupid. I thought that I wouldn’t have been able to hangout with the people that I did.

Society arbitrarily looks down on femininity. Obviously this is a bad habit in itself, but I think that this phenomenon has a lot of negative consequences that come with it as well. It leads to women not wanting to be around or associated with other women—it alienates them from their own gender. I think this also leads to a lot of resentment toward other women and feeds into the idea that girls are supposed to be competing with each other for male attention.

One of the biggest lessons that I learned as a young person is that you can’t put other people down to get ahead. Although this applies for all people, I think it especially applies to girls interacting with other girls. I completely understand why and how so many women find themselves in that pattern of thinking. It makes perfect sense to want to separate yourself from the negative associations that come with your gender when you live in a world and society that tells you being the things that make you yourself are wrong. But, it’s crucial to realize what is happening below the surface.

The summer before my junior year in high school, I attended an all-girls government camp at Michigan State University, called Girl’s State. It was eye-opening to be around all those girls who were so passionate and smart. During that week, I learned so much about the judicial system and how laws are passed, but the one thing that has stuck with me since then is the importance of being a girl’s girl. I learned how to be the person who lifts up other girls, even when everyone else is putting them down.

This idea goes beyond just women supporting other women; this extends to anyone who identifies as feminine. There is nothing wrong with loving fashion and makeup. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being shamelessly feminine. Brains or beauty? I’ll take both, thanks.