When I was dating, I wanted to be like Meredith Grey. She was so glamorous in my eyes because she was smart, and strong, and had been through ‘things,’ and was an accomplished doctor and independent woman. She didn’t really need a man, but it was romantic because Derek would always be there for her even when she pretended she didn’t want him to be. To me, it looked like the way to have someone fall in love with you was to be distant and to suppress your emotions.
Why was this glamorous to me? Why did I idolize a woman who looking back now is just a woman who victimizes herself? Because I was conditioned through my youth that suppressing your feelings as a girl is what you have to do in order to NOT be ‘that girl.’
You know, the girl that is talked about because she actually shows her emotions? Or the girl who likes to get her nails done, or likes to go shopping and spend all their money, and dress up for a date, or actually put on makeup. The one who isn’t relaxed and is maybe a little high maintenance, or really misses their boyfriend because he went on a trip and is now texting him on girls’ night instead of paying attention to the gossip.
Why are girls looked down upon for those things? Why can’t we dress up for school and date night and not have to have excuses like – “Oh I wanted to dress up today, I don’t always do this.” Why can’t you always do that? Why can’t you miss your spouse or boyfriend when he is away without having someone look at you like you’re an attached freak? It is sad that people have made girls feel bad for actually wanting to feel like oh, I don’t know… A GIRL!
Because Meredith wasn’t big into crying, I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want people to think I was a sissy, or couldn’t put on my big girl pants. (What is so glorifying about the phrase, ‘I’m not a big crier.’ It shouldn’t be considered an admirable quality.) So when I was dating people throughout high school or college, I would tell them that. I wanted them to know that I was strong, and that I was capable of handling tough situations.
What a horrible joke. I held back what would really be on my mind because I didn’t want to look foolish. I didn’t want the guy I liked to think that I was too much to handle; too high maintenance. I wanted him to know that I was someone that wouldn’t take offense to sarcastic jokes, or that it was okay for him to put me in the middle of his jokes, because if I didn’t then I felt like I would look too sensitive.
I didn’t want him to ever know that I went shopping, or be with me when I shopped because I felt like he would poke fun at how many items I brought to the dressing room to try on, or that I actually wanted to buy the $130 boots that I had been eyeing that whole month. It was embarrassing, and I didn’t realize how ridiculous those feelings were until years later.
Are there girls who genuinely don’t care for getting manicures at a salon, or watching chick flicks on the weekends? Yes, but if the reason they are backing out of these things is because they have felt the need to suppress these interests, then how sad we have created a culture where someone’s interests are the root of jokes and stereotypes.
Writing this article has even given me the fear that people will think I’m ‘that girl who is feminist,’ or ‘that girl that is always activating women’s rights.’
I am ‘that girl that is tired of people being afraid to show their interests or shying away from liking something because they will be referred to as that girl.’
I believe in allowing women to feel loved and uplifted because they have passions or likes that make them happy throughout their life/day. I believe in giving into crying because it will help ease the burden of the stresses I am feeling, or the hardships I face with school or work. I believe that if I want to go and get my hair done and pay $150 because that is what a GOOD hairstylist will charge that I shouldn’t have to feel bad about it because ‘I spent too much money on something unimportant.’
Am I going to spend $1000 on shoes? No. I can’t even afford the $50 ones that I am stalking on Steve Madden and am not about to put myself in a financial crisis. But if I splurged on a shopping day in the future (once my husband and I have degrees and actual jobs), how grateful I am for a husband that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot for being able to be a girl.