“I Hate Being a Girl”

The number of times I’ve instinctively muttered those words from my mouth is devastating. It started when I was younger because I wasn’t as strong as the boys, and I was taught by all the kids at school that strength is power, and so the tiny little girl I was felt powerless. Then, when I was finally old enough to learn about the birds and the bees, I hated being a girl because my fellow fourth graders spoke of periods like they were some sort of disease and pregnancy like it was painful and horrid rather than beautiful. When the girls started wearing make-up and doing their hair and going on diets, I said I hated being a girl because I didn’t feel like I was as pretty as them, yet I kept trying to look like the models in the magazines because that’s what “girls are supposed to do.” And even as I got older I hated being a girl because of the pressure and emphasis society puts on sex, yet the scandal society brands a girl with for getting pregnant before marriage, like it’s somehow entirely her fault. I’ve said “I hate being a girl” because I hate having to worry about being skinny, about being pretty, and about being what the “boys like.”
This shatters me. Girls and women are powerful, strong, and beautiful. It is in no way fair at all that men are still seen as superior to women. We are fundamentally the same. Today, I am a college student living in a vibrant area of the city. Despite hating early mornings, I get up early to go to the gym because the only other time I can go is after class, and it gets dark by then. I realized the other day that I instinctively change my daily routine to avoid walking outside in the dark. And do you know why that is? Because I am a girl. And society has told us to stay inside when it’s dark and carry pepper-spray at all times, instead of telling our precious little boys not to rape.
Instead of hating being a girl like I’ve spent so many years of my life doing, this makes me hate society. I love being a girl and I hate how society has labeled girls. It’s time for that to change, and it’s time to change our girl’s “I hate being a girl” into “I hate society, and I’m going to change it.”

Accepting Introversion

Growing up in a society where the word “quiet” has a negative connotation is hard. In fact, it’s hard for at least one third of the population. One third. Likely more! Yet nobody does anything to change the way this is because, well, it’s been like that for a long time. In school, you’re taught to work in groups. They force everyone to sit in tables facing each other, to work together, even for creative endeavors that really should be individual. When I was younger, I was painstakingly shy. People would tell me that I was “too quiet” like it was a bad thing, and as I got older, teachers acted as though I must had some sort of psychological issue because I didn’t raise my hand to answer every question like the favorite class know-it-all. I overcame my shyness with age. I do not consider myself a shy person at all anymore. Yet still, I would prefer to keep quiet and only share what I see as applicable to the situation. I am still, and will always be, an introvert.
Shyness and introversion are very different. Shyness is a fear of talking to and interacting with people, whereas introversion isn’t so much a fear but more of a lack of the need to always interact with people. In class discussions, I would much prefer to watch. And this doesn’t mean I’m not participating, in fact, I’m participating just as much by observing and coming up with my own thoughts and opinions. Friday nights, I would much prefer to have a nice night out with a couple of close friends, rather than a crazy party with thousands of people I barely know. Introverts value close friends, time for reflection, and quiet environments. This doesn’t mean that introverts never go out, in fact, I usually go out once a week. We just prefer not to. But I know, personally, as long as I’m feeling like it, I will go out and do things.
It’s taken a lot of time for me to accept my introversion. For years, I kept trying to be the extravert that I could not be. I deemed myself as lesser because I wasn’t as talkative or couldn’t handle as many social activities as my extraverted peers. It’s time that people stop valuing extraversion more than introversion. Both types of people bring wonderful things to the table, and growing up as an introvert is becoming increasingly hard, especially in schools. Both types deserve to be respected. Quiet should not have a negative connotation to it. People can only control who they are to some extent, and there is no point on deeming characteristics like quiet to be negative when people cannot control that part of who they are.
It’s time society recognized that the talents of extroverts and introverts are equal.