I’ve been thinking recently about sexism and, whilst it is true that we have come a long way, it is still far from over. When I was just a baby (and not old enough for my gender to be noticeable), my mum would dress me up in my brother’s old clothing, which was mostly blue. That’s fine and it saves a lot of money — until one day a woman said “doesn’t he look lovely?” to her. Because blue is associated with being a boy, she automatically assumed I was a boy. From that day forward, my mum dressed me in pink, because that was the colour my gender was associated with.
I don’t know why genders have to be associated with colours at all, to be quite honest. Boys wear pink and girls wear blue. Does that mean the boy is a girl and the girl is a boy? Of course not! Because my mum so heavily dressed me in pink, I actually grew to resent the colour, and became a tomboy aged around seven. I think my mum was fine with my choice of clothing then, though, because I was easily identifiable as a girl. I’m alright with pink now; it isn’t my favourite colour but I don’t loathe it anymore.
I haven’t really talked at all about this in my blogs because it is an issue very sensitive to me and it has made me upset to even think about it, or talk about it, which was why I refused counselling for it, but when I was twelve, I was sexually assaulted. The police got involved, which was very scary for me (I was twelve!), and I thought I was in trouble. The guy who did it never got found… mainly because I was so scared at the time. He had told me it was my fault, convinced me that I was a bad person. I left my school at the time a few months after that incident. I had been getting bullied for a long time but this was the last straw, I suppose, and then I went to a much better school. It still had bullies but I had friends too and that made it easier to ignore, plus there weren’t as many as there had been at my old school.
Girls are told to never go alone in the dark. Boys aren’t. Whilst boys are still at risk, the risk is greatly reduced, just because they’re a boy. Why are girls subjected to this? Why, because I’m a girl, do I have to be assessed based on how I look? When I was at that school, a boy once said (to the girl sitting next to me) “you’re much hotter than her” (which was directed at me). Being honest, I do care about my looks, but that is only because society has told me it is an important feature. So I have a phobia of mirrors. I am so scared of how I look that I haven’t been able to properly look in a mirror for several years. An accidental glance is the most I’ve gotten.
Society has done this to me. Society created anorexia, by putting huge demands on girls to be skinny, when being healthy is the best option. I have a cousin who I care for so much and she has been going through this for so many years and it is horrible to see her suffer. She gets better sometimes but then she gets bad again and it is so terrible to see her doing this to herself. She’s an amazing person, inspirational really, but the one person that she really needs to help is herself.
Feminism is so often depicted as about women being better than men but that is so not the case. It is about equality. It is about school policies restricting girls from wearing certain clothing because it ‘would distract the boys’. Maybe, instead of restricting us, you should start teaching boys how to treat a lady and that our bodies are not entertainment. Our bodies are our bodies: not yours.
There are nice guys out there too and it is terrible that there are some men that disappoint the rest of them but girls have learned to accept this, and it shouldn’t be accepted. Lower pay, clothing restrictions, sexual objectification, poor body-image: this is what sexism causes, and I can’t believe it still exists.
I might be a girl but I am not a toy. My IQ is not lower than yours because I am a girl. My life is not less meaningful because I am a girl. My life is worse off, however, because I am a girl.
Thank you for reading this,