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Why 'You Don't Talk or Look Like a Girl' Doesn't Define Me

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I have always been different. It wasn't until I hit my early adolescence that I realized I wasn't like everyone else, primarily the girls. I felt girly on the inside. I wanted to be pretty, do my hair and wear girly clothes. However on the outside, I wasn't built that way.

I am a big girl.

At that time in my life, it was more of a curse and something to be ashamed of. Whereas today, being big is still frowned upon, but it is becoming more and more accepted and celebrated. For me, the question always came in the form of "You DON'T _______ like a girl."

You DON'T LOOK Like a Girl

I wasn't able to wear the clothes I really liked because of my size. I was forced to shop in stores that catered to older women. As a 10 year old girl, who was already extremely insecure about her body and appearance, the last place I wanted to be was shopping in the misses section with the 40-50 year old crowd.
I tended to avoid girl stores at all costs and wore sweats and boys clothing a lot because I felt like it fit me better. I was a tomboy, which is nothing to be ashamed of, and I wasn't ashamed. Yet, I wanted to be a girly girl. I wanted to wear bright colors, skirts, dresses and heels; I wanted to have my makeup done and my hair look nice.

Over time, I evolved into a hybrid of sorts. A girly tomboy. I am that way to this day at 25 years old. I wear gym wear as causal wear (thank goodness for the athleisure trend, amirite?), sweats, T-shirts, jeans. However, I feel confident enough now to rock a skirt with heels, makeup and my hair done up.throwback now and thenLook at me here, 1995-kinda (unsure of the exact year). The most "girly" thing about me is the pink hair clip, however I was rocking the denim on denim, as was popular in the '90s. Then skip ahead 16 years or so, and here we are in 2012, in college, hanging out at a Subway with my family. These are the clothes I feel most comfortable in.

I was constantly being told that I had to wear certain clothes, to be a lady. WHY? Why does my wardrobe have to define who I am? I was a girl, and now I am a woman. I am 25 years old, and I like to wear sweatpants and basketball shorts, hoodies and sweatshirts. When the time calls for it, I get dressed up in a dress and heels or a skirt and a sparkly top. I like to be comfortable, and most of the time that means wearing a baseball cap and gym shorts. Does that make me a boy? Am I less of a woman for it? NO.

You DON'T TALK Like a Girl

I am a well educated woman, and I consider myself to be an eloquent speaker - most of the time. However, sometimes I let my city-girl attitude come out and I, well, let's just say I become less eloquent. That's who I am.
I was raised in a male-dominated, sporting environment. When a girl spends her formative years around middle-aged hockey players, she hears things. A lot of things. They rub off on her. It does not make me less of a woman because I use certain words here and there.

I've heard for most of my life that "ladies don't speak that way" or "you're a young woman, that kind of talk is not appropriate." Well let's be fair, a man speaking that way does not make him a gentleman, so what difference does it make?

As I grew up, the comments about my language morphed into "you're a college educated woman, speak like it" or "is that what an educated woman should speak like?". My answer to that is YES. If someone is only listening to a few of the words I am speaking and not the whole dialogue, then there is a whole other issue that needs to be addressed. A woman can be educated and still sometimes let her roughness come out.

These are the major points that have come up in my life. They bothered me the most, which, in turn, has motivated me to break down the stereotypes put on young women and become my own definition of what it means to be a girl in today's society.

(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)


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