Like many women, I have two sides; a feminine one and a not so feminine one. I love both manicures and motorcycles, romance novels and action films. Over the years these two sides have found a balance and merged neatly, but that was not always the case.
Growing up I was a tomboy and took great pride in the fact. Being accepted into the “male den” made me feel empowered, as if I was being seen as their equal. This in turn lead to me looking down on girls who did not possess these tom boy traits, who were not “cool” enough to hang with the guys. Somehow I felt being the girl that ran with the boys, made me the better girl.
Then I hit my mid twenties gradually started to become interested in more feminine things. I found a love for fashion and appreciated the power of a push up bra and how well a pencil skirt could fit. With enough practice I mastered a makeup look that worked for me and learned how to not just walk, but strut in a pair of heels.
But what did that mean? Was I becoming one of “those” girls that I had grown up shunning? Did this mean I was no longer cool enough for my male friends, after being one of them for so many years?
I had so many questions. What type of woman was I becoming but more importantly, what type of woman should I be? Should I embrace femininity or shun it? Which was the “better” woman?
From a young age, society bombards girls with images and ideas of what a woman should be; feminine and lady-like. Yet, the same society will then turn around and say that being feminine means weak and inferior. In order to be strong women, women who are taken seriously when surrounded by male friends and colleagues, then we should portray more masculine attributes.
No wonder I was perplexed as to what sort of woman I should be.
What we as women need to understand, what we need to pass on to our friends, sisters, and the younger generation of daughters and nieces, is that there is no wrong way to be a girl.
Some women are girly girls from the start. Loving pink over blue and tea parties to forts. Other girls prefer playing superheroes to playing house and would rather have action toys than Barbie dolls. Then, there are the girls that fall in between loving a little of this and a little of that.
No matter what type of girl you were and what woman you grew up to be, it does not matter because there is no wrong way to be a girl. We can not listen to a society that tells us this type of woman is a better one than another type of woman. We can not listen to our family and friends that criticize a woman because she is too feminine or not feminine enough.
That, it is okay to be girly – to want a traditional marriage with children and at the same time it is okay to not want those things and to be content with never getting married or never having children. Neither woman is superior to the other and as women we need to stop judging other women and dictating what qualities and attributes constitute to the makeup of the “right” woman.
Because there is no right woman and there is no wrong woman. There is just woman.