The Art of Being a Girl

1.     You must be soft, but not too soft, because nobody likes a fatty. You can’t be hard, but you better be hitting the gym, don’t get too jacked though, because girls with muscles are weird. And abs on girls are weird, but also, you better have a flat stomach (who cares that your uterus, an actual life-giving organ, is leaning on the wall of your abdomen!) You better be down to down an order of chicken wings or eat a juicy burger because nobody likes a girl whose always dieting. But keep that tiny waist, like I said, nobody likes a fatty. But remember, real women have curves!

2.     While we’re on the topic of appearance, by the time you’re 10, you should be able to do a full face of makeup, but you can’t be too into makeup, because then you’re vain and full of yourself, and don’t watch those YouTube tutorials, because its just a waste of time, you should be learning other skills such as cooking and cleaning. You can’t go to school without makeup and don’t you dare go in sweatpants (unless you’re working that tiny tank top and showing off your toned-but-not-too-sculpted midsection). Remember, the world is a fashion show, unless you’re a boy, then you can wear gray sweatpants and the same shade gray sweatshirt. Ladies, are you sick? Why are you wearing sweatpants? That’s not cute.

3.     Remember, you should be able to cook, but don’t cook so much that your boyfriend expects you to wait on him hand and foot. Try to enforce the I cooked, you clean rule, even though your boyfriend acts like washing and drying the dishes is too much work for one person. Never mind that I made a salad while the chicken was in the oven and perfectly timed the potato mashing to coincide with the chicken coming out of the oven. And I made sure to make those green beans, you know, the ones you like, with the garlic? And no, I didn’t overcook them, and no, I cannot help you dry the dishes. I’m tired.

4.     Tired? Who is she? You can’t be tired, because there are groceries to shop for and rooms to clean and beds to make, but you can’t forget about work! It’s 2018, who likes a golddigger? Women should be in the work force just as much as men should be, but don’t forget to have dinner on the table by 7! Maybe work part time, at a daycare or something. You really should be at home with the kids.

5.     You could work at a restaurant. You know how to cook, obviously (#2), so why not be a chef or a line cook? Well, those are men’s jobs. It would be weird if a woman was behind the line, because that’s where the men go. Women are too dainty, they wouldn’t turn the stove up high enough! They might get burned! But if you want to work at a restaurant, you can – as a server. We need the pretty faces in the dining room. Maybe you’ll find a husband in the creepy guy who leaves his number on your receipt, then tips you 10%!

6.     You should also go into a profitable job, like STEM or engineering, (See #4 about being a golddigger). But if you do show any interest in any of those things, your peers will probably call you a nerd, and even if you do keep up with fashion and makeup (like you should, see #2), women obviously can’t be both intelligent and trendy. We obviously don’t have enough brainpower to remember the latest styles as well as how to code a computer. But if you do decide to stay home and raise your children, like your grandmother wanted to, be prepared to defend your every move. Staying home is so 1950s. You’re just wasting feminism if you stay home.  

7.     Can we talk about dating? Ladies, it’s 2018! You can text a boy first if you want! Boys think its “trendy” and “kind of hot” that she shows so much interest. If you text him, its one less step for him to take, which is good because if he shows you that he cares about you, you might get so emotional and too dramatic if you break up. You know, you might say, Oh, alright, well see you around! when he says, I don’t think this is working out, after two weeks of texting? Yeah, don’t be that dramatic, it’s not you it’s me.

8.     When you do land the guy, remember the perfect girlfriend must want to hang out, because, if not, the boyfriend has to make the plans, and no man should have to put in that much effort for a girl he already has! But you can’t want to hang out too much; then you’re clingy, nobody likes clingy. Nobody likes crazy either, so you have to care if your boyfriend is talking to your ex behind your back, but you can’t care too much because then you’re just controlling. Good luck finding out where caring turns into caring too much though.

9.     Remember ladies, there’s no such thing as too little! You will always be too much. You will be too big and take up too much space or you will be too thin and too hungry. You will be too loud or too quiet. You must watch what you eat and how you talk and what you say, and even then, you will be too much. You will always be too much.

10. There is an art to being a girl. It is a tightrope you are forced on, from the second you are born a girl, the second you admit that I am a girl, and it does not get easier. You will constantly have people worrying about you – not your health and wellbeing, but your weight, your body, your birth control, your romantic partners, any children you may or may not carry. The world is watching, so don’t screw up.

11. Or do. Mess it all up. Shout to the world that you are not theirs to condemn and command to conform. Be proud to be a girl. Refuse to be too much. Be loud and unapologetic. Dress how you want. Spend hours watching makeup tutorials or Mythbusters.  Ignore the rules. Break the rules. Change your mind, then change it again. Love your body, even when society is telling you its too big or too bony or too soft or too hard. Wear a short skirt or a long skirt or say I hate skirts and wear cutoff shorts that make your thighs look big, but they’re comfortable. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re too much. Date a lot. Date a little. Don’t date at all. Date girls if you want. Date yourself. Hold others accountable. Boys will be boys, sure, but you don’t have to be held accountable for their actions, to look after them like your grandmother wants you to. Go into STEM or engineering or teaching or nursing. Start your own business, sell all natural toilet bowl cleaner if you want. Learn to cook. Make your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend learn to cook with you. Make a mess. Clean it up. Or leave it, and find beauty in the mess.

12. And ladies, for the love of god, there is no right way to be a girl. We are humans, we are not art. We are not a paint-by-number or a flower arrangement. We are not something pretty to look at and consume and hang on the wall. We have opinions and emotions and beautiful, creative, wonderful minds. Don’t let the world, or anyone in it, make you anything less that proud to be the incredible, iridescent, magnificent woman that you are.

By Rachel Pfeffer
Visuals by Abigail Pfeffer

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