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Too Girly? The Double Standards

I was furiously trying to cover up the horrifying spot on my chin with my magic set (i.e. my on-the-go make up bag) when my concentration was broken by a group of pre-teen girls having a very heated discussion. Mall bathrooms usually attract all ages, and usually provide very entertaining discussions. Just as I started to tune in to the conversation I realized that one girl (Girl A) was teasing the other (Girl B) about the amount of make up she was wearing, or likes to wear. Now, Girl B was close to tears, trying to no avail to defend her make-up habits, and to blame Girl A’s teasing on her non-existent make up-applying skills. No matter what she did, Girl A did not find it in her to spare her friend the misery, and continued to call her everything from a show-off to being “too girly”.

 What in god’s name is too girly?

As a girl, growing up in the diverse culture of pop-culture, I never knew the definition of “too girly”. Some people expect you to be girly and in result, get offended when you wear too much black and add skulls to your belts. Others were offended when I wore make-up, “Ew, how much product do you have on your face? Are you like some type of Barbie?

No, I am not a Barbie

In the past few years, our society has started to speak up against the feminine ideal put forward by the media, starting to realize that women should not be expected to wear pink and high heels all the time, that a woman should have the freedom to dress the way she wants, to groom her hair the way she wants, to wear whichever perfume she wants (or not to), and to not have to resort to tremendous amounts of make-up. Women have started to speak up when someone calls them masculine, or not feminine enough. Women have started to shop in men’s sections, and people don’t look at me strangely anymore when I look for the smallest size (Okay, so maybe not the smallest size) in men’s plaid shirts.

We have come so far, and I am truly proud to say that I am a 21st century female. Recently, however, I came across the grossest, most stereotypical, assumption. I like to – unoriginally – call it “The Double Standard”. Girls are free to do what they want, to wear what they want, and they should not conform to society’s expectations, however they should not be too girly, we’re not in the 50s.

 What? How is this okay?

A girl wearing “too much” make-up is a show off, or “just trying to get guys”. A girl wearing heels and a pretty dress is “over dressed”. A girl who gets a nice manicure is told that “it’s not her freaking wedding”. A girl who spends time getting dressed up is told to “get over herself.”

Nice. Real smooth, society

I love make-up, and dresses, and heels. I love buying new nail-polish, or telling my girlfriends about the new eye-liner over coffee. I actually enjoy this, I do not do it because of the “media”, I don’t do it because of the people, I do it because I want to! I feel good about myself, just like another girl feels good about herself when she is sans-make-up and in track shoes. That does not make her less of a girl, and what I choose to do should not make me some embarrassing example of the modern woman.

We have become so fixated on the idea that we are being controlled by the media, by society, by men, that we judge each other now. We teach each other that no woman actually wants to dress up, but isn’t that the same thing? The assumption that we are all the same, that we all want to be “Free” of the feminine ideal, and by doing that we condemn whoever is different to ridicule. Why should I not be able to wear what I want just because I am scared of the comments I will get? Why should you assume that the only reason I wear what I wear is because I am conforming to medias pressure? (And we all know what assuming does to you and me). Wasn’t that the whole point of the idea that women should wear what they want. To each her own?

I mean, I love sweatpants as much as I love chocolate and flip-flops are creations from heaven. But I also love dressing up, I love being “girly” – and that brings me to the use of that word. “Girly”. When did that become offensive? And how is that not offensive to the person using it? I mean, if I’m girly by wearing what I’m wearing, then that means you are considering yourself “not girly”, meaning that you are conforming to the idea that a woman is only a woman when she does dress up in pink and heels. The use of the word in that context defeats the whole purpose of what you are saying; a girl should be a girl no matter what she is wearing (or not, for that matter). Also, why is being girly bad? I am a girl, I am one, I swear. So why should I not embrace it?

Why should Girl B cry because Girl A called her too girly? Why did I spend two years not wearing heels because other girls said I was “over-dressed” or that they didn’t want to wear heels and so I would be “taking all the attention”. Why should I cringe when I hear someone call me girly, thinking they are actually offending me – instead of taking it as a compliment, as I would like to? Why should I lie, tell people I don’t wear make up, so that I wouldn’t be harassed and told that I am “fake”, that I am a conformist? To each her own. I am girly, and I love it!

Also, if you were wondering, I did not say anything to Girl A. I am actually scared of pre-teen girls. They can be malicious at times. Trust me.