Girl appeals to boy. Girl never oversteps boy’s control. Boy says “suck my d*ck Adelle” and teacher says it’s “because he likes you, girl”. Girl acts dumb. Girl wears pink. Girl gets saved. Girl saves herself… for marriage. Perfect Girl never gains weight or acts upset and listens to her father. Girl is “crazy”. Girl can’t speak her mind. And most importantly, girl is no girl at all unless she wants to have sex with boy.
This was the narrative that I could never quite fit into. I tried throughout high school to fit into my role so perfectly that I would not stand out, and as blunt as the previous rules seem to be they became easy to follow. I fit my gender in expression in so many ways. I think it’s fun to wear a dress and have long hair that I can braid and I connect with my mother and sister very well. When I’m a summer camp counsellor, I love being a mentor to girls and spending time with the women around me. But in the end, I have always felt like I cannot be girl enough because I will never be attached to a man. Being married to a man and having children is such a deep desire for so many of my peers and I just cannot fit into that role. To me, that is not sad or upsetting or lonely or unfulfilled, but it does not sit well with the gender I have been assigned. As a woman, I know that people see me as nothing without a man by my side to “support” me and although I praise the women who choose that path, it will not be for me. So, although I feel that I present quite femininely I will never perfectly fit my gender.
In my university life, things are different than in high school. Being smart or talented or a deep thinker is praised, in both men and women and I never feel like I should quiet down to let men speak. Women in a bigger centre, compared to a small town, are praised for their accomplishments on the same level that men are. As I move on into my life I am excited to explore my gender and what it means to me. Will girl always have to be quieter in the work place? Will girl always keep her hair long? I’m not sure, but as we move to new places of acceptance and understanding in North America I envision a future where expression continues to have less and less to do with gender and more about how you express yourself as a personality.