It happened at work when one of the servers was flashing her engagement ring to me.
I asked if the wedding would be soon, and she said she had to sort some things out and then she told me, "It won't be hard because every girl has their wedding planned out from when they are a little girl." She then proceeded to tell me the colors of her wedding – champagne and silver – and the dress she had had circled in a catalog since the seventh grade.
This was all news to me: that girls are supposed to have their weddings planned out before the guy even kneels down and pops the question. To be truthful, I had never really thought about it. I never put much thought into anything like this, whether it's marriage or just what I'm wearing in an hour.
It was this occurrence that led me to the realization that I suck at being a girl.
As a little girl, my mom put my curls into braids and clothed me in pink frilly dresses, but to her disappointment she would find my hair tangled and the outfits covered in splatters of mud from playing with the neighborhood boys by the end of each day. I was signed up for ballet, tap and cheerleading, all of which led to my flat-out refusal to participate, at times even throwing myself on the floor to avoid going.
My mom finally accepted that I was a tomboy, and I'm accepting it too. I suppose I'm considered abnormal for lacking the desire to have kids. People say it will change when I get older, but I just don't think I'm cut out for it. I don't romanticize about my wedding. The most thought I've ever put into it would be if my husband would be offended if I didn't wear the ring because quite honestly I hate the feeling of wearing them.
The thing is, I'm over making excuses about the way I am. I know I'm not the only who feels this way. The gender stereotypes that we have created for ourselves are a scam.
From early on we are told that you are either this way or that; there's no in-between.
According to Joe Ehrmann, former NFL player, coach and director of Coach for America, "there are three words that have become the most culturally destructive mandates in this culture."
Be. A. Man.
Boys are fed this lie of what it means to be a man. They're told that they cannot express emotion through crying because that would show weakness. They are told phrases such as "don't be a girl," "bros before hoes," "don't let a women run your life," "be a jerk but not too much of a jerk because no one respects a 'nice guy.'"
Girls are told to be eloquent, courteous and kind. We are told to be princesses waiting for the almighty man to rescue, marry and reproduce with us. We must idolize the women on the cover of magazines. When we eat more than usual we feel the need to make excuses for ourselves by saying, "I'll start my diet tomorrow." When we eat healthy we are accused of starving ourselves. There's no winning.
The molds that society has made for us are too exclusive for anyone to fit in perfectly. When boys are told to not express emotions, they are led to express their feelings through anger and violence. When girls are given these unobtainable images of beauty, they are left with self-hatred for their bodies.
We cannot continue feeding into these gender roles that we've created for ourselves. I may suck at being a girl, but I am OK with it. When we realize that gender stereotypes are a scam we will all be better off.
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.