There is no limit to what we as women can accomplishMichelle Obama
Growing up I hated the color pink. As the firstborn girl in my family and being one of four girls I took it upon myself to fashion myself into the perfect “heir” to the Stangl name. My child brain associated first born with having to be strong, masculine, without weakness. I was loud, headstrong and could do anything a boy could do because gosh darn it, I was not going to be a dainty thing. I didn’t even have a favorite princess growing up, instead Tinker Bell was my favorite and my top three favorite Disney movies are Peter Pan, Robin Hood and Hunchback of Notre Dame (though I admit those movies are pure fire and I do not regret that decision). I did not want to be feminine, my favorite color was green for as long as I can remember.
The color pink is used to symbolize women since before they are even born. Boys are blue, girls are pink, and both genders keep their badges throughout their lifetime. During almost all girls’ teenage angst phase, pink is the last color you want to own, wear, or be associated with. We are taught that the color is girly, thus symbolizing weakness and sensitivity according to those internally misogynistic. We never wanted to be labeled as girly because of the negative connotation associated with it. I thought that if I was girly or feminine then I would be seen as weak and therefore less than.
I don’t know a single guy who went through this phase. I don’t know a single guy who pretended to dislike video games, sports or movies aimed at him. Why was this exclusive to girls? Even in a lot of fiction with empowering female protagonists, the antagonist always has to be a super feminine mean girl. All of this mockery and distaste at femininity led us to push away our own, I’d even go as far to say that it demonized our own femininity in our eyes. We developed such hatred for the vapid, shallow, “girly” and materialistic stereotypes projected at “overly” feminine girls, that we decided to erase every semblance of similarity from our own personalities. We convinced ourselves that qualities society considered feminine and masculine couldn’t be balanced. You couldn’t be a bookworm and equally enjoy shopping. You couldn’t be athletic and into makeup. You couldn’t enjoy both chick flicks and action movies. Pink became gross, makeup and shopping were for the self-obsessed, chick flicks were cheesy and pop music was embarrassing. Of course, there was nothing wrong with disliking these things, but the reasons we had for disliking them were not okay. Every time we said or thought, “I’m not like other girls!”, we weren’t separating ourselves from other girls, we were separating ourselves from these insipid stereotypes that we came to associate with femininity.
I’ve come to realize that my strength, courage and power comes from inside of me and those traits do not disappear the moment I put on a pink shirt or paint my nails pink. So on this International Women’s Day I remind myself that femininity is a gift and presents itself differently in each and every woman in the world. There is no “type” of woman that is better than the other. If we can hold onto that lesson then every year we will only continue to break through that glass ceiling and will only become stronger.