1. You constantly worry that your decisions aren’t made freely. Do I really love wearing makeup and heels? Or do I secretly love them because they make me more attractive to me? Do you choose a college major like nursing because you really love it? Or because you don’t want to become too intimidating? The questions never end, and there are no answers, just the knowledge that we can push ourselves and do the best we can with what our inner voice is telling us.
2. You also worry about being a good role model for younger girls. I want my younger relatives to have someone to look up to who is strong and encourages them to pursue whatever dream they want, but I also want to be real with them about the mistakes I make so they know it’s okay to make some as well. Where is the line between being a person someone can look up to and making them feel bad about themselves because they don’t think they’ll be able to?
3. The ever present stereotype that women who look a certain way are vain or shallow. Any time I write an article about makeup or fun, unserious things girls do together I get vicious comments about how stupid I and my friends must be, but I never see similar comments on men’s articles about equally unserious hobbies like sports or cars. Can’t we all just agree that sometimes it’s fun to relax and have a hobby?
4. Dealing with the idea that women are catty, or at least more catty than any other human. As a girly girl you spend most of your life around women and have a very large circle of girl friends. You know they fight sometimes, but it’s not some insidious genetic defect carried on the X chromosome. Men fight too, we just consider their fights more legitimate.
5. Having to constantly remind yourself that the internet is not real life. The internet is a rough place for women — something you become more than well aware of if you spend any amount of time reading opinion articles — your view of the world at large can get distorted when you spend a lot of time seeing the way people talk when anonymity is on the table. Most guys won’t treat you the way internet guys will, but it’s hard not to be gun shy about when you meet a new one, expecting them to drop a nasty comment to you. Best case scenario is meeting a great guy, and then wondering if in the dark recesses of his mind, he’s just like the ones online.
6. In some circles you can feel like you don’t belong or like you are being judged because you might not look like all the other “intelligent” people there.
7. The unspoken but pervasive idea that some issues don’t affect you because you’re disposition is bubbly, rather than weathered. You don’t come across as the type of person who has been through a lot, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t, it just means you prefer to look at the bright side. What good does it do to dwell?
8. Dealing with people who think you “dumb down” the issues because, if you care about how you look you must be dumb, right?
9. Meeting men who trash other women before they realize you’re not game for that. Why do men think it’s a compliment to say, “You’re not like this other type of girl?” It’s not. We want to support other women, don’t try to pit us against each other for your pathetic attention.
10. Feeling #unclear about sexual fantasies and whether they Mean Anything or whether it’s natural to roleplay different scenarios and power dynamics. See #1.
11. “The face.” The reaction face of people who thought you were “cool” until they found out you actually have opinions about stuff, and you’re not going to let their bullshit slide. It’s the most disheartening aspect of getting to know someone, because both of you are so utterly disappointed in the other. And you both know, there’s no going back.