“You were created to be strong and powerful and formidable. Not in spite of your sex, but because of it.”
She beamed when her eyes met mine, and immediately thrust her fingers in my face,
“Look at my nails!” she squealed. Each nail was loaded to the hilt with pink polish, giant sequins, and fabric bows.
In short, she was the fluffiest, pinkest, cotton candy cloud of a girl I ever laid eyes on.
And I found her captivating.
But not too far back, my opinion would have been quite the opposite.
You see, I used to abhor fluffy pink cotton candy girls.
Because femininity equaled weakness in my eyes.
The feminine lie
I had witnessed it firsthand. There was the nine-year-old girl in my class who developed early and was ridiculed mercilessly. I remember profusely thanking God He had spared me from such horror.
And then the cute boy who chose a miniature version of Pamela Anderson over me in the sixth grade. She wasn’t nearly as smart as me, but that didn’t seem to matter.
And then there were the numerous times I laid my heart bare, when I let my insides out into the big scary world. Instead of warm acceptance, I was teased and called ‘Crybaby’ throughout my impressionable elementary years.
Femininity meant being judged for your cup size rather than your brain. Femininity meant batting your eyelashes and playing coy to get what you wanted. Femininity meant being tender and soft in a world that idolizes the tough and resilient.
It meant having my vulnerability thrown back in my face.
So I fashioned myself with an outer shell of cold steel, and stuffed my emotions down deep where no one would ever find them. At age 12 that outer shell was outfitted in red flannel button downs over baggy white t-shirts. In high school I avoided boys and buried myself in thick textbooks, straight A’s, and gnarly sweatpants. By university, I turned pro, sniffing in disgust at the girls who strutted into my university classes wearing heels.
I played sports, cried alone, and never wore pink.