What Does Being a Girl Mean To You?
It means you have a challenge to genuinely be your own person.
From a very early age girls are being encouraged to conform in certain ways. They are being moulded by a society that wants them to be pink and glittery. Look at the clothes and shoes that society wants to dress its girls in. Magazines for very little girls that come with a free lipgloss or twinkly eye shadow. Magazines and television programmes for my age full of wraith like models encouraging girls to focus on celebrities, giving advice on how to flirt and impress boys, how to diet, which clothes to buy. It seems girls are to be judged on appearance not ability.
So how can you be yourself with such pressures and expectations?
It’s not easy.
We all saw it on the news, a shockingly low number of girls are choosing to take the opportunity to learn about the universe and all that’s in it. A level physics it seems, is not for girls. I think people my age worry so much about what is seen as acceptable and the stereotype tells us physics is difficult and a male subject, often reinforced it seems by there being predominantly male physics teachers. Why should it be odd for a girl to like studying atoms or space? Maybe if we take the subject we will challenge the boys and make them feel less important?! I can do that! Is it unfeminine and uncool for girls to study physics? Schools talk about equal opps, well it needs looking at, because sometimes it is very subtle things that affect you. I’m a girl, I love physics, I am going to do what I want, but it’s not easy.
So physics is not for girls, what else?
The Olympics this year was brilliant at raising the profile of sporty women. Jess Ennis, Ellie Simmonds, all the GB women rowers. Before the games the spotlight was always on male dominated sports such as football, rugby and cricket. Sadly I imagine it will go back to being like that again. Sport it seems is a man’s world, and there isn’t as much encouragement for girls. I think the pressure is on to be attractive not active, thin not toned. Girls may worry about being too muscly, or maybe they worry about how their bodies look in sports gear.
Well guess what? I love sport too!
I am a keen rower, I have to run, works on ergos and blast out repetitions of weights. I’m going against the grain again, but I am determined to be my own person.
So what Does Being a Girl Mean To You?
Well I want it all! But to have it all is not easy. There are pressures both obvious and subtle at work to make us conform to stereotypes, and I have given just two examples. To genuinely be yourself, do what you want and have it all is a very big challenge, but I think I’m up for it.
Flo aged 15