Female: Part Two.

Coming to you live, from her Clueless clad dorm room, it’s Jordan. And believe it or not, I just finished a book. I can practically hear my high school friends gasping from across the country.

My track record with reading is subpar. It took me half a year to read Mindy Kahling’s 300-paged memoir, 3 extra weeks to finish To Kill A Mockingbird for school. It’s not that I’m not literate, it’s just that I wasn’t prioritizing literacy. This semester, I wanted a solution to both my writer’s block and technology-induced insomnia. 

The book I read is called Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. It’s written by Anne Helen Peterson, a culture writer at Buzzfeed. I initially ordered it because, hello, Buzzfeed, but what I came to find was that it was really relatable to how I’ve been feeling lately. The book dissects the labels of prominent female celebrities. Among the chapters, you’ll find Kim Kardashian, Nikki Minaj, Hillary Clinton. It questions why women are often labeled as too much of something when they don’t fit the proper mold of a woman in the public eye. 

I think I’m graciously independent as a person. I love reassurance, but decisions are ultimately my own and I act for myself first, keeping the people I love as a close second. I jokingly always tell my friends to “be bold,” because “boys like bold girls.” But, what I’ve come to find is that girls like strong girls and society likes polite ones. One of my newfound, and most hated, fears is being penalized for something that’s a part of who I am. She’s too forward because she texts first, too provocative because her boots graze the upper thigh, too bossy because she makes her ideas known. I’d like to say fear of reputation damage doesn’t hold me back, but it does. 

In reflecting on the book, I think that my personal hesitation to leap with open arms comes from the worry of not being respected as a woman, a student, a creative. Sometimes it’s easier to stay silent than ask questions and show vulnerability. And I know I’m feeding the fire, but it’s scary to be a social innovator and it’s a role I’m not sure I’m prepared to take on… yet.

In Lena Dunham’s chapter, Too Naked, it’s said:

“Dunham’s nudity isn’t “brave,” because… for it to be brave she would have to be afraid.”

And I feel like, in a non-nudity related way, that describes how I want to grow as a female. I don’t want to have to feel courageous when I raise my hand in class or when I reply to a Snapchat “too soon.” And to get there, I have to practice not being afraid. Shutting down the second-guessing and layers of analysis. More of an want, act, reflect, repeat model. 

I used to tell myself to do one thing every day that scares me. Whether it’s writing this blog post (about a topic I’ve been scared to talk about because what do I know) or trying a new food for the first time, it was a step towards less unknown. My goal is to bring that back. And to encourage my friends to do the same. One less fear, one more reason to girl boss.

So yeah, I am too opinionated, too power hungry, too obsessive. But that’s also me being vocal, ambitious, and inspired. Three traits a young woman exploring the world should have. We should stop letting our “too”s be paired with negatives and let the females fill the narrative. Because “too unruly” is really just code for not taking this shit anymore. 

And that’s basically where I’m at.

Stuck in my head: Something To Tell You // HAIM
Snap it: my bed!!

Find Anne’s other works here. And join Girls’ Night In Club for more feminist book suggestions like Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud.

My next read is Lily Collin’s memoir, Unfiltered, on her eating disorder and other things young women struggle with. Look at me so knowledge hungry and feminist, right?

If you missed earlier installations of Female, here is the Introduction and Part One

Like A Girl.

I’m a huge fan of classic movies. And by classic I mean Clueless and Mean Girls, not whatever black and white shot-on-film thing you were thinking. But here’s my one problem: all these girl power features promote girl on girl hate as part of a friendship. And let me just tell you, girl on girl hate has no place in my friendships at all. Zip. Zap. Zero. 

In honor of International Womens Day, I want to vent about my top pet peeve. As my friendships have grown and matured through the years I’ve learned that unnecessary confrontation and sass only inhibit your ability to truly benefit from a relationship. I think that little flame that makes a teenage girl feel incomplete without drama goes out in *most* people pretty early in high school. And while it seems the days of middle school cat fights have been traded for constructive conversation, in all honesty, the hate is still around and it’s perpetuated by the fact that so many people choose dismiss it.

I want to focus in on one aspect in particular, which is when this happens between close friends. We’re all guilty of snapping sometimes, but when someone who claims to love you unconditionally drags you down through verbal violence it’s really unfortunate. And personally, I tend to move those people to the end of my go-to list. We don’t have to get along perfectly, but being “attacking” and saying things WITH THE INTENT TO HURT stand to say that there are things more valuable than my friendship. Honesty is crucial, but so are delicacy and restraint. There’s a way to say the hard things without making them feel like daggers through the BFF heart.

None the less, I’ve been so fortunate to learn from so many strong women who have shaped me into who I am. And from each of them I have seen traits that I’m even more proud to see in myself today. I know dedication and confidence from my Mom, & kindness and empathy from my aunts. One grandma has shown me how to enjoy the finer things in life while never forgetting what’s truly important and the other one an appreciation for simplicityMy sister has taught me so much about compassion, staying young, and what it really means to be a role model. Friends have built my overall awareness and my ability to laugh at myself in the face of failure (or in the face of being made fun of for my weird “phases”). Camp counselors created acceptance, both for myself and for others, while years with poms taught me leadership and courage. AOII is overflowing with such giving and welcoming women, & I’ve seen a female-fueled marketing department make the impossible happen without even chipping a nail. 

I have so many incredible influences to celebrate this Womens Day and I’m happy to say I’ll be eating a cookie …or two… in your honor. Hug your mom, stop hating on your friends, watch a girl power movie.

I’ve never been more ready to live my life like a girl. 

Stuck in my head: Green Light // Lorde
Snap it: SOHO, NYC