Prescript: This post was inspired by my friend LB’s facebook update about being a feminist and still hearting dressing her daughter up in girly clothes. Made me think about my own relationship with grrliness, especially as it’s developed in recent weeks.
It was bound to happen. Only girl born between two fairly macho brothers. More into sports than dating up until a ridiculously abnormal age (yeh, like last week, haha). Yup, it was pretty much a given that as soon as I grew out of playing with dolls, I would develop a strong dislike for most all things girly.
Especially the colour pink. Pink was for girly girls. I was no girly girl. I wore hockey, not figure skates. Could hold my own in most any sport. And due to an early growth spurt that came to a jarring halt at about the age of twelve, as a kid did not exactly posses a stature that anyone would have associated with being cute or girly. (Will save the positive and negative impacts that had on my self-image for another post!)
As I grew up, this on again, off again dislike of all things girly continued. Make-up interested me for a brief period in middle school. All the other girls on my soccer team were wearing it and I tried to do the same to fit in. It didn’t last. Not that I fault her, but having a completely different complexion from my Mom didn’t help. I’m cinnamon. She’s more of a vanilla. Experimenting with her make-up pretty much made me look like a showgirl. Having talked to other mixed girls, I know this is a common experience. But unlike them (who persevered in finding colours that looked good with their skin tone), I gave up. Still unsure of the whole girliness thing, I just wasn’t interested enough to begin with to follow through.
Then came high school. And ideals. Animals were friends, not food. Human rights. Feminism. Rage against societally prescribed roles! With a few exceptions, I was strictly a Birkenstocks, hiking shoes and chucks kindof a gal.
University was a bit different. Thanks to a really awesome women’s studies professor, I managed to wrap my mind around the idea that socially prescribed roles / clothing / colour preferences only had power over you if you unconsciously accepted them as given. Questionning, choosing, reclaiming. These were all tools we could use to break down norms in addition to / instead of merely rejecting them.
And so, over the last decade or so, I have slowly let girliness back into my life. Except now it’s grrliness. : ) And, in general, its presence remains fairly subdued. Pink long sleeved shirt under a black t-shirt. Flowery pattern on a skirt in neutral colours.
And then, last week, as I started shopping for bed linens for my new mattress, something shifted. Suddenly, out of the blue (or should I say pink?) I found myself drawn to the grrliest, daintiest, pinkest, bedding I could find.
The feminist in me would love to be able to attribute this to some sort of third wave feminism “reclaiming grrliness” phenomenon. But I just don’t think that’s it.
I think for the first time in life I am buying bed linens without having to worry about what anyone (brothers I want to be one of the boys with, society, a partner) thinks. And, apparently, this is what this 31 year old woman who is still getting used to the idea of wearing makeup likes:
Isn’t it pretty? It’s reversible. And I *think* I like the pink side the most!
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