Ambition is demanded of us because we know mediocrity is not an option. When society tells women that if we are just averagely good-looking, or averagely smart, or reasonably high-achieving, we will never be loved and safe, perfectionism is an adaptive strategy. We learn that if we want love and security, we have to be perfect, and if it doesn’t work out, well, that means we just weren’t good enough. And we know it probably won’t work out well. Girls aren’t fools. They know what is being done to them. They know what means for their futures in terms of money and power.
Girls get it. An under-reported, crucial facet of the study is the extent and cynicism of girls’ concerns about economic equality and unpaid work. A full 65% of girls aged 11-21 are worried about the cost of childcare, and while 58% say they “would like to become a leader in their chosen profession, 46% of them worry that having children will negatively affect their career.
Girls know perfectly well that structural sexism means they can’t have everything they’re being told they must have. They are striving to have it all everyway, striving to have everything and be everything like good girls are supposed to, and it hasn’t broken them yet, for good or ill. That’s is one reason young women still do so well in school and at college despite our good grades not translating to real-world success. It’s one reason we’re so good at getting those entry-level service jobs: we are not burdened by the excess of ego, the desire to be treated like a human being first, that prevents many young men from engaging proactively with an economy that just wants self-effacing drones trained to smile till it hurts.
The press just loves to act concerned about half-naked young ladies, preferably with illustrations to facilitate the concern. Somehow nothing changes. And maybe that’s the point. Maybe part of the function of the constant stream of news about young girls hurting and hating themselves isn’t to raise awareness. Maybe part of it is designed to be reassuring.
It must be comforting, if you’re invested in the status quo, to hear that young women are punished and made miserable when they misbehave.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it: for all those knuckle-clutching articles about how girls everywhere are about to pirouette into twerking, puking, self-hating whorishness, we do not actually care about young women - not, that is, about female people who happen to be young. Instead, we care about Young Women (TM), fantasy Young Women as a semiotic skip for all our cultural anxieties. We value girls as commodities without paying them the respect that both their youth and their personhood deserves. Being fifteen is fucked up enough already without having the expectations, moral neuroses and guilty lusts of an entire culture projected onto this perfect empty shell you’re somehow supposed to be. Hollow yourself out and starve yourself down until you can swallow the shame of the world.
We care about young women as symbols, not as people.
should probably get my shit together and make a streetwear line or at least start making something you can wear or carry. can i get a hell yeah?!
How should we refer to you? He or she?
A lot of my close friends say ‘she’. But a lot of people say ‘he’ too and I am not offended by that; when you are in this position, living this life inbetween genders, you can’t be too offended by anything. Either way is fine, but I prefer “she”.
I have never been really good at playing a man! I can do it very easily for photoshoots, but it’s different from acting as a man on a daily basis. I really don’t think it is that different to be one or the other, but capitalist society does draw quite a big line that divides the genders, so these differences seem more exaggerated than they naturally are. Boys are expected to be a lot less emotional, tougher and I guess, somehow rough, where girls have a bit more freedom to express themselves physically, but less freedom mentally and overall because we live in a patriarchal society.
Yes. We are born with a gender identity, as well as a sexual orientation. Most people are not aware of their gender identity because they look in the mirror and if they are female they see a female body; they aren’t even aware. They are more aware of their sexual orientation, in other words who they find attractive. But when the physical part and the mental part don’t coincide or the match is much more complicated, that is when you become aware of gender identity. A lot of scientists point out the fact that it is something we are born with. Of course, later on, we definitely learn how to behave in the way society dictates, but there is a biological factor to it as well. I think that men definitely have as much pressure to behave like men, as women have to behave like women.