When we are merely young girls, we are told that we embody sin. Our bodies are sexualized from the moment we are born and we are told to feel guilty about it. We are not only sexualized, but criticized, as well.
When I was at school, I was taught that it was a woman’s fault that Adam was thrown away from Eden because she was weak and could not resist temptation. They practically demanded us to reject our bodies, to see them not as something we should love but as something we should be ashamed of. What happens if you teach that to an eight-year-old girl? Well, she is going to believe you.
The thing is, at the same time we are condemned for ‘giving in to pleasure’, we are supposed to show our bodies as if we were mannequins on a window store just to amaze men with the beauty of our anatomy. And, in either case, what we do with our body seems like a choice somebody else is supposed to make for us.
I remember walking down the street one day in the summertime wearing a cute little dress when an old man who passed beside me told me I was being a ‘b*tch’. And the only thing I was doing was wearing a dress, in summer! Was I supposed to be wearing a long skirt and a turtleneck? Would I then have been criticized for covering too much? I assume that it doesn’t matter what we are wearing or what we decide to do with our bodies, it will always be ‘wrong’. There is a song named “Follow your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves that says: “If you save yourself for marriage you’re a bore. If you don’t save yourself for marriage you’re a whore-able person,” and she is damn right. For narrow-minded people, women will never be right about anything.
Now, as you see, we are not supposed to show our bodies. But at the same time, we are expected to show them. We should be ashamed of wanting pleasure, but should seek for it simultaneously. These are just some of the many contradictory messages that are sent to us throughout our whole lives.
And I ask: what should our response to this be? The answer is easy, though achieving it
may be a little bit harder. We must do whatever we want with ourselves. We own our bodies just as we own our minds and if anyone tries to tell us otherwise we show them how wrong they are.
To achieve this, girls must recognize their bodies as theirs. This may sound a bit senseless. But one would be surprised to know how many young women try so much to fulfill what is expected from them that they forget that, if their bodies were kingdoms (or maybe more appropriate: Queendoms), they would be the rulers, not the servants. This is the hardest part to accomplish since we are taught to please the wants of others before ours. So, how does a girl reach this?
I would say that the first step is to read, watch films, listen to music… that will teach us what nobody else does. That will help us realize we are more independent and powerful than we have been told to be. Nowadays there are many magazines, books, illustrations, songs, and films that give us the encouragement we need to start taking care of ourselves. Just because we want to and not because somebody else demands us to do so. Let’s let them know that if they don’t teach us correctly, we will just instruct ourselves!
Secondly, it is important for us to stick together. If we don’t support each other nobody will. We should find inspiration in other women and respect every girl. Of course, we should respect everybody, girl or not, so why do I say this? Sometimes us girls can be a little cruel with each other, and that doesn’t take us anywhere. So, be nice! If you find something you like about someone go ahead and tell them, it is always nice to hear some compliments. And when criticizing, you should always do it in order to improve whatever you feel that can be done in a better different way. Negative comments doesn’t help ANYONE with ANYTHING. This step also involves keeping away from toxic people who will not let us progress.
Lastly, and most importantly, is to simply follow our instincts. Do whatever our bodies and minds tell us to do. Let them guide us. Let ourselves decide. It is very easy to say this, but to achieve it we may have to fulfill the other two steps. What this implies is that we have to forget everything we know about stereotypes of how women and men should behave. Women are supposed to shave, men are not; we must wear makeup, they must not; girls have to be delicate and sweet, men do not have to; etc. There is quite a list of things we should and should not be doing, but you know what? F**k that list.
If I want to wear pretty little skirts I will, but if I want to wear shaggy jeans, I will too. They say they don’t like hairy legs? Well, that’s a pity because I do. Or maybe I love shaving because I feel more comfortable. And what if I like wearing lots of makeup just because I love it just as somebody else may love painting with watercolors? And if the only makeup I have is some old lipstick I found in my house? Whatever, whatever! There is no right or wrong, the only thing there is are choices. Everyone of us makes choices and all of them are right. It is as simple as letting ourselves decide what we really want without worrying about anything else.
These are just the steps that I think I have been following subconsciously throughout my life and that have made me the girl I am today. I know each person is different and what has worked for me may not work for somebody else. But it is definitely worth the try. So that is all, we have to take control over our bodies and do with them as we please. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise! Remember your body is yours, not theirs, not mine— yours. Treat it right and follow your intuition because it is one of the best things we have. Let our inner child tell us with her innocent eyes what is best for us and let her guide us.