Real Girls

I was at Five Below yesterday and bought myself a shirt that reads “I’m So Fancy, you don’t even know” which is hilarious and perfect because the only way for me to ever be fancy would be if no one in the world knew about it because I’m so not fancy in the slightest. And for $5, whereas in other stores it would be $20, it was a steal and I love it so I’m happy.

But then I saw another shirt that read “Real Girls Play In The Mud” or maybe it was real Women play in the Dirt, or maybe it was something about trucks. Honestly I don’t remember but it doesn’t really matter if it was girls or women or mud or dirt or trucks or bikes, because there are so many freakin’ shirts like that out there and the the point is always the same — real females can hang with the guys.

real girls kick balls

I went back to find the shirt, turns out it had nothing to do with dirt, but you get the point.

First, can we please stop classifying things as “for males” or “for females”? I know boys who like dresses and makeup and girls who like dirtbiking and headbanging and neither makes either of them more or less male or female, women or men, girls or boys. It just makes them human.

Now, the important thing to notice about this shirt is that it tells girls that being “one of the boys” is cool, but being “one of the girls” is not. Real women are one of the boys. They like mud and dirt and trucks and bikes and balls — not makeup and ponies and dresses and dolls. And this is so, so wrong.

I Googled images of “real girls play” before I went back to Five Below to find the shirt, and I was appalled with what I found. Photos of shirts and stickers and all sorts of shit that said stuff like “Some Girls Play With Dolls, Real Girls Go Fishing“. So you’re telling me that any girl who plays with dolls is not a real girl? This is the message we want to send our youth?

This is absurd. We’re all about empowering women to do whatever they want. You know, so long as what they want isn’t considered “girly”. Because real women don’t do girly things. Come on.

I don’t play with dolls or wear makeup or do my hair. I also don’t kick balls or hunt or fish. So does that make me a real woman or not? Of course I’m a real fucking woman. I have a vagina and I know in my heart that I’m a woman. But it’s shit like this that makes me identify as Androgynous, because it seems I can’t fit in no matter what I do.

We’re all just trying to survive. The message we should be sending our girls is not that they must fit in with the boys to be real women, but that they should be themselves because they already are real women. No matter what they do, or like, or want.

16 thoughts on “Real Girls

  1. About THE scariest “role” I have is that of Father/Dad/Daddy. I’ve a son and a daughter; my son’s 15, my daughter’s 9 (tomorrow).

    I’m always afraid that I’m going to say the wrong thing, especially to my daughter. I want her to KNOW that she can pretty much do anything she damn well pleases (so long as it’s legal). If she wants to be a doctor, be a doctor. If she wants to marry another woman (when she’s 50 *Wink, wink, nudge, nudge*), then she should. Her mother is FAR stronger than she gives herself credit for; I always knew, growing up, that I wanted a strong woman because my mother is a strong woman.

    These shirts, while they can be entertaining, are JUST that, in my view: entertaining (sometimes). REAL PEOPLE are true to WHO THEY ARE. It doesn’t matter what they’re into: hunting, sewing, Cosplay, Magic: the Gathering, Anime, football, hockey, (fill in the blank). JUST BE YOU, no matter who that is and what you’re into.

    I’ve turned into a sentimental cryer as I’ve gotten older. Few things can make me cry quicker than thoughts of my kids (especially as they continue to grow up). While many may say that that quality may make me less of a man… I say to them “Kiss my ASS!!” I’ve spent WAY too much of my life worrying about what others may think of me because of this, that or the other. The key thing here (to reiterate) BE YOU. In addition, one added little tidbit about onlookers: those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind (and will encourage and uplift you).

    ‘Nuf said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally resonate with this comment on tears — especially as a 70-year-old man prone to tears all my life on what too many others judge to be inappropriate situations and insufficient provocation.

      I appreciate your speaking out on this particular point. Many of us out here need the support of positive recognition for this aspect of who we are.


    • Happy birthday to your daughter!

      And I feel like these shirts are more than just entertaining. We try to teach our children to be themselves, but with their young impressionable minds they can see a shirt like this and think they HAVE to kick balls to be a “real” girl. I think it’s a mess.

      We should have entertaining shirts that stand up for what we like WITHOUT putting other people down.


  2. Thank you, Tempest. We need reminders to discriminate carefully between the positive approval intended by these “slogans”, and the damaging side effects of how some of them are worded.

    And we need more careful composing of these entertaining messages.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m just hoping that we can get to positive expressions without being pushy. Granted, I’m more comfortable with women that can hang with the guys, but I also do plenty of things at home that not too long ago were supposedly women’s domain (cooking, cleaning, washing, clothes shopping, minor sewing, etc.)

    I’m a husband of a self-proclaimed tomboy, and a father to a bold and proud tomboy. My daughter especially detests gender-based marketing– because she feels it’s forced. I think she has a vendetta against the color pink because of the way it’s used to scream “HEY, THIS IS FOR GIRLS!” I mentioned this before, right? (My experience working for Toys ‘R Us and all that?) Yet I don’t think either her nor my wife would be comfortable with this swagger– for one, my daughter loves shojo anime/manga, which is pretty obsessed with all things cute, and my wife loves boy bands and “chick” flicks just a wee more than I can stand sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As another proud member of the vagina club I’m sick of hearing about what makes me a ‘real girl.’ First, I’m a grown woman… Call an adult male a boy and it is an insult. Why is is different for women? Second, what is so unreal about embracing makeup, frilly pink things, and… I don’t know baking cakes or some shit… Whatever. All of those things are real female behavior just like playing in the mud, kicking balls (of the soccer variety), and fishing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Okay this is probably one of my fave posts because I am particularly irritated by this misconception! I love love love shopping, dresses, makeup, what the fuck ever because I find them soooo fun. Additionally, I love watching basketball, playing pool, and going camping. I should not be put down because I like girly things or built up because I like boyish things. I am just me. I do what I do and I don’t understand why everyone has to make gender so involved in their judgement of my pastimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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