When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the color pink. Pink was beautiful, and it brought life to everything around me. My comb was pink, I had a pink Cinderella dress and I loved my pink slippers. On the other hand, my elder sister was in love with blue. She said pink was too ‘girlie’ and she didn’t want to be too ‘girlie’. Then began the genesis of the ‘Other Girls’.
I didn’t want to be ordinary myself and if loving pink made me ordinary then I will have to choose another color. Under the strong influence of my playmates being boys and my agemate cousins being boys as well, blue became my favorite color. It was acceptable on the playing field and not being too ‘girlie’ allowed me a chance to play and be part of the crew. I started to suppress my feelings of being an ordinary girl. It wasn’t a cool thing to be a normal girl who gets hurt when scolded at or cries when she falls or even complain when you get an unfair share of the mandazi being passed around. I didn’t want the boys to make fun of me and call me a ‘girlie’ girl when my feelings got hurt because they took all my goodygoody in an unfair bet of who won the wrestling championship last night.
In my teenage years, I had already gotten accustomed to being a tom boy. My dresscode was strictly hood jumper, a pair of jeans, sneakers and a white T-shirt. I had to like hiphop so that I could have been part of the conversation of whose cool between Tupac and Biggie and it was cool to sing along to the hiphop beats while trying to master the rap of every other song on the radio. Loving ragga music was a middle ground, everybody loved ragga both boys and girls.
As I got closer to my mid teen, my body had taken a different figure. Despite wearing the hoodies and big white T-shirts, my womanly figure could be spotted at a distance. The boys started to like that I looked like a girl and would call me out whenever they felt necessary. I hated that, even with a decent pair of jeans, oversized jumper they would still have the guts to mention how ‘cute’ your behind is, even as you are trying not to draw any attention there. My friends stopped talking to me as one of their crew and I became the hunted. I stopped hanging out with them because I felt so sexualised and I preferred just hanging out without being reminded after every minute how your body looks like.
The other girls in my hood, had crushes. They wanted the boys attention and were willing to listen to their irrelevant stories. I didn’t know how to be like them. My mother made it perfectly clear that entertaining boys would cause more harm than good. So I opted to keep my friends close and my enemies as far away as I could. When the other girls enjoyed wearing nice cute dresses, I enjoyed buying more jumpers and jeans. When my sister would buy me nice fitting tops that would show off my womanly figure, I would immediately cover them with a scarf and a jumper or sweater on top.
I was not taught how to embrace my body or how to love being a girl. Everybody referred to how a girl dresses to her effect on men and not necessarily how she feels about herself. We were taught to hate any girl that flaunts her womanly figure or embraces her womanly curves by calling her a whore or a desperate girl but no one ever taught us that it was okay to love yourself, dress yourself according to how you feel and embrace your curves because at the end of the day, how the men react to your dress code is how the society will label you.
Ever seen the meme of the perfect girlfriend being the one that will play video games with the boys, watch football, entertain the boys when they come over to watch a game or play a game and loves cars and the imperfect girlfriend is the one who likes soaps, soft music, loves picnics and is crazy about romantic novels?
At the end of the day, if you less of a girlie girl, the more you feel like you fit in to the society of men.
However, when we grow up thinking like them and being like them, they eventually say we are feminists and not appealing to their eyes. So where exactly do we draw the line? That’s a story for another day…
I didn’t want to be like the other girls. I didn’t want to like R n B despite the fact that SWV, 702, Brian Mcknight, KC and Jojo, Backstreet boys and Insync gave me so much joy because I would be like the other girls. I didn’t want to like flowers, chocolates, and Valentines because it was branded desperate and too cliche by the boys. I didn’t want to cry when I was hurt or throw a tantrum when someone has really pissed me off because it is unladylike but most of all, you will be like the other girls. I feel all my life, I have been running away from being like the other girls in the name of being extra ordinary. However, I was a girl, there was nothing I could do to change that.
Funny thing is that once you grow up, the men now want you to be like the other girls. The girls who want to have children, be wives, not talk until spoken to, love cooking, know everything and anything to do with the household and know how to take care of them.
Unfortunately, we have now grown to be our own kind of girls and we are the other girls as well. We like pink, bright colors, dark colors and we are happy that way. We love flowers, chocolates, jewellery, gifts, clothes, high heeled shoes, and any other things girls like and we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it. We love some make-up. lace wigs, natural hairstyles, braids, weaves, fake nails and no one should make you feel bad about it. We are girls and we should embrace being girls.
While you grab yourself a beer, I will go pick up my wine. If you really appreciate us, then you should stop making us feel any less for loving and being who we are.
Go on be like the other girls, the other girls are just every girl trying to find her own niche and embracing herself for who she is.