Being a girl was so embarrassing. Our loves were laughed at and the less ‘girly’ you were, the cooler you seemed. Associations with being a girl were frilly, whiney, emotional and often silly, so when we grew out of being a girl, we were growing up. Each stage of being a girl is a new shedding of shame: we do away with princesses and the colour pink, and then we do away with boybands and cheesy chick-flicks. Instead of appreciating each stage, welcoming it and reminiscing on it as a golden era of girlhood, we look back and cringe at these phases.
Why is it that boyhood and childhood are for reminiscing, while girlhood is for repressing? Boyhood is adventure; it’s stress-free and looked back on fondly with familiarity and nostalgia. The stages of boyhood make up who a person becomes: from the monster truck phase to the football one, these interests are never quite outgrown in the same way girls outgrow their interests. Princesses are for growing out of, while cars will always be cool. If boys can be boys, why can’t girls just be girls – in all its manifestations?
Girlhood feels like a temporary, character-development rite of passage we’re encouraged to swiftly let go of, rather than something to indulge in and enjoy. That’s what makes rediscovering our interests and passions from girlhood so rebellious.
In our twenties, so many of us are reclaiming our girlhoods, and revisiting our past loves. We get to honour our inner child by realising that what we liked as girls was never shameful, and that we never should have been made to feel like it was. Instead of cringing or rejecting our old interests, we can embrace them, and appreciate their importance and their impact on us. And so we should! We already have enough internalised misogyny and shame to put up with on a daily basis; we shouldn’t let it dictate what we enjoy.
With that in mind, TWSS’ senior editors, Kim and Rachel, are so excited to introduce our new column, Girlhood, a celebration of our not-so-guilty girly pleasures and girlhood, in all its embarrassing cringiness!