Guest post by Helena Huffman
I am a Female. I was born with 2 X chromosomes. I am 110 pounds of pure ambition and 5 pounds of sugar, spice and everything nice. I no longer allow society and their standards to control my appearance in exchange for killing my drive in life.
When I think “female,” I think of women who have changed the world with their intelligence and grace. Women who showed their strength and were not afraid of their kind hearts.
I remember the first time I became a female. It wasn’t the moment I put on a dress or braided my hair. It was the time I stood up for my friend in preschool when others were afraid to. It was the time I befriended a peer who felt like an outsider. It was achieving the goals I set for myself and learning from my shortcomings. The indication of a girl comes from the core of their being rather than the way they express themselves physically. It comes from their character and who they are.
When I was younger, I soared around preschool in vibrant colors such as purple and orange with horrific contrasting patterns of plaid and stripes. My little feet took me where I wanted to go; my mind focused on the adventure before me--rather than on myself. I was conquering mountains and tip-toeing around the patches of glowing lava surrounding me. Swoosh!--- I swung across rods of steel to escape the perilous valley below. I didn’t need to coordinate my lunch box with my shoes in order to surmount the world.
Changes came when I began to believe in the lies companies were telling me-- about my body, about my clothes. My self-image deteriorated and the models I saw on magazines became my definition of “beauty.” The kindness in my heart ran away and vanity was planted in its place. I look in the mirror and the reflection of the once vivacious, confident toddler fades exposing the “flaws” that never seemed to be so.
Society displays women like an assorted box of chocolates. Each truffle to be eye candy and satisfy the sweet tooth of those around her. This emphasis on the perfect figure or facial features leaves the importance of character to become extinct.
When I walk into my room I see a mound of clothes on my bed, an abundance of shirts spilling out of my dresser, and a small stack of five books on my shelf. When did I become so enthralled with my outward “beauty” that I forgot to challenge the inward? I was the prettiest candy in the box with a hollow center. The river of curiosity I drank from became dry and the fiery passion in my eyes had become smoke. My need for physical assurance from others became an infection, contaminating and ultimately stunting the parts of my life that were flourishing.
But I am not “tragically"female. There is no tragedy in being a woman. There is no more need for this false image I was after and constantly trying to maintain. Now all I have is self-acceptance and a limited attention span for mascara ads. We should be endorsing the advancements women have made using the individuality God has given them instead of promoting products to cover it up. Let’s start extending our knowledge instead of our lashes, remove body shaming instead of non-existent fat, and mirror the characteristics of powerful female figures instead of look at the reflection and reject who we are.
Helena Huffman is a junior at Kauai High School on Lihue, Hawaii. She enjoys music and learning.
The opinions expressed in The Intersection: Culture and Race in Schools are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.