Education Opinion

How It Feels to Be Female Me: A Student Perspective on Stereotypes

By Christina Torres — October 15, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.

Find Christina online:

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.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP