If you’ve ever been to the shops in the middle of Winter you will have definitely seen that gaggle of teenage girls squawking in the middle of the store because their eyebrows are “melting”.
It’s a catastrophe: the victim of the eyebrow melt is crying, her mascara is leaking and the ten tonnes of foundation is sliding off her face in slimy, thick clumps.
To you, it might seem silly that someone so young would need that much makeup just to try on new jeans or go see a movie (which by the way, is in the dark, so no one can see you anyway) but it’s not really about the makeup.
It is more about the ‘wall’.
Being a young woman, I understand why girls my age are putting on soooo much makeup; it like a shield to hide what they feel is “imperfection”.
I’m all for makeup – I think young women should wear whatever they want, whenever they want – but when most girls use it to cover their features making sure not one inch of actual skin shows, it is more about the freedom of expression to paint your face how you want or using it to hide behind?
It’s not only with makeup but also with clothes. Clothes are an extension of yourself. When you were little did you dress up? Not as in costumes like a princess, but like a small toddler who wore a rainbow skirt and favourite mismatched socks, flowers in your hair because you like the way they smelled, three necklaces on because you liked the way they tinkled, all the bangles your Mum owned on at once because they felt amazing. You probably look back at those old cringe-worthy photos of you in that fur coat and fluoro spotted socks with green Crocs that have crocodile faces, and wonder what you were thinking. You look at them and go “OMG Mum, if you’re not gonna throw that out at least hide it in some really desolate drawer that no one opens!”
But why do we think that? Because it’s embarrassing? But why?
Today when you go places I bet you anything you will see those group of boys and girls that look exactly the same. Same clothes, same hair, same logos on clothes, same socks pulled up at exactly the same height, exactly the same everything! It’s like clones are walking around or you have a concussion and are seeing triple of everyone. When you wore those crocodile Crocs and rainbow skirt you did it because it made you happy.
So why not do it now, dress the way that makes you happy, no matter how ridiculous you think you look? I wish we could – decide together that as young women we’re going to wear what feels amazing and makes us happy from the inside – clones be damned.
So, here’s six things young women should stop worrying about right now, starting with WEAR WHAT YOU LIKE because when I sat in the car early this morning I watched a group of teenagers walk across the road to school. It was a public school without uniform, yet it looked like they were all wearing one they looked so alike, and it irritated me! If I went to a public school and didn’t have to wear a uniform I would wear my colourful floppy pants and wool jumpers every damn day. So, here we go:
1. Stop worrying about needing to hide behind a mask.
2. Stop caring about “what are you wearing?”
Every time someone asks me where I shop I have to stop myself from snorting.
First of all, this isn’t the red carpet at the Oscars, when – granted – it might matter.
For starters, I am 15 years old and I play sport instead of having a part-time job. Dude obviously, I wear whatever my Mum forked out for.
- Mostly athletic wear and the same pair of Connies I bought nearly 3 years ago, with an endless supply of shorts and jumpers.
- Op Shop golden finds discovered – some with their tags still on – during school holiday jaunts with my Grandma and lots of cake.
- A vintage crocheted jumper my Mum wore when she was 15 and stored for all this time.
- My hard-earned supply of Association Netball jumpers from the 4 years running I’ve been lucky enough to play development squad.
I mean sure you could drive an hour to the biggest shop or make your credit card burn and only wear $150 pants from Nikè, buuut they’re exactly the same as the Target pants, the only difference is the logo. If you need to have meaning behind your clothes; buy fair trade or artisan made.
My point here is: wear WHATEVER YOU BLEEDING WANT! NO ONES CARES and if they judge you, honestly flip the bird and move on, as long as you love what you wear no one’s opinion should matter. And if a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend treats you badly because of what you like to wear then thank your $29 athletic pants for giving you the cheapest lesson in friendship available. They’re not worth it. They don’t get to dress you every day YOU dress you every day and wear what you want to.
3. Do not care about body hair.
This one is a biggy for me because in my ancestry there is a lot of Mediterranean mixed with bi-racial genes, which means dun dun duuuuuuun I get really hairy. My leg hairs in Year 7 were like full lion manes and because I went to an all-girls school there was a lot of judgment. I love my family because they didn’t care about that shiz; “hell yeah wear them leg hairs in plaits if you want to”, but I was so unused to the judgment of it that I begged my mum to let me shave.
So of course, she initially disagreed, but she did let me wax, and goddamn it was the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. But to me, the pain was much better than being called werewolf girl (which is what they called me at school.
That was in the first 2 years of high school – I wasn’t even a teenager when it started – and this year it hit me; why do I even care?
I cared because I wanted to fit in, and it was looked at as “manky” to have hairy legs, but get this: shield maidens didn’t shave their legs and they saved their villages and people and fought like hellions, and you wanna know why? Because shaving didn’t even matter! So why do we care?
Shave every so often if you want, shave your head if you like, maybe if you’re really dedicated, wax, but to do it consistently just to fit in with the smooth legged masses? Do you really need to?
The answer is no, because you’re dope! Hairy legs and all.
4. Don’t stop doing what you love to please someone else.
This one is easy peasy. If you’re confused about this one, weeeell, I really hope you’re not.
Four awesome kickass words for you for this tip, DO WHAT YOU LOOOOOVE.
No matter what others are doing, do what you love and be around the people that support that and make you love what you do even more. Why worry about the FOMO if you’re doing what you love? If you spend the 5 years of high school NOT doing what you love it’s 5 full years you’ve wasted making someone else comfortable.
They won’t care, and they probably won’t even ever know.
- Want to play rugby? Do it.
- Want to perform poetry slam? Do it.
- Want to start a guinea pig appreciation society and think it’s too daggy? DO IT!
Here’s the one piece of advice my Mother gave me I’ll never forget: don’t dull your shine to keep someone else comfortable. Ever.
Always do what you love because for many of us, life will be shorter than we think it’ll be and someone else’s comfort isn’t worth missing out on what you love.
5. Don’t worry about Social Media. Full stop.
To me social media is a bit of a devil, it is also a pretty huge time suck.
People use social media to brag about things they have and show off things that don’t matter. It’s also used to build communities, find like-minded people, and stay in touch with the peeps you love, but so often it can turn with a moment’s notice into something used to hurt. A weapon.
In today’s society, social media is used nearly every 3 minutes by teenagers. It has to be the most annoying piece of useless shiz the world has produced, and the word has produced a lot of those things.
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to stay connected with the people and things you love without being connected to social media.
So, use it carefully.
If you find yourself obsessed with posting random things and the feeling you get when random people make comments on it, it might be time to think again. If you’re doing it instead of reading a book, sleeping, or having real conversations, time to think again. And if you’re communicating with people over social media in a way you’d never do if you were having a face to face conversation with them and your own Mum was listening – time to back away entirely. If you feel like you need a change, put the damn thing down and pick up a book, make a phone call, go see someone fun.
6. Relationship Status = no rush.
This is a big, big, biiig, thing in the world of young women and something I get asked regularly. Do you have a boyfriend? No, I don’t yet and have never had one, (yep, interested in boys) but, for some reason a boyfriend now doesn’t mean “ooh he’s my partner and best friend, sparkles, sunshine, someone to go to the movies with and do daggy stuff with and try new things with and eat all the food” (OK, can you tell from that what my ideal relationship would look like?) because that hardly ever seems to happen.
In my experience looking in, the “boyfriend” experience amongst young women my age seem more like flings, they don’t last long and they always make you unhappy.
It makes no sense, at our age – to have a boyfriend is like having a bus buddy – occasionally you make eye contact and maybe on the rare occasion you sit next to them, but oh, God forbid if you talk to them the relationship is over! Wait a few years, talk to lots of people, flirt if you want to (hello cute boy in my brother’s soccer team) a best friend is the best person to be with, they love you for who you are. Wait until the first right person comes and then make your relationship everything you want it to be, you don’t need to rush boo, you’re fine.
Having a boyfriend shouldn’t be for social status, it should be because you like them.
Because I am 15 (in a month) I reserve the right to change my mind about any of these points later on.
As a woman, that’s my prerogative (my Mum says this all the time!) and also my right. The point is, I get to make the decisions, not society, not other girls on social media, not a boy I’ve never actually spoken to but am in some kind of weird not-relationship with.
So, perhaps the best thing to stop worrying about is – worrying. You do you, boo.
Do what makes you happy.
Ella writes stuff. Lots of stuff. Some of it makes it to How Dare She? much is hidden away. She is a beast on the netball court, the vintage typewriter, head in a book, and when anyone is in trouble. She has a heart of gold and a core of steel and very good taste in friends. She is co-owner and founder of How Dare She? and you’d better not tell her what she can’t do
Why are we doing this thing? Because there’s enough noise in the world telling women what we ‘should’ be doing.
We should parent more consciously, but not be helicopter parents. We should take care of our bodies, but not be vain. We should make boys pay, but demand equal rights. We should dress appropriately, but also be confident in our skin, wear what we want, but not be provocative, oh and please feel comfortable in the world’s skimpiest school bathers but then wear your jeans to the formal because last year the boys looked up the girls’ skirts and so you’ll have to be the ones to modify your behaviour. Yeah. No.
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