When I was young, I never really thought how being a girl was different than being a boy (besides the obvious physical differences). It seemed to me that we were built slightly differently, but in every other way basically the same. We could do the same things in life, study the same subjects in school. I may have wore more dresses and skirts than my guy friends, but we all played soccer during breaks and we all wrote papers for our history units.
But, unfortunately, I soon learned that men and women are not the same. Sometimes in middle school, I used to wish I was a boy. I hated all the girls that teased me and ignored me and made my life hell. None of the guys cared what brand of jeans I wore to school and when they got angry they yelled, maybe threw a punch, but then it was over. I remember years of tortured girl fights that sent me home crying and kept me up at night dreading the dagger looks on the bus and having to walk down the hallway the next morning.
The thing is, I was never really unhappy being a girl, it's just that sometimes it looked easier to be a guy. As I've grown up, I've realized how much a love being a woman, sure it might sound cheesy, but I've come to embrace who I am.
But sometimes, it frightens me, and I worry and wonder why we have to live in a world where women are still not treated the same as men.
I wonder why I always think about what neighborhood I'll be in before getting dressed because I don't want to be too revealing if I end up in a shadier part of town. I wonder why the women that I work with are so cold to me, fiercely competing to outshine one another, when we should be standing together. I wonder why, when I tell people that I'm going to be traveling alone, they furrow their brow and start listing all the precautions I should take. I wonder why I always walk faster at night. I wonder why I always sit toward the front of the bus when I'm alone.
It's because I'm a woman and I've been taught to be scared, I've been shown that there are things to be scared of. I have been made into an object by society, to be whistled and honked at and stared at on the bus or on street corners at night. I've been made to be wary of everyone around me, even other women. I've been taught to believe that no one is on my side.
I am tired of treading softly and keeping my head down. I am tired of worrying each time I leave the house. I am smart, and I know that there are real reasons to be precautious, but if we live our entire lives in fear of the worst, then we never get to experience the best.
I love that I am a woman, but I hate what society has made of me.