“It’s a Girl Thing.”
By Alexa Martinez / Edited by Yasmin Bahrami
“It’s a girl thing.”
Growing up, I’d hear about femininity spoken about like an alien. It’s important to acknowledge that there isn’t a single definition of a “girl” in relation to gender, especially as we navigate our identities. However, I think there’s something unifying about girlhood. Girlhood exists in personhood. It’s a collection of experiences that sit in the crooks of us until we invite it into the kitchen. I find that the experiences are covered in shame until they’re spoken, shared, and related to. So here are mine.
My toys on my bedroom floor and stepping around them to get to bed. Sleepaway camps and all the hair that is braided and all the boys we fall in love with. Trying on my first bra and feeling like I did something wrong to end up there. Believing that a perfect outfit will create a perfect life. Making new friends and losing them by the end of lunch period. Hearing your second grade crush say another girl is pretty and trying to figure out what she has that you don’t for the rest of your life.
No one will understand what it is like to experience girlhood as you do—every story is layered in different embarrassments and moments of freedom. But there’s an essence behind all of it. The same way you can pick up anything made of glass and know it’s fragile.
That’s why we love the movies about it, even if we never got the experiences that they promise. We still see our dreams in them.
The realness in Kat Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You.
The caged feeling of the Lisbon Sisters in The Virgin Suicides.
The dream of being Summer (when you’re actually Tom) in (500) Days of Summer.
The authenticity of Christine McPherson in Lady Bird.
There is a thread that connects us, and I think it’s about who we all wish we could be. This ideal of being a girl and our constant failure to reach it. We’re all failing because it’s an impossible standard. When we learn that, we give away the clothes that don’t fit us, we stop being polite when we should be stern, we become okay with being in an empty room because empty people are worse.
It’s this coming-of-age that connects us, however we get there.
Love it, embrace it, treasure it.