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A Crash Course on Entering Womanhood in a Misogynist World

By Laurel McBride
July 15, 2020

Acquire push-up bras and matching thong underwear from La Senza.

Ditch eyeglasses for contact lenses. Prove Sean right that you are hot without them.

Carefully cover up visible birthmark and conceal every Blemish.

Those striking eyes though. Perfect the art, or maybe it’s science, of highlighting them.
Trade Maybelline in for MAC. Along with paycheque.

Tweeze, Nair, Bic, wax, laser. Everywhere. Always.

Borrow mother’s iron, set to 275° and remove every wave from your long, dyed blonde head of hair. Soothe occasional burn on your arms, neck, shoulders, hands.

Wear uncomfortable shoes that require learning to walk in a new and less effective manner.

Wear clothes that reveal your body, even if it is -30° out. It is more important to be seen as sexy than to be warm.*

Chase after an even and bronze skin tone achieved through the UV rays of a tanning booth. Some say it’s harmful, what do they know?

Despise broadening hips, research how to effectively vomit up wasteful calories. Use said research.

Pray for larger breasts and smaller areolas.

Bury the fear you feel when you hear what boys are supposed to Do To You.

Try alcohol, like alcohol, rely on alcohol.

Try to figure out what happened last night. Last weekend. Last month. Last year. Last decade.

Contemplate suicide to escape the hell of being The Slut (among other less polite descriptors).

Laugh at guy’s jokes – jokes that are about you, about girls like you, about girls that you are Definitely Not Like.

Understand that guys are So Very Funny and that it is So Very Important to be liked by them.

Swallow your personal shame and loathing and do keep it to yourself.

That’s it, you’ve got the hang of it now.

The transition from being a girl to becoming a woman was jarring and robbed me of my selfhood. At once, I became consumed with seeking approval from male peers. What I aspired to and cared for was narrow and stunted. Feminism offered me a way out from under the crushing boulder of so-called womanhood. Today, unshackled from the practices of femininity, the male gaze, and alcohol – I am proud to be a woman.

*addition inspired by a woman who wrote to us

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