Did Being Raised by a Single Father Make Me a Feminist?
Embracing Masculinity and Fighting Gender Stereotypes as a Straight Female
For the majority of my childhood and teen years I was raised by a single father. Instead of learning how to do makeup from my mom, shopping for bras with her, or talking about boys, my dad either had to fill in or I had to research it on my own.
Some of the funniest stories I can remember were when my dad awkwardly had to buy me tampons at the store, when he helped do my youngest sister’s hair for her school’s Picture Day, and buying me One Direction posters so that I could plaster my walls in blown-up pictures of Harry Styles.
I remember reading about puberty from Teen Vogue articles, scouring Pinterest for at-home acne treatments, and never having a sex talk. My sisters’ experiences were very similar, except when it came to “girly” stuff they had me to talk openly about things like periods, puberty or sexuality (as if 16-year-old me was well versed in these topics).
Because the majority of the years were filled with watching comedies with my dad, playing sports in the backyard, or laughing at stupid jokes we all came up with, I often feel like my sisters and I were raised to be more masculine than feminine.
I truly wonder if being raised this way has made us into the feminists we are today, never thinking we can’t do what guys do, simply because we were raised differently. I’ve never considered not pursuing something, even if it is dominated by males. My sisters played sports, many times as the only girl on their teams. I studied hard in advanced math classes that were mostly comprised of males, and we spent the majority of our free time at home with our dad.
I never really put it together in high school, I just described my style as skater-chic, and thought being super low maintenance was normal. I had a few female friends, but I always felt like I could be the most genuine and carefree with my guy best friend.
As I entered my sophomore year of college, I realized I had become incredibly comfortable hanging with boys. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, and I let them roast me in rap battles, eat embarrassing amounts of Checker’s chicken nuggets around them, and just joke around with them like I’m one of the guys.
It has gotten to the point where they are so comfortable that they openly share poop jokes with me, something I’ve come to understand that most boys don’t usually bring up with girls. I used to embrace my laid-back personality, easy going attitude, and low-maintenance lifestyle, but I’m starting to wonder if any boy is ever going to see me as more than a “bro”. I know I sound ridiculous, but it seriously worries me that all of my best girlfriends are in happy relationships, and I spend all of my weekends with my guy best friends. I envy that my girlfriends are celebrating anniversaries, going on cute dates, and showered in affection by their significant others, while I’m stuck in the friend zone of every boy I have ever been interested in.
Although I have some more “feminine” interests like a serious shopping addiction, and an affinity for all things pink and sparkly, time and time again the boys I’m interested in fall for my girlfriends, other girls, or worst yet, my younger sister.
I’m in a bit of a crossroads in my life, I can’t tell if I need to change my hobbies or interests in order to be seen as more desirable, or accept the fact that I will be single for a long time. Personally, I don’t want to tone down any parts of my personality, like my outspoken feminist beliefs, skater style, and sense of humor, so I’m anticipating college won’t be the place where I meet my soulmate.
It really bothers me when friends joke about me ending up gay, as if being gay is some sort of back up plan? I am completely straight, and I find it to be annoying that my lack of femininity automatically equates with me being gay. How does someone’s personality traits determine if they are gay or straight? At the end of the day, it is who you are attracted to and who you love. Just because my past relationships haven’t worked out and that my previous crushes haven’t liked me back doesn’t mean I’m supposed to “give up” and date women.
Another assumption people make that really bothers me is that just because I have a bunch of guy friends means I’ve slept with them all. I’m not perfect, I used to fall victim to this assumption too, believing the girls that had a ton of guy friends in high school were sluts. How hypocritical.
Why must society silo us into masculine and feminine, and if we fall somewhere in between we are labeled as gay, slut-shamed, or that something is wrong with us? I am so sick of society telling us that swearing isn’t ladylike, that we need to wear slips under our dresses, and that our hobbies aren’t attractive to males.
Label me masculine, label me feminine, I don’t care.
I am just as much a female as any other girl.
What Ana Mendieta’s Siluetas Taught Me About Woman and Nature as One.
I have found magic in R E V E A L I N G ones true nature.
Vintage pinups redone with ink and abstract watercolor.
The modern day equivalent of sticking post-its and cards to your mirror.
Self-Love is the greatest love story.
Dealing with the “monster menses.”
Hi, wow!” she exclaims with an unbridled energy that seems both youthful and genuine--two adjectives an average American would be unlikely to employ if asked to describe “politician.”
My admiration for music and feminism brought me to create artwork that showcases new women artists reimagined as older feminist singers that share similarities.
How Overthinking Ruined My Love Life.
The premise of this short film is that a young girl’s happiness and fantasy keeps getting interrupted by outside sources. Her fantasy can be whatever you take it to be, whether that be her dancing by herself, consuming confetti and joy, remaining true to her values, whatever you might identify with.
Regardless of how up to minute one stays with celebrity culture, it’s hard to miss the fact that we love nothing more than a woman in a crisis.
Traveling solo is a great way to boost your confidence, even if it feels scary.
My best friend was the first to know. The bittersweet words felt sour on the ears. She disappeared into her own
self-induced shock, paralyzed by the reality of three little words (“Kristie, I’m Bisexual”).
Did you know that Black women are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth than white women?
I’m sorry, I should’ve packaged up your ignorance in a neatly wrapped box. A pretty ribbon to heal your embarrassment? A sweet label to explain away your guilt?
Shame feels terrible. Hot sweats. Crawling skin. Unbearable smallness. Shame makes me feel like a little girl, not the grown woman I am.
You both asked me how I’ve been, Good.
if I ever made it to where I wanted to go, I did.
why I left with such certainty. For me.
Now the #1 bestselling author of The Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Teen, Aija asserts that she is “strong, determined, and vulnerable.” The adjectives bookending her sentence, “strong,” and “vulnerable,” might seem contradictory, but over the course of our conversation, Aija swiftly exhibited her multifaceted personality and explained how she finds courage in her weakest moments. Over the course of her teen years and blossoming career, Aija has successfully twisted her struggles into strength in order to save herself and others.
If my future self would have told “1st grader Brooke” that she would be a public figure in Texas politics, little Brooke would’ve told my future self that she had spelled dentist wrong. Dreams can change through a matter of circumstance.
I got bangs just like my 6-year-old self displayed on picture day.
I stood, my tummy jutting out in my Speedo two-piece, and stared at my reflection in the mirror, zeroed in on one thing: a huge pimple right between my eyebrows. Big and red and painful. I squeezed the ever-loving shit out of that thing, but to no avail: I had only angered the beast.
In one particularly inappropriate and hilarious scene, the word “clitoris” is repeatedly shouted. My friends and I are baffled. What is that? It’s still considered “cool” to know bad words, which we assume it must be. “I dare you to ask our health teacher,” my friend says.
My clothing is not an invitation for your hands, my sister is not a prize, and my best friend is not able to consent if she is not fully conscious. Simply existing in your room doesn’t make me yours. Content warning: rape and sexual assault.
I just asked him if he knew about the mermaids. Specifically, the mermaid in Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill’s “Mermaid in the Hospital,” a mermaid who wakes up to find her tail gone, replaced with “two long, cold thingammies.” . She doesn’t understand her new, working legs because they are not her: “But here's the thing/she still doesn't get— ... How she was connected/to those two thingammies/and how they were connected/to her.”
In my last spring break, I disappeared for a night. While I suspect that this was the second time I’ve been roofied, I’ll probably never know for sure. After waking up in a strange place and returning home, I saw the damage that I believe I had caused--the tears and panic in my mom’s eyes, my boyfriend sitting in the driveway crying as he waited for me to come home. I don’t know what happened that night.
We are queens of our own, Our crowns don't show. They are hidden in our souls.
I heard so many things growing up, starting in pre-school. I believed “boys are faster and stronger than girls”, or “only girls can like pink and purple”, or “girls are smarter than boys”. Even though none of these are accurate statements, I remember feeling sad when I lost a race to a boy on the playground, thinking it was because I was weak because I was a girl. Then I remember hating that part about being a girl.
1. Being happy and sad at the same time as if that’s completely normal.
One of the new Congresswomen is an indigenous woman with a law background, one a Latinx woman who has firsthand experience in income inequality, another a Somali American who is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor party member, and another the founder of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities.
Author: Lidija Jurovich
Lidija is a rising junior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in Marketing with a minor in Non-Profit Leadership. Growing up on the West Coast, Lidija has learned that traveling and meeting new people is one of her favorite things to do. She hopes to create her own non-profit clothing company with proceeds benefiting victims of child abuse or pursue a career in marketing for empowering and inclusive clothing or beauty companies. Currently, she is a brand ambassador for Aerie, where she works to promote body positivity and empowerment on UMD’s campus.