What's In A Label? Why We Need To Redefine The 'Girly' Stereotype


Being labeled "girly" has always caused me to have a not-so-ladylike reaction.

“What do you mean, I’m 'girly'?” I would scream at my accusers as they stared back at me, horrified.

Back then, being referred to as "girly" meant two things: I wore a sh*tload of pink, and I was dumb. Because of this, I often rooted for the "girly" characters in movies and TV shows, who could prove their haters wrong.

In "Legally Blonde," Elle Woods got the last laugh by getting into Harvard Law School. Rebecca Bloomwood from "Confessions of a Shopaholic" uses her love of shoes to write a hit article.

In "New Girl," the adorkable Jess Day defends her right to knit and bake cookies for no reason without being classified as the type of person who must have birds dress her in the morning.

These are just a few examples that shed light on the stereotypes and barriers we “girly ones” have to deal with and overcome.

Because, the truth is, I like being girly. I adore the color pink, gush over sparkly manicures and live for sipping on pink wine and having a candlelit bubble bath.

So, why had I turned my back on this, only to be convinced that being girly was a trait (or personality flaw) to be ashamed of?

Was it because of my younger years when I was made fun of for everything I wore, down to the scrunchie in my hair, having a lick of pink in it? Or, was it the fact that my MSN Hotmail name used to be prettypinkprincess?

Putting the feminist aspect aside, I believe every woman has the right to like girly things and not be considered stupid, shallow or whatever other demeaning label there is.

Alyssa Mastromonaco, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff, understands this.

In a 2014 op-ed for The Washington Post, she titled her article, “Being Informed And Fashionable Is Natural For Women.”

In it, she wrote:

Mastromonaco hit the nail on the head by identifying the tight categories women are being shuffled into. It has become a case of "either-or," instead of the freedom to enjoy both girly things and ones that society deems as having “substance.”

Even girly drinks have taken a hit, as discussed by Slate magazine in the article, “What’s So Lame About ‘Girly’ Drinks?”:

Heterosexual males are more likely to hide their affinity for girly drinks. This is due, in part, because it's been perceived that certain liquors, such as whiskey and beer, carry a masculine quality more so than, say, a cosmopolitan.

The casual tossing around of the term, “basic bitch,” is another reason why females are being patronized for liking girly things.

Who cares if we have an obsession with Pumpkin Spice Lattes? (I mean, come on, those things are liquid heaven.)

Can we, please, live in a world where posting a picture sunbathing on the beach does not automatically lead to some random person commenting, “#hotdogsorlegs?"

Being girly has simply become a joke to society.

As for me, though, I’m as girly as they come. I watch the same romantic comedies over and over again (much to the disdain of my boyfriend), and I’ve written articles similar to the ones Andie Anderson wrote in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days."

But, there’s also another side of me, the one that was in army cadets for six years, tried out for the military reserves and attained a scholarship to university.

I love all different kinds of music, especially indie and alternative. But, if you turn to a mainstream station, just try and stop me from dancing and singing along to the likes of my fellow “basic bitches,” Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

That’s just me.

I’m sick of hiding. I’m sick of being embarrassed to wear pink, to read steamy romance novels on the subway or to be able to tell you, without hesitation, which celebrity just announced she’s pregnant.

So, yes. I’m girly. And smart. And career-driven.

By day, I may work for the government, and by night, I may unwind with a glass of wine and an episode of "The Bachelor."

If you’re a girl out there who feels the same, I encourage you to embrace your girliness. Doing so doesn’t make you dumb, shallow or vapid.

It just makes you, you. And that is all that matters.