It's a term I hear all too often, if I'm honest. “You can't sit that way, it isn't ladylike.” “Girls really shouldn't do these things- they're for boys.” As outdated as these opinions sound, all through my life, I've heard these words being thrown at me.
When I was little, it was immediately clear that I was different. I never cared for barbie dolls, spent my time playing manhunt with the boys, and it was a constant battle to get me to wear a skirt or dress.
You could say that I was a tomboy. My mother, luckily for me, has always been very supportive of my choices. I remember going into the boy’s section at the shop, and her helping me pick out clothes. So, when I was told that I wasn't being ladylike when I climbed trees or kicked a ball about, I ignored it.
I know I'm not the only girl who has been told this. And I know that there are boys who are constantly told they’re not manly enough. And to that… I just say ignore it. Ignore it! Nobody can tell you who you are, apart from you. If you're a boy who wants to do ballet, or a girl who wants to play rugby, then more power to you. Go for it. We can't let other people's fantasies of what they want us to be dominate what we want to do in our lives. Of course, for some people, pushy parents force them into places that they don't want to be. And if you're unable to sit them down and tell them that you're uncomfortable with what they're doing, I hope you find a way out of it soon.
Believe it or not, we're in the 21st century, now. It would be impractical for girls to be all dainty, and sit around, relying on a man to do so much for her, when we're living in an age that demands so much independence. Now, believe me, I'm not bashing girly girls and boisterous boys; if you are a girl who prefers makeup and dresses, or a boy who does enjoy sports, who am I to judge? What I'm saying is, do it for you and nobody else. Make a statement.
“This is who I am; like it, or lump it.”
Sometimes, actions speak a lot louder than words.
In fact, as a form of protest, I joined sports clubs in year six. All of the boys said that a girl couldn't play football, as did many of the old, female teachers. But someone like me is never told that I can't. I joined football club, and outside of school, I joined karate for good measure. Where am I now? I've been doing karate for 5 years and have gained several national and international titles, and I ain't bad at a game of footy, either.
How's that for ladylike?
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.