Let her be HER!

“If she likes makeup, let her wear it. If she likes fashion, let her dress up. But if she doesn't like it, let her be.”

With so many outside pressures influencing how we present ourselves to the world, we can end up losing the ability to express our individual identity, or how we would like to be presented.

The quote above highlights a response to behaviour which can arise when a girl does not conform to societal pressures, and it inspired me to share some of my thoughts on this topic.

Firstly, when a girl shows disinterest in fashion or “femininity” and she is referred to as a “tomboy”- an inaccurate and derogatory term. 

The second being when a girl demonstrates a passion for fashion and makeup, but how she chooses to appear is deemed inappropriate due to her cultural or religious background.

Both extremes are at two ends of the spectrum and by no means are they relevant to everyone, but growing up, I experienced both.

After I grew out of my, so-called “tomboy” phase, I remember walking into department stores, seeing beautiful clothes and falling in love with the idea of dressing up in them. Even the mere thought of wearing a colourful floral dress made me feel pretty. However, those clothes were never an option for me because, with the background that I come from, they were considered “immoral”.

Chimamanda Ngozi, a writer from Nigeria wrote, “make dressing up a question of taste and attractiveness instead of a question of morality”. So many of the lines in her book “A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” struck a chord with me, but this one more so than others.

As a young girl, I was often made to feel ashamed for wanting to leave my hair down, or for wearing mascara, or a “western” outfit. I became very insecure about myself in ways that it's taken me many years to recover from, but it has made me stronger and I am proud of who I am today.

We all have the right to express ourselves and whether or not a girl chooses to do so through fashion or makeup: let her be.

A Girl Who is HER!