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Monday, August 28, 2023


Every day, things become a little more clear.

I saw a tweet yesterday that said:

Sometimes I think about how teenage girls are reviled and everything they love is deemed silly and frivolous and yet teenage girls are so deeply sexualized in our culture and it's like the misogyny dial is turned up... and then those girls become women recovering from being teens.

It really struck me as popping up at exactly the right time, considering everything I've been mulling over the last couple of weeks.

I think my core of shame and embarrassment is directly related to my former life as a Teenage Girl.

There is so much that life doesn't prepare us for. I was thinking about how my teenage experience could never be on a TV show, because too much super fucked up stuff happened that could never be aired to millions of people.

It's really true that society in general absolutely abhors teenage girls. I'm not sure if it's gotten any better - it seems like it has, but I can't really judge because I'm not in that space anymore.

I know growing up in the early 00s was extremely rough. The misogyny was at an all-time-high. In retrospect, I'm amazed that I didn't shy away from continuing to identify as a girl/woman due to how much everyone around me seemed to be absolutely disgusted by our existence.

One thing stands out.

There was an exceptionally disturbing dynamic between me and an older guy I liked that I think made a very intense impression on my developing mind which lingers even today.

There was a dynamic between us (as well as an age gap - I was 16 and he was in his early 20s) where he would put down absolutely anything and everything I liked. Whether it was a music, a movie, it didn't matter - if I liked it, it was bad. It was bad because it was girly, or weeby, or anything like that.

After he was done putting me down, telling me that I had terrible taste, sometimes even in the same breath, he'd say I was hot and half-jokingly tell me to take my clothes off, always with an "lol" tagged onto the end.

I hated it. It made me feel disgusting. But somehow I never really thought of the consequences of tagging those two things together. I guess it sounds a lot like 'negging' now that I think about it. But I think it made me associate being seen as lesser, as an embarrassment, with being seen as attractive, or a sexual object (which I have always shrank away from in disgust). How could this not fuck up my self-image?

When I think about feeling disgusting, or feeling like I'm worthless or should be ashamed of myself, that experience/relationship what I think about.

I think my relationship with this guy kind of encapsulates what so many teenage girls go through. Maybe not to this extreme, or maybe to an even worse one.

I don't think this experience explains it all - why I am the way I am now - but it definitely helps me to understand at least a piece of it.

Sometimes when I think about my lack of self-confidence, I feel a little exasperated. Like "This again?! Why can't you just get over this and move on." I don't feel patient, like taking the time to understand anything because I've already spent so, so much time trying to understand.

I think I know now that this feeling of mine didn't come out of nowhere. It was carefully cultivated - by the society I grew up in and the people I grew up around. This isn't something I can just will myself to get over or move past. This is intertwined too deeply with how I became an adult, and how I became the person I am today.