I am 16. I’m dancing to my favorite pop song at my friends birthday party when a boy whose name I do not even know comes over and slaps my ass. My face flushes with redness and I sit down for the rest of the night avoiding the eyes of everyone in the room.
Later, I ask him why he thought it was okay to invade my body without my consent. He says it was a joke.
I don’t laugh.
I am 12. Every girl in my grade is dragged to the school’s auditorium, where we are told that ‘dressing like sluts’ in ninety degree will not be tolerated, and that we will get two detentions if anyone finds our clothing distracting.
Later, I find out that, while we were being lectured on our own bodies, all of the boys stayed in their homerooms and watched a movie, because ‘It’s natural for boys to get aroused, the girls are the ones that have to cover up, they’re causing a problem and taking away from the education of others.’
I don’t understand any of it.
I am 7. I stand up at bat in gym class and blatantly miss the hollow plastic ball that is thrown in my direction. The whole class bursts out laughing. ‘You hit like a girl,’ one of the boys hollers to me.
Later, I ask my female gym teacher why hitting ‘like a girl’ is a bad thing. She smiles at me sympathetically as she says ‘Honey, it just is.’
I don’t smile back.
I am a girl, and since the day I was born, my gender has become synonymous to weakness, incapability, and inadequacy.
And that isn’t fucking okay.