i don’t need to conform to society’s standards to feel feminine

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Except for special occasions, I hate wearing makeup. It feels wrong whenever I slip a pretty, tight-fitting dress over my body. I hate wearing high-heels and prefer sneakers over sandals. I’d rather wear jeans over and t-shirt over a skirt or a dress. I’m usually wearing sweatpants, joggers or leggings. I love to wear my hair natural, whether it’s down or piled into a messy, curly bun on top of my head. I’m not fond of hair-straighteners and curlers.

I’m very picky about my jewelry, and I usually don’t like jewelry with actual “jewels” on it. Instead, I prefer friendship bracelets and gemstones. Even if/when I get engaged and married, I want my engagement ring to be made out of an onyx or something else that is black or grey.

And it’s not that I don’t like how makeup or dresses or the stuff I don’t usually like to wear on myself looks on other people. Or even on myself. It’s just not my style. I can appreciate the put-togetherness or the art of a look without actually liking it myself. Just like how I may not like a book or a movie while acknowledging the brilliance of its plot.

I love dark colors and in most cases prefer them over lighter ones. I’d rather shop for certain t-shirts in the men’s section than in the women’s. (Honestly, I can’t be the only woman who prefers this; the shape of so many of the clothes in the women’s section is just whack or only made to be flattering on certain body types and not others. Clothing brands need to be better at being inclusive for women.)

And I’m not the way I am because I’m not “feminine.”

I’ve written another post about how I feel “sexy in sweats.” And it’s true– I feel good and myself in it.

Why does being comfortable often associate with being “lazy,” “unprofessional” or not feminine?

Why does feeling good in clothes that aren’t always eye-catching and sexy often associate with shame and being wrong in appearance, especially for women? We’re not here to serve others’ lust for good looks.

I love the way my face looks without makeup. I like the actual natural “natural” look. I hate when people try to pressure me to wear makeup when I don’t want to or when aunties look at girls and women like they’re crazy for choosing not to wear it to a party. Likewise, I hate when girls and women are shamed for wearing makeup. Or when girls and women are asked who they’re trying to look good for when they doll themselves up.

In most cases, I feel that I look the best when I go makeup-free. In fact, sometimes, I even find myself feeling more insecure when I do wear makeup. On the other hand, there are women and girls who feel more confident when they do wear makeup. And this is subjective, whether it’s a particular person evaluating herself or whether it’s someone else judging the way she looks (as if other’s people’s opinions are even relevant in the first place). It’s her and her face and her body– if she feels good, if she’s not hurting anyone, then why should anyone else’s opinions matter? It’s funny that girls and women will be judged so often for how they present themselves or how they don’t present themselves with regards to how other people are perceiving them;” the same people who are judging women and girls and poking fun at them for presenting themselves for others are paradoxically insinuating that girls and women should dress please society by meeting their expectations. Where one expectation is met, another is unmet. As always, you can’t please everyone.

And another thing–just because someone wears makeup doesn’t mean that they are trying to make themselves look more attractive. Just like wearing one outfit versus another consists of choosing between two different looks, the same can be said about whether or not someone chooses to wear makeup, or when choosing one makeup look over another makeup look.

The point is– generally speaking, people deserve to decorate themselves or to present themselves the way they like to and the way they feel like best expresses themselves in the way that they want to express themselves.

Despite what society might tell me, I feel feminine and beautiful when I am wearing jeans or sweatpants. I may sometimes feel pretty when I wear the occasional party dress, but I feel discontent and discomfort because it really doesn’t feel like me. In most cases, I actually like how I physically look in “un-girly” clothes. When I wear fancy, socially deemed “feminine” clothing, I feel more suffocated and less free. In contrast, when I wear my “tomboy” clothes, I feel free.

My comfortable clothes reflect me. Me wearing sweatpants shows that I love to be comfortable, and that I can be comfortable and confident and feel sexy at the same time. When I wear jeans, I love that I am wearing my favorite color (considering that the jeans I am wearing are blue). When I wear t-shirts, I love expressing how low-maintenance and carefree I can be (aside from my anxiety, which is a story for another time). I love how my sneakers and sandals symbolize my adventurous side, the one that loves to go explore both new and familiar places, the one who loves to spend time outdoors. I love that my over-sized sweaters and fuzzy socks are a token of my bookwormishness, how I like to stick my face in a good story and travel and meet new people and ideas through the comfort of my couch while wearing them. I love that the way I decide to present myself also shows how much I choose not to prioritize what others think of me. I love how I dress present myself protests what others want for me and lets me prioritize myself.

I love being and expressing myself.

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