Stillwater News Press

Opinion

April 26, 2010

Don't hide yourself behind what society expects of you

STILLWATER, Okla. — I’m not a huge Madonna fan, but I do like her earlier music — mostly the stuff from when I was in high school and college in the ‘80s.

The later stuff doesn’t do a lot for me, so until Tuesday’s episode of “Glee,” I’d never really heard the lyrics of “What It Feels Like For a Girl.” Mostly what I knew about the song is that I thought the title wasn’t very good.

This week, I looked up the lyrics, and although I’m still not really a fan of the song,, some of the lyrics do speak to me because I think a lot of people do think that being a girl is somehow less, even if they don’t know they think that.

“Strong inside but you don’t know it / Good little girls they never show it / When you open up your mouth to speak / Could you be a little weak?”

What woman has never felt that way? Felt that she should be quiet even if she knows the answer? Felt like when she does speak up, no one listens, even though she’s right, until a man says the same thing?

“When you’re trying hard to be your best / Could you be a little less?”

Good little girls — who grow up into good little women — don’t push themselves forward too much. They don’t try to be too smart. They don’t overshadow others, even if not doing so means being less than what they really are.

If they do, we have a name for them — a name I can’t write here, but I bet you know what it is.

It ticks me off, but what can you do? I’ll tell you what you can do: Be who you are and the best you can be. Be nice, but not at the expense of losing yourself. You can be nice without being a doormat.

Tell yourself what Aunt Eller sang in “Oklahoma!”: I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else / But I’ll be danged if I ain’t just as good!”

Laura Wilson can be e-mailed at family@stwnewspress.com.

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