I wonder what kind of girl I would be if the patriarchy didn’t exist. If gender roles and stereotypes didn’t stain my entire being. If I didn’t suffer at the hands of misogyny that molded the clay that was me. I wonder what I would do, what I would say, what I would like, what I would crave, what I would be. The likelihood of us being anything close to similar seems slim considering how many things could be different. I just wonder what type of woman I would be if I hadn’t been told from the day I was born how and who I should become. Would I still enjoy wearing makeup if I hadn’t been conditioned to feel better about myself with it on? Would my favorite color still be orange if pink hadn’t been forced on me and I didn’t care to make a point of rejecting it? Would I stand up for myself more if I hadn’t been taught to cater to the comfort of others before prioritizing my own? Would my natural instinct still be to feel wary of those around me if abuse and harassment and assault were not normalized in our society? Would I still want long hair if I hadn't been brainwashed into believing that my beauty is rooted in being feminine, and that my value is rooted in being beautiful? Would I be the same? How much, or how little, would that impossible girl resemble me as I am now? And are my interests and passions genuine—truly mine—or can they all be linked to some expectation to accommodate, some predetermined role to serve, some juxtaposing desire to please a system I don’t even like. Do I actually love video games as much as I think I do, or do I only like them because I think it makes me appear cooler to men? Do I actually want to get married as much as I think I do, or do I only want to because historically that was where the female fit in? Do I actually find solace in journaling as much as I think I do, or do I only find solace in it because it is the only time I can share my traumatic experiences without being called a crazy attention seeker? There is so much I wonder about, which parts of me are real and which have been tinkered with. Which is just pure me, and which is because of something else. A factor of the patriarch. Of course I’ll never know, but that truth does not keep me from being curious about the girl who does not suffer from the wrath of an internalized male gaze and the burden of internalized misogyny. I bet she is lovely—free of the shackles—and I hope she feels at peace.
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