The Girls At The Table
I am not easily affected by other people’s opinions. Maybe I was at some point, but I rarely value my worth by how others perceive me. So I don’t understand how I can still feel so awfully judged by someone else without her saying a word.
If asked if I were ever explicitly bullied I would probably say no. But when I recently sat at a table among eight of my peers, all girls within a year of my age, many of whom I’ve been acquainted with for years, I positively felt like crap. One of the other girls at this table, one of my close friends, visibly hunched over as we sat down.
My friend and I are intellectual. We have truckloads of aspirations and are not afraid to share our opinions or assert ourselves. Neither of us would have a problem speaking in front of a thousand people- as long as I didn’t know these girls were there, that is.
I can’t place what it is. They say that my voice is cute even when I’m talking about rape as a weapon of war in Sudan. They fake laugh at what I say regardless of its content, because apparently that's more of a compliment than actually responding to what I say intellectually. They think that it’s strange that I talk to my friends, the rest of our peers, teachers and guys exactly the same way. They are especially shocked by the last one, but I can’t do the coy, flirty thing. Maybe I could if I tried, but I haven’t. Maybe one day I will, but it’s not currently my prerogative.
When I speak, even when I’m just sitting there, they look at me. However though they stare, they never actually make eye contact. If I look back, they just sit even straighter and adjust their clothes.
Around them, I just shrivel up. I feel ugly and fat. I feel like my clothes are wrong. I feel like an immature loser. I am always aware, I suppose, that by cultural standards, they are much prettier than I am. I know that, by all logical measures, they are thinner than I am. I know that I dress unusually in comparison. These things, although I am aware of them and they do not often fill me with glee, seldom negatively affect my thoughts. Usually I am proud of being a “nerd” as I value my intellectualism; it's what I am most proud of. But for them, being a nerd is bad, and when they’re around, their perspective begins to infiltrate mine. The fact that they consider me to be immature is the most ironic. I’m concerned with global issues and ethics whereas they are constantly preoccupied with typical adolescent drama. But for them, due to the fact that I’m all virginal and whatnot, I’m just a silly little kid and somehow, just… lesser than them.
Strangest of all, I feel jealous, so very jealous. I have never been vapid. I will never be so easy to laugh or cry or forget about intense issues and just go to some party. It is not in my character to just get drunk impulsively or, honestly, do anything impulsively. I will never have that kind of fun. It depresses me a bit, because the satisfaction I achieve, although nice, is very different from their immediate gratification.
Alexa also writes the blog Blossoming Badass
More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Body image and body standards, Feminism, Girls, International, Media, Violence against women
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Title IX, Gender bias, Rape, Sexuality, Social media, News, Africa