"Masculine women are praised," they cry,

"while femininity is reviled!"

But my whole life I was told

I had to wear skirts to "dress up,"

That wearing suits to friends' weddings was wrong.

My own family told me that girls are "proud of their nails,"

That I must find "a nice boy" and settle down,

That all girls want babies someday,

And that I'm good at cooking because I'm a woman,

And it's "impressive" for men to learn these things

That I'm just supposed to inherently know;

It's praise-worthy for them, but expected for me.

I've been teased and taunted for not being "pretty,"

For being the only girl invited to a boy's party,

For being into things that my female relatives weren't.

Growing up in a conservative family thrusting expectations upon me,

Being surrounded by old-fashioned women who forced styles on me,

Experiencing bullying from boys and girls alike,

These things that I actually experienced in fairly recent years,

All mean nothing or are made up.

The very girls and women who taunted me

Have now turned around and blamed me for the things they did;

Talking about my experiences means I'm shaming them

For the things they did to me,

And that I hate the things they like

When they're the ones who disapproved of the things I did.

And the bullies victim-blame to make themselves the victims

And justify their continued forcing;

All without realizing it's the force

And not the things themselves

That I take an issue with.