So Caitlin Leggett wrote a piece titled “50 Ways to be a Woman.” Here’s my reaction. Warning: there is a lot of swearing.
1. Practice whatever grooming habits that feels right to you and keeps you feeling good and healthy. Sensitive skin? Don’t fucking care about shaving? Whatevs! Being a person isn’t about conforming to what American culture says about the state of our pits, crotch, and legs.
2. Dress however you want. Horizontal stripes? Rock ’em. Booty shorts and cropped tops? Leather mini skirts and fishnets? If you feel good, wear it! Being a person means that you get to choose what clothes you wear. You can pay attention to social context, jeans at the opera and a bikini to a job interview might not be the most appropriate thing to wear for that, but you do what you want.
3. There’s no such thing as “timeless fashion staples.” Buy the clothes you like, and if they’re not “in style,” well, “fashion” is nothing more than a cultural construct, and you can change that.
4. If someone did something nice for you, say thank you. Being a person means being polite when the occasion calls for it. If you’re the kind of person that likes saying “thank you” through the mail, do that. Text and e-mail work, too.
5. Being a decent person means trying to do something good for your world. Have a mental illness or physical condition that means you can’t leave your house? No worries! Every little bit counts, including simply loving the people in your life.
6. Sadly, being a person means that we’re going to have to spend money. Learning how to keep track of it …. might not be a bad idea.
7. Give a giant fuck-you to the people who want to shut you up.
8. Have a stance on something but you encounter someone that says that your stance is hurting them? Take the time to re-examine it. Be flexible, but honest.
9. Want an education? Awesome! Want to go to college? Just as awesome! Think that college is a complete waste of time or you don’t like the idea of a $100,000 debt or simply couldn’t afford it? That is awesome, too.
10. Like drinking and getting wasted with your friends and don’t give a shit about the judgy people who think you shouldn’t drink? More power to you. Being a person means you get to decide what you do in your own damn time.
11. Wear whatever fucking shoes you want. Walk in them however you fucking want.
12. Know how you want to be treated, and don’t tolerate people who’d treat you like shit. If you want doors held open for you? That’s great. Tell the person you’d like to do that for you, and see what they think. Don’t like the idea of having your chair held out for you? Who cares? Oh, right. Judgy people.
13. Do what you have to in order to take care of yourself. Trust is a worthy risk, but if you trust someone and they hurt you? Not your fault. They’re the dick. You’re the decent person who trusted someone not to be a dick.
14. Handle confrontation however you need to in order to remain healthy. Need to rant and rage because there are some seriously fucked up things in your life? Go right ahead.
15. Use social media however you fucking want. Your bosses (or future bosses) might be super-judgy people, so there’s that.
16. People need help sometimes.
17. Talk on the phone however you and the person you’re talking to would like.
18. People should be nice.
19. Your faith journey is your own. It can be shaken, and doubt is ok.
20. Blatantly defy gender norms for sport. Because that shit is fucking awesome.
21. People should be good losers when the defeat is justified. If you’re being beaten down by an oppressor, don’t put up with that shit.
22. Be whoever you want to be. If you’re being honest with yourself about who you are, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks about it. Unless you’re an ass. Don’t be an ass.
23. Know what you’d like in a partner, or if you even want one.
24. You’re awesome.
25. Sit however you fucking want.
26. Have whatever standards you want. If they need to be adjusted, adjust them.
27. Do what you want with your time. What you like to do will probably change over time.
28. Follow the laws of your country. Break other rules if you feel like it.
29. Don’t lie about people, and try to be nice. People should be nice.
30. Being a person is enough for you and anyone else.
31. If you think college might be a good place to find your partner and you’d like a partner, do it. Also think about getting an education while you’re spending all that money.
32. Outwardly reject society’s conventions of your gender if they differ from your personal convictions and identity.
33. People are going to say things about you. If it’s shit, ignore it.
34. Laugh if you want to. Don’t feel like it? Don’t do it.
35. Find beauty if you can. If it’s not something you have the strength to force yourself to do today, then don’t.
36. Try to be happy if can, and fuck anyone who thinks being ‘attractive’ matters.
37. Take care of yourself.
38. You get to decide what you want to do with your life based on your opportunities and abilities, because reality is a bitch sometimes.
40. Respect your fellow people.
41. Do not feel ashamed of your gender identity. Present your gender however you fucking want.
42. Do things for yourself when you can. Don’t be ashamed to not know how to do something.
43. Money, is sadly, hugely important in America. Pay attention to it.
44. Do not be afraid to say no. Or yes.
45. Do not blame yourself if you are manipulated by someone. They’re the asshole who manipulated you. Now you know they’ll do that to you.
46. Become an advocate for other people, including women, trans people, LGB people, disabled, and people of color.
47. If someone makes you feel inferior, they’re an ass. Don’t be ashamed for feeling put-down. You are entitled to your feelings.
48. Be a decent human being.
49. Things change.
50. Respect yourself, whatever that looks like. If it means ignoring this list, then that’s what you need to do.